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Sermons

Estimated reading time: 6 min

Sermons and media can be uploaded to your website and shared with the public, members only, and/or via your built-in podcast feeds. Visitors to your site can share your media on social media and via the built-in share with a friend email form. Uploaded media can also be included in Congregate’s weekly recap email.

Uploading Media

    1. To create or upload a sermon or media, click “New” under Online Media/Files > Sermons inside Congregate Admin.
    2. Select the file(s) you wish to upload. A sermon or media record can have multiple files associated with it.
      Recommended and Supported Media Formats (MP3, PDF, PPT, DOC)
      For audio, upload MP3 files. While other audio formats are supported, only MP3 files will appear in your podcast and in your pop-up media player on your website. The recommended encoding settings for MP3 files include: 64kbps (instead of 128kbps) and mono (instead of stereo). For documents, we recommend uploading PDF, PowerPoint, or Word files only to ensure maximum compatibility (for text only or HTML formatted content, you can opt to enter your content directly on the media page versus uploading a file; see details below for additional information). For video, upload your video to a video streaming service provider (like YouTube or Vimeo) and link to your video (see details below for additional information). Congregate is not a video streaming service provider and to ensure proper playback and device compatibility, you must upload your videos to a video streaming service provider.
    3. Select the date of the sermon or media.
    4. Select the service that applies (or click “Add New” to create a new service).
    5. Select the media type that applies (or click “Add New” to create a new type).
    6. Select who will have access to this media: the public, members, or both.
    7. Enter the title of the sermon or media.
    8. Select the speaker (or click “Add New” to add a new speaker to the list).
    9. Optionally select the topic this media belongs to (or click “Add New” to create a topic).
    10. Optionally enter the URL/link to this media’s video (if a video was uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, etc).
    11. Optionally add any tag(s) you want to associate with this media. Simply enter comma-separated keywords (e.g., “faith, hope, love, marriage, commitment”).
    12. Optionally enter a description or the content of the media. If you didn’t upload a file and wish to display your media’s content directly on your media page, enter your content here.
    13. Optionally upload a thumbnail image for this media (if enabled).
    14. Select “Active” if you wish your media to be active immediately on your website (inactive media can be saved and edited later before making it active on your site).
    15. Click “Add” to save your media. Click “Cancel” to cancel.
Save Your Uploaded Media Files
We highly recommend clients keeping a local copy of any file(s) uploaded to Congregate for any future transfers, re-uploads, migrations, etc. Backing up your media locally will ensure you always have access to your entire collection of media as Congregate does not offer a mass export of uploaded media files.

Managing Media

To manage your media, click “Manage” under Online Media/Files > Sermons inside of Congregate Admin. There you will find a list of all your uploaded media.

To edit media, simply click its title or edit icon.

To permanently remove media, click its trashcan icon.

To bulk update media, check the checkboxes next to applicable media and select the following from the “Checkbox Options” dropdown menu: delete, make inactive, or make active. Then click “Apply.”

Displaying/Accessing Media

Displaying Media on Your Website

To display public media on your website, select the page you wish to display your media on via the “Default Media Page” selection dropdown on the “Options” page under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin. If you do not wish to show public media, simply select “None.”

Repeat this process and select pages for various media types to appear on. Each media type can have its own page which will only show media of the same type. If you do not wish to utilize separate pages by media type, simply select “None.”

For members only media, select the page you wish to display your media on via the “Member Default Media Page” selection dropdown, and ensure your page is within your members only section. If you do not wish to utilize member only media, simply select “None.”

To display sermons with thumbnails (in either a list or gallery view), enable thumbnail support and select your view option on the “Options” page in Congregate Admin.

Accessing Media Remotely via Your Podcast

Your visitors can subscribe to your podcast(s) remotely using a podcast app. If you have a public media page active, your podcast feed is activated automatically. Visitors can click the subscribe link on your public media page to subscribe to your media podcast. Each media type, in addition to the default podcast feed which contains all media, can have its own feed. Each type’s feed will only contain items of its media type. Members can subscribe to your member only podcast feed if you upload media as members only or both public and members. You can view the “Podcast Links” page under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin to view the URL of each of your podcast feeds.

