I love podcasts. My podcast love is rooted in my love for learning in general. I love books, conferences, meetings and phone calls with mentors, videos, blogs, courses, you name it. I actually try to incorporate as many channels of learning into my life as possible so I can be a growing leader.
But I may just love podcasts the most.
Recently, our church planting network did a little survey asking how they can serve us better. ARC puts on world-class conferences, it’s leaders write great articles and books, they are constantly putting out great content on YouTube and Google Hangouts. But my plea was, “give me a podcast!” God smiled upon me and they responded by putting all the audio from their latest conference on a podcast. I’m a happy guy.
Here’s why learning through podcasting works so good for me:
– They’re free. As many as I can possibly consume.
– I learn better when I hear something rather than just read something. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but for me, ideas are “stickier” when they come in through my ears and not just my eyes.
– Here’s the biggest benefit: I can listen to them while I’m doing other activities. I’ve recently learned that between 50-60% of our lives are spent following habits that we’ve trained ourselves to do without thinking. Over the years, I’ve captured lots of those hours and combined that with podcasting. Dishes, lawn mowing, driving, working out, walking to check the mail, anything where my brain is on autopilot. This is the incredible advantage that podcasting has over other ways to learn. So far, it’s the only medium that I’ve found that allows for this. Even in the busiest seasons of life where there hasn’t been time for reading, watching or meetings, there’s always time for podcasting and so I’m always learning.
My Podcasting App
Awhile back, I switched from using the default podcasting app that comes with my iPhone. Apple’s does work great and has probably improved a lot since I switched. But my podcasting app of choice is Downcast. Here’s why I love it:
– It lets me create different playlists (I’ve got them for leadership, preaching, sports, productivity, etc)
– It allows me to set priorities for each podcast within the list. Instead of just sorting by the most recently uploaded, it will sort by my priority and make sure I hear the best podcasts first. Because of this, I never miss an episode of the podcasts I like best.
– It allows for me to listen to podcasts at many different speeds. My sweet spot of comprehension seems to be 1.5x normal speed. I listen to 50% more podcasts daily this way.
– It manages the downloads wonderfully. I set it up to only grab new episodes when connected to wifi and then delete them from my phone once I’ve listened to them. This saves data expense and space on my phone.
– The sharing tools are awesome. I find myself emailing or texting the episodes I love to my team, saving the show notes to Evernote, or sending out a tweet with just a couple clicks.
Sometimes my friends make fun of me for having a “favorite podcasting app”. I think they don’t know what they are missing.
Normally, I subscribe to about 100 podcasts. That doesn’t mean I listen to all of them each week. Again, because of Downcast’s prioritization feature, there are some that I don’t miss and some that rarely make it to the top of my playlist. I’d recommend exploring! There are so many great content producers and it’s all free. But I know you are looking for some recommendations so here you go. These aren’t listed in order of my favorites, but instead broken down into categories to pick from.
If you are already a podcast listener, you probably know this one. It’s one of the most popular podcast out there. Sarah Koenig does an amazing job unfolding a true story week by week that keeps you wanting more. If you haven’t listened to seasons 1 and 2, catch up on Serial. You’ll love it.
My personal favorites are leadership podcasts where pastors share leadership principles they’ve learned. Andy’s is the best. This would be helpful for your leadership in church as well as business contexts.
Michael used to be the CEO of Thomas Nelson. Now he’s an online entrepreneur and productivity coach. I love his mix of helpful content that focuses on productivity, tools, and leadership influence.
Another business focused leadership podcast I enjoy is Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership.
I’ve been listening to dozens of preaching podcasts for years so it’s really hard to pick a favorite. Instead I’ll just share one of my new favorites. Levi Lusko is taking the state of Montana by storm with the gospel. Funny, deep, biblical, passionate and even poetic. My boys listen to Pastor Levi many nights on their way to sleep.
Brady Shearer does a fantastic job of finding interesting people in the church world to interview that aren’t just pastors. He focuses a lot on media, video, communications and design. I’ve learned so much from this podcast that we’ve implemented at Sun City Church.
Another good one along these lines is Dave Shrein’s Church Marketing Podcast
Pat Flynn is huge in the online entrepreneur space. His podcast is fun and super helpful. We’ve leveraged technology a lot to start our church. But I know we’ve only scratched the surface. When I listen to Pat and his guests talk about how they use the internet to reach people with their businesses, I’m stretched to imagine what else we can do with technology and the gospel.
This is my desert in the midst of a ton of meat. I love Fantasy Sports and one of my secrets to winning a lot is podcasting. Matthew Berry and his cohosts laugh their way through all their analysis and make it really fun to know which players I’m going to start next.
There you have it – some recommendations from a few categories I love. By the way, if you haven’t already, subscribe to the Sun City Church podcast and stay up to date with everything that God is doing in our church. We love our podcast listeners and would invite you to join our growing tribe. Happy listening!