What's in this session?

  • Podcast statistics (0:34)
  • Brady & Alex's experience with podcasts (1:10)
  • Idea #1: Q & A podcast (4:03)
  • Idea #2: Conversational podcast (5:34)
  • Idea #3: Short & off-the-cuff (6:53)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer.

Today, we’re talking about how churches can reach millennials using podcasts.

Brady Shearer: I was reading through the [inaudible 00:00:21] 2018 trends book looking up at all the most recent data that they’ve captured for faith, culture, leadership and the church in 2018. One thing that stood out to me was they had a whole section on podcast, and 23% of all adults listen to podcast currently. My prediction is that we have not yet reached peak podcast and the reason for that is because the generation that listens to podcast more than any other generation is perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, millennials. 42% of millennials listen to podcasts, 30% of Gen X, 10% or boomers, 5% of elders. Out of every generation, millennials are listening to podcast more than anyone else in any other age group and I’ll let you speak personally for you, Alex, but podcasts are by far the biggest form of content that I consume. I listen to faith podcasts, to sports podcasts, to business podcasts. AirPods, very rare that I don’t have one in at any point. I think you’re pretty similar.

Alex Mills: I think that’s part of the reason that this is reflected in the data with millennials is because we are generally the pioneers of Bluetooth technology and wireless headphones. You’ll be much more prone to see a millennial wearing a set of Bluetooth headphones like AirPods or what have you than you would someone their parent’s age. That’s opened a new door for us to be listening to things while we’re on the move and not have cords dangling whatever.

Whenever I’m in the car by myself running errands or at work, I always have a set of headphones on and I’m always listening to podcasts to the point where if I go away and I don’t have the chance to keep up with the daily podcast that I’m listening to, I’ll get back from a trip and have this measure of podcast anxiety because I feel like I have so much to catch up on so now I’m listening to them at two times speed. It’s a deep hole but I’m listening to podcasts all the time.

Brady Shearer: Mostly because silence is the enemy unless we be left alone with our own thoughts. At least that’s what my mother thinks why I listen to podcasts so much. I think this presents churches with the unique opportunity to leverage this medium of podcasting to reach an age group that is attending church at historically low numbers. We talked about the advantage of podcasting, namely for me, and likewise you alluded to this. It allows you to multitask. Reading or watching videos don’t allow you to do that because you have to be engaged fully in the content. But I can listen to podcast while putting together dinner, while mowing the lawn, while walking the dog, while lifting the weights, while driving the car and so many other physical activities I can still keep my mind engaged.

I’ve got three ideas here for types of podcasts that churches can put together and I think this is particularly helpful for churches as well because, yes, podcasting skews to the millennial demographic, but it also skews interestingly enough to the Christian and church demographic. Listen to this. 17% of practicing Christians are listening daily to podcast and that’s all ages compared to just 6% of non-Christians of all ages. That’s three times as many. Christians love our podcast and a huge part of that is because of sermons and because churches are built around content. If you’re into the real estate game, probably you’re not going to listen to as many podcasts as a Christian is because there just aren’t too many messages that’the real estate agents are preaching.

Three ideas for churches, types of podcasts you’re going to create. You’ll notice what’s missing from this, we’re not going to talk about the podcast that would take up 90% of what churches do which is just taking your message and putting it into a feed. We’re talking about using the native medium to create content specifically for it rather than just rebroadcasting content from one platform to another.

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: The first is a Q&A podcast. This is idea number one. There are so many Christians that are dealing with doubt, two out of every three Christians admit to experiencing a season of spiritual doubt and more than a quarter of Christians still find themselves doubting right now. Christianity, faith in God is, like we always say, a matter of existentialness. There is so much that goes into faith, hope, love, trusting and living and following the life of Jesus. It is very difficult. It is impossible and there’s so much doubt that goes into that. Christians have so many questions. Millennials have so many questions. For you to do a Q&A podcast and to confront those questions in a real way, not try to skirt the issues, not try to pretend that they don’t exist, but to confront them and then take them head on is a great way to engage a younger audience that is leaving church at a huge rate, historically attending church at a low rate, and a part of that, comes from the disconnect between what churches are saying and perhaps the doubts that they have.

