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Essential podcasts for United Methodist Leaders

 

By Darby Jones and Clay Morgan

Just about everyone seems to have a podcast these days. Or they are at least beginning to listen to one. So, of course, United Methodist Communications had to get in on the fun. We started Get Your Spirit in Shape which offers spiritual nutrition and the MyCom Church Marketing Podcast which provides communication tips and tools to share your story with the world.

We've also covered the logistics of podcasting before, both how to record audio from church services and how to edit those recordings without getting a migraine. But church leaders are not just producers of ideas. We're also consumers who carry devices custom-made for quickly devouring quality content in the midst of our hectic schedules. With so little time, podcasts make it easy to get inspiration while driving, exercising or doing mundane chores.

Here are 12 of the best podcasts to listen to if you want to hear from top thinkers in the areas of communications, technology, leadership and young people:

Communications

1. Art of the Sermon Podcast is “a show for preachers, teachers, and communicators” and hosted by Rev. Dan Wunderlich, an extension minister who loves to help leaders better connect with their communities. Dan also created a blog for church communicators called Defining Grace, which offers highly professional tutorials, screencasts, stock photos and articles.

Dan also is the new host of the MyCom Church Marketing Podcast! If you like his first episode or subsequent discussions, then please leave us a review at umcom.org/mycomreview. Good reviews tell iTunes to give us even more prominence, so we can share these tips with church leaders all over the world. Please also like, comment on and share each episode with your peers.  If you want to hear us discuss a particular topic, reach out at podcast@umcom.org and we may dedicate an episode to your query.  Thank you very much!

2. The Science of Social Media is produced by Buffer. Buffer makes an excellent social media scheduling tool as well as this podcast, which is a “sandbox for social media marketing stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration.” Episodes are short, easy to digest and can fast forward your social media presence into the future … or for many churches, modern times would be nice. If you’re a church communicator, find a few helpful topics and dive in.

Technology

3. ChurchMag Podcast is the self-proclaimed "No. 1 resource for church technology and creativity." This show covers a lot of useful topics on tech, everything from engaging audiences to trimming some budget fat and simplifying administrative tasks. It’s well worth a listen for church leaders.  

Leadership

4. The Productive Pastor is hosted by Chad Brooks, a United Methodist pastor serving in Louisiana. The Productive Pastor is an honest and helpful look at the struggle and joy of time management and productivity for ministry leaders. With a focus on practical tools, methods and tips, this show focuses on living out the called life in a hectic world.

5. Small Groups in the Wesleyan Way is hosted by Scott Hughes, Director of Adult Discipleship, and Steve Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership and Covenant Discipleship for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Whew! That was a lot of titles. Let's abbreviate. Scott and Steve go beyond curriculum, programs, and best practices to recover and learn from our Wesleyan roots, the foundations for small groups that produce disciples of Jesus who in turn disciple others.

6. The Uncovered Dish is a bimonthly leadership podcast by the Greater New Jersey Conference of The United Methodist Church that aims to uncovers stories, equip leaders and change the world.

Lectionary

7. Pulpit Fiction is a weekly lectionary podcast for “preachers, seekers and bible geeks.” Rev. Eric C. Fistler and United Methodist Rev. Robb A. McCoy discuss the four scripture readings and include commentary from other guests and listeners. They also do a monthly interview with authors and people on the cutting edge of theology and culture.

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Young people

8. The Threshing Floor is a conversational podcast focusing on young thought leaders of the Wesleyan movement. The three hosts are practicing pastors in different denominations, but they share a theological assumption based on the ministry of John Wesley and the greater Wesleyan movement.

9. Reverb is a podcast by Young People's Ministries that presents stories and sounds of the global movement of youth and young adults enacting their Christian faith in connection with The United Methodist Church.

10. Youth Ministry Partners Podcast exists to help you take an active role in your youth ministry – providing a "one-stop shop" for training and hands-on guidance.

11. Conspirator Collective features interviews with musicians, poets, visual artists and writers who live out their Christian discipleship through artistic witness. Through these conversations, we meet new artist friends, learn more about God’s call in their lives and hone our understanding of the craft of artistic Christian witness through the Wesleyan tradition.

12. The Burlap Podcast is hosted by pastoral staff members from The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and “exists to help churches reach Millennials and Generation Z by weaving new stories of faith and culture.” Through the podcast and their parent church-assisting organization, they offer resources, consulting, training and research to help you revitalize your church and community.

How to listen to podcasts

Users of iOS devices will most likely hop over to iTunes for downloading and streaming podcasts. The Apple podcast app is popular, but some iTunes users find this native app to be glitchy and choose other options.

Android users can choose from several slick players. Stitcher, YouTube, TuneIn, Podcast Addict and BeyondPod are just a handful of good sources. Stitcher is cool because it gives you a “skip back 30 seconds” button as well as a “skip forward 30 seconds” button. They're huge time-savers because you can easily go over important parts or skip advertisements. Everyone knows how hard it is to rewind or skip forward in small increments, so big buttons make fat fingers happy.

When choosing a podcasting app, also look for features that give you the ability to:

  • stream/download via WiFi settings
  • minimize cellular data
  • save favorite episodes
  • listen later

And, of course, you can always play episodes of your favorite shows directly through your computer using several websites.

All podcasts are not created equally. Some are professionally produced with bells and whistles, while others are put together simply and cleanly by a show host. Some last an hour or more, and others provide snippets of wisdom, insight or levity in only a few minutes.

Listen to a few until you find the right chemistry for your tastes. We'd love to hear more suggestions, so let us know what other shows you discover.