What is a Podcast?
A podcast is a feed of digital audio files made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. Typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically using a podcast app.

Services

Services are used throughout your site not only for media, but for other other member-related functions including attendance, job assignments, and visitor tracking. A service is simply the name of your meeting or assembly (for example, “Sunday Morning Worship” or “Wednesday Bible Study”).

To add, edit, or remove a service, click “Services” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin.

Why Can’t I Delete a Service?
A service cannot be deleted if any site-wide records are currently assigned to it. Reassign records to an alternate service before attempting to delete a service. This includes records from attendance, job assignments, visitor tracking, etc. On your computer, hover your mouse over the service name to see the number of records that are associated with each service; this will help you locate the ones you need to re-assign before the service can be deleted.

Topics/Series/Subjects

Use topics/series/subjects to group media that are in a series or are of a similar subject. (You can select the term that best fits your needs on the options page.)

To add, edit, or remove topics, click “Series” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin.

Speakers

Manage and assign speakers associated with your uploaded media.

To add, edit, or remove a speaker, click “Speakers” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin.

Media Types

A media type groups each kind of media uploaded. A typical church might have the following types: sermon, class, devotional, special series, etc. Media types can be assigned their own pages and podcast feeds (where only media of the same type will be included).

To add, edit, or remove a media type, click “Media Types” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin.

Podcast Links

Podcasts allow users to subscribe to your media, automatically notifying them when new material has been uploaded. Using a podcast app, they can listen to your material on their computer or device. If you wish, you can submit your feed to various podcast directories offered by Apple, Google, and Spotify (to name a few).

To view all your podcast URL’s, click “Podcast Links” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin. Note: If you do not have a podcast app on your computer or device, the links may appear as code once clicked; this is normal behavior.

Importing Bulk Media

You can import media and meta data in bulk by downloading our CSV template, adding your information (title, speaker, series, service, etc.) and then importing it into Congregate. If your audio/file(s) are stored locally, you can bulk import your media’s information (title, speaker, series, service, etc.) via the CSV first; then click edit to manage each sermon and manually upload your audio/file(s) to each sermon.

Click “Import” under Online Media/Files > Sermons in Congregate Admin. Then click “Download Import Template” to download the empty spreadsheet you will use to add your media’s information.

In your spreadsheet application, add your media’s information – one row for each entry. Then export the completed file in the CSV format.

Do Not Modify The Template
Your media import will fail if you modify the template in any way. Do not remove any row headers, columns, etc. Only add your information to the spreadsheet file.

Return back to Congregate Admin and click the “Upload File(s)” button to select and upload your CSV file.

Click the “Import to Congregate” after your file has been uploaded and wait for all of your media items to be processed. You’ll see the import status on your screen.

Options

Selecting Display Pages

Use the dropdown menus to select the pages for your media. If you do not wish to use one of more of the media pages, select “None” from the dropdown menu to disable them.

Number of Items Per Page

Enter the number of media items to display per page.

Thumbnails

To enable the display and upload of sermon thumbnails, turn sermon thumbnails on and select your preferred view option: list, list with thumbnail images, or gallery view with thumbnail images.

Series/Subject/Topic Designation 

Enter the term that best describes how you group media together. The common terms are “series” or “subject” or “topic.” This is the term that will be used site-wide for viewing and filtering media by group.

Upload Defaults

Select a default speaker, media type, and service that will be preselected when uploading new media to your site.

Podcast Assets

If you submit your podcast(s) to various directories, they may require you to receive a verification email. Enter the email address that will relieve the verification email in the “Podcast Verification Email Address” field.

Provide a high-resolution (1500x1500px) image for your each of your podcast(s). This is the image that will be submitted to any podcast directories and that will appear within your listeners’ podcast app.

Enter a title and optional description for each podcast you wish to utilize. Note: The “all media” podcast is the default podcast that will contain all of your uploaded media.

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