• Resources
  • 7 Podcasts You’ve Got to Listen To

    headphones1

    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.

    The Recommendations

    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.

    1. Serial

    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.  

    2. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

    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.

    I also love Carey Newiehoff’s, Craig Groeschel’s, Matt Keller’s and Perry Noble’s Leadership Podcasts.

    3. This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt

    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.

    4. Fresh Life Church

    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.

    5. Pro Church Podcast

    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

    6. Smart Passive Income

    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.

    7. Fantasy Focus Football

    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!

  • Leadership
  • How to Find Your Robin

    Batman and Robin 4 Blog

    Right now our church is in a sermon series called Batman and Robin.  The thrust of the series is about making others great.  God has some big things in store for our congregation and our city.  And in order for us to do what He is calling us to do, it’s going to take leaders.  People that decide that they are willing to help others get from where they are to where they ought to be.  We designed this series to inspire our people to begin to intentionally invest in those coming up behind them and make them great.  

    Leadership is something I’ve been passionate about for awhile now.  I think it was a logical step for me.  As soon as I surrendered my life to Christ and began to understand that I wanted to be a part of reaching the whole world with the gospel, the need for discipleship and leadership development became apparent.  We’ve got billions of people across the globe that Jesus loves and the only way we can reach them is through multiplying leaders that will multiply leaders.  

    In college, I remember some of the guys in my dorm hanging up posters of Brittany Spears.  Not sure what they were hoping to think about as they went to sleep but you can imagine.  Instead of that, I hung up a world map.  I would go to sleep dreaming of all the committed disciples it would take to reach the whole world.  I would strategize how many people I could pour into each year.  I would envision what would happen if my disciples did the same thing year after year.  Eventually, we could reach millions and even billions of people if everyone would deeply invest in training up a new generation of disciples.  The power of multiplication captivated me.  

    Over my years as a youth pastor, I got to test out a lot of my ideas.  And although I found out making disciples that flourish over the long run is much harder than I imagined, I have seen the lives of young people dramatically changed through leaders that I had the opportunity to invest in.  Disciples that make disciples that make disciples works.

    One of the questions I’ve had to answer is this : How do I find my Robin?  

    Not just anyone will do.  I’m looking for good soil to invest my precious time into because it’s a non-renewable resource and God is going to ask me about all of it.  

    Here’s the 5 Things I’m Looking for in a Robin (The words spell the acronym FAITH, which I generally think is cheesy…but it does make it memorable):

    1. Faithfulness

    I’m looking for people that can be counted on.  I’m watching for people that do what they say they will do.  If balls are being dropped a lot, it speaks to a lack of value for the things of God.  Jesus said that he who is faithful in the little things will be faithful with the big things.  So I start by looking at the little things.  Consistency will take you a long way in my book.

    2. Availability

    This one is just practical.  There are people with great potential, but their lives are cluttered with so much stuff they do not have the freedom to bear great fruit.  I know there are different seasons of life where things get busier.  But I’m looking for people that have a hunger to make the things of God a priority over the many things in this world that clamor for attention.  If I’m going to invest deeply into someone’s life, it’s going to take us a good amount of time.  This necessitates availability.  

    3. Initiative

    One thing that I’ve chosen not to do with those I’m seeking to invest in is chase them down.  I’m a terrible accountability partner.  I’ve got my own personal life, family and church that I’m trying to take care of and I can’t make time to be someone else’s motivation.  I’m looking for people who are driven.  Even if that drive gets them moving in the wrong direction, I can work with that.  It’s easier to steer a moving ship than try to be someone’s engine.  

    4. Teachability

    One of my favorite character qualities I’m looking for in a Robin is the ability to listen.  People that listen are hungry to grow and change.  It shows a humility to listen.  It says to a mentor that you don’t already know it all.  Someone that constantly talks quickly gets checked off my list for a potential Robin.  I’m looking for people that want to learn, grow and become all they have the potential to become.  I’m looking for learners, readers, listeners, reasoners, thinkers and students.  If you are teachable, than your potential is sky high.  That’s the type of person I want to invest in.

    5. Happy

    This is a new one for me in the last couple years.  Since planting Sun City Church, we’ve been on mission to be the happiest church I know of.  I just don’t have any more life to spend not being happy.  I know there are going to be seasons of sorrow, trial and difficulty.  But I’m planning on moving through those with joy and a faith-filled positive outlook.  I’ve been deeply impacted by reading The Happiness Advantage this year.  Happiness is a secret weapon to getting the most out of life and I want happy people around me.  They bring out the best in me and will make the most out of whatever I have to give them.  

    So there you have it.  My top 5 things I’m looking for in a Robin.  What’s on your list?