We’re becoming a headphone culture. Commutes to work, workouts at your gym of choice, even the digital nature of our jobs all make the ground ripe for an abundance of audio content.
I’m tempted to push back against this. Time spent with earphones in is time not spent with people, further disconnecting us from one another. Then I remember how much of my day includes earphones and how podcasts and audiobooks have challenged and inspired me. I’m also not into being a hypocrite. I’m not into letting you know I’m one, at least. So, I’ll refrain from telling you that the increase in podcasts spells a decrease in human connection (a core component of our health as humans and societies).
Or maybe I just said it.
Everybody and their mom has a podcast nowadays. During a recent golf trip, my buddies tossed around the idea of starting a podcast.
“What will you talk about?” I asked.
“Sports,” one of my buddies said. “Combine our personalities and I think we would be better than most of the goons talking sports today.” (“goons” was his word, not mine…so don’t judge me)
“But you work in construction,” I said. Looking at the other guys, I said, “And he does financial stuff. He works in the business world. And I’m a writer. What credibility do we have? Why would anyone listen to us?”
“Credibility?” another buddy said. “You don’t need that to podcast.”
About that time, we pulled up at the golf course, and I never heard about it again.
But my friend has a point, everyone is podcasting today. There’s a business and marketing purpose behind this rise. But you don’t pay me to talk marketing.
Here’s the good thing about the plethora of podcasts. You and I have access to basically every influencer in the world. We also have access to the most relevant, inspiring thoughts and ideas. For. Free. That’s right, zero dollars.
What a great time to be alive!
I also know you don’t have time to taste-test every podcast, and the sheer volume of content is something more than overwhelming. So, I want to give you a few podcasts I believe will inspire, encourage and challenge you and your walk with God.
It’s only fitting we start here, right? Of course, it is. The “Thrive Leadership Podcast” is an overflow of the Thrive Leadership Conference. Still in its infancy, but hosts Brad Lomenick and C.J. Alvarado are doing something special, uniting faith and culture and business. Their guests are chopped full of wisdom and insight in one or more of these areas. I listen to a lot of podcasts. This one has inspired me more than most.
Shauna Niequist is a popular author and speaker in Christian circles. Her podcast was recently launched as part of the Relevant Podcast Network. She interviews influential leaders and voices from faith and culture. She has a lot of yummy content. You should digest some.
Passion City Church is an overflow, so to speak, of the Passion Conference. There’s probably a better way to say that, but whatever. Louis Giglio is the senior and teaching pastor. Along with his wife, Shelley, they have influenced a generation of Christians. We throw that phrase around sometimes, “influenced a generation…,” mostly flippantly. Not here, though. My faith has grown and evolved over the years, but Louis’ words remain a source of inspiring and conviction. They will for you too.
If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, you should be kicked in the pants. I’m joking. Kind of. “Typology” is an Enneagram-focused podcast hosted by Ian Morgan Cron. Prior to this, he co-hosted a podcast on the Enneagram with Suzanne Stabile, “The Road Back to You.” Typology is a continuation, of sorts, of the former. Cron interviews different Enneagram types, people from all walks of life. But the ultimate goal is the same: to help people discover who they really are and how they can identify and move past self-constructed roadblocks.
Okay, yes, this podcast isn’t necessarily “Christian.” But I’m into reconciling sacred and secular, and few podcasts will open you mind to new ideas as well as challenge pre-conceived conclusions about old ones like “Revisionist History.” The tagline is “sometimes the past deserves a second chance.” Boom. Malcolm Gladwell is the dude behind it. Boom, boom. You might know him as the author of multiple best-sellers, including Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. Gladwell is one of our generation’s most creative minds. I promise you will learn from his fascinating investigations of past events, people, and ideas.
Two words. Francis. Chan. The “Read Scripture Podcast” stems from an app that shares its name. The whole idea is about reading Scripture honestly and discovering (or, for some, recovering) the beauty of God’s word. So, the app provides a daily reading plan. And the podcast, hosted by Francis Chan, expounds on Scriptures assigned for each week. Anytime you mix Scripture and Francis Chan, that’s called winning. Don’t you like to win? Me too.
One last thing. If you’re new to the podcast world, you can access the above mentioned ones using the podcast app on iTunes. But that’s boring, for me, at least. If you want something different, I recommend a different podcasting app called “Downcast.” It’s available across platforms (iPhone, Mac, iPad). It also offers differing playback speeds (1x, 2x, etc….I listen to every podcast on 1.5x).
Lastly, don’t forget about Audible, Amazon’s audiobook app. Now every book ever is accessible via audio. I use it quite often.
I would love to hear from you. What podcasts are in your daily or weekly rotation? Leave a comment below.
Grace and peace, friends.
Frank is lead writer and editor for the blog at Bayside church. He is also a husband, father and Jesus-follower. Occasionally he plays golf. Often he drinks coffee.