When Mur's Grandma Lafferty was in her final years, her health stopped her from attending church on a regular basis. She watched a service on TV from the nearest big city, 3 hours away, but she always regretted not being able to attend her local church again.
Nowadays, churches are podcasting their services to be available to anyone who wishes to download them. Church members who miss a service, people who want to remember a particularly powerful sermon, or prospective members would all be interested in a backlog of sermons available online.
Most churches notoriously have little money for "extravagancies" like websites or other newer methods of speaking to their members, but the fact that podcasting is cheap means that there is little in a church's way to getting a podcast. With an investment of maybe $200 for equipment, the church can have a professional-sounding podcast.
Because many places of worship have more than simply a weekly service, the opportunities for podcasts abound. Any meetings can be recorded. There could be a podcast to accompany a monthly newsletter or announcement bulletin. If a person goes on a church-related trip or retreat, she can podcast from her trip and share her experience with the members of the church.
Churches often do outreach to the community. A special podcast feed can be dedicated to a sick member, where church members can upload messages to him. Podcasting can hold supplemental information or material for a talk or demonstration the members are going to do.
Lastly, people on humanitarian trips or missions can report back to the people in the church and let them know how things are going.
For the religious community, podcasting serves as a powerful supplementary tool, supporting the messages and work, both inside and outside the church, that the members attempt to create.