Alex Mills: Yeah, I love that idea. We’ve talked about maybe doing Q&As on your church’s Facebook page, doing some live Q&As. We mentioned a church that is doing that really well and I think that’s great, but I personally would be much more prone to listen to a podcast form because it’s going to get automatically downloaded to my phone. I don’t have to get onto Facebook when you’re going live and doing a live Q&A with the pastors. The podcast platform really lends well to that convenience. As soon as it’s released, it’s going to be on my device and I’m ready to listen to it. I love that idea.

Brady Shearer: Idea number two, conversational podcast amongst your church staff. We did this at the church that I served at as a media director when I was in Bible college. We called it Church Radio and we always said it like that. This was the leadership talking about current events, talking about culture and really just talking like we would at regular staff meetings, behind the scenes. What that allows you to do is welcome your congregation into the life of the leadership and now they feel like a part of it.

Alex Mills: Yeah, this is cool. I love this idea and it doesn’t have to take too much time to facilitate something like this. You could take one day a week and just have your lunch … If your staff has lunch together, have your lunch with some microphones live on the table, and it doesn’t have to be much more than that. It doesn’t have to be a conversation inherently about these existential matters. It can just be about life and sports and current events, whatever it is. Just inviting your community into a deeper level of relationship with you. I love this idea.

Brady Shearer: I mean, your congregation is so used to seeing you on stage, maybe in your Sunday best with your prepared sermon. Let them see you off the cuff, behind the scenes, not nearly as polished. It’s going to allow you to welcome them into your own humanity and your own just everyday self and that’s going to build rapport and community that way.

Alex Mills: I love it.

Brady Shearer: Final idea and this goes along with that similar building rapport everyday self is a 10 minute or less off the cuff podcast. There are several business podcast that I listen to that do this where I know, based on the audio quality, that the host is just taking out their phone while driving and they’re a busy person, a CEO of a huge company and they’re just like, “I’m going to take this 10 minutes or less Pro Church Daily style almost and talk about what’s going on right now.” This is kind of like Instagram Stories for audio. You could have just come out of a great conversation with your wife or your husband and you’re like, “Man, that was a great little conflict resolution we had there. I’m going to record a quick podcast and talk about what we just figured out and just share that experience, share that story.”

Again this is a great way, very guerrilla style, low tech, just take out your phone, talk into the receiver. You can get a number of different mics to plug in. We tried that but with phones nowadays, the quality is pretty close and just go for it.

Alex Mills: I think that’s a great idea. As a pastor, there’s always things that are happening in my life that are speaking to me in the form of sermon illustrations. My process is I take out my phone, my Evernote and I write these mini stories down there. But often when something happens in my life that inspires a story or a worthy sermon illustration, in the moment I’m like, “Oh, I want to tell somebody about this.” But, no, I’m just going to log into my phone and wait until I’m preaching a sermon that has something to do with this. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can share it with your community right away if you want to.

Brady Shearer: Seize the 167, don’t wait for the one. There are several podcasts that have blown up that are not sermon podcasts. Two that come to mind are The Liturgists and BadChristian. They have huge followings. Now, those aren’t church specific but we’re starting to see actual churches produce podcast. One that recently came out that has been making the rounds and become pretty widely popular at least in my circles is This Cultural Moment which was done by Bridgetown Church and Red Church so two churches doing this together and so there are examples of churches doing this and making waves in their own communities and the communities that are more global and abroad and so we think there are many opportunities for your church to engage with this. Three different ideas that you can explore: number one, the Q&A podcast; number two, the conversational podcast amongst church staff and leadership; and, number three, 10 minutes or less off the cuff. Frankly, all three of this could be 10 minutes or less.

We batch produce Pro Church Daily. We film six of them at once. You could do something similar. You don’t need to do daily content. Just do one a week. Start there. See how it goes.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That will do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. Thanks for watching.

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