The pandemic caused church attendance to hit an unprecedented low for a couple of months last year. My father, who is an LCMS pastor, and I were sitting around one afternoon in March 2020 wondering what we could do to combat the lack of God’s people in the pews, and how to bring comfort to those who needed church the most. We decided to start a podcast to bring the Good News to people in the safety of their own homes.
The podcast was centered around questions I had as a college student about vocation, the Christian response to COVID-19, and many other biblical topics that are relevant in to today’s culture. I had friends from school, members at church, and even distant relatives calling me to ask questions about the podcast and to discuss topics in greater detail. It was a wonderful conversation starter. Moreover, believers and unbelievers alike enjoyed the theological conversations, and we now have over 200 weekly listeners across various social and audio platforms.
Your podcast could lead to some of the best conversations you will ever have about Jesus Christ.
Defining the “Why” in a Podcast
That small but meaningful anecdote from my life illustrates the importance of “why” when it comes to starting a podcast. For your podcast to have structure and lead your audience in the right direction, you must define why you are starting a podcast in the first place.
My father and I wanted to bring the Gospel and Christian-based advice to college students and young people suffering from the lockdown caused by the pandemic. You may have a similar or totally different goal in mind.
For example, you may want to grow outside of your congregation and reach newcomers to the faith. Or maybe you want to further educate your congregation in biblical literacy. The purpose of your podcast is completely up to you, and there are no right or wrong answers. So find something that motivates you and produces passion within others and run with it!
Narrowing Your Podcast’s Focus
Once you have defined the reason why you are starting a podcast, you can narrow down your ideas and really hone in on what topics you will be covering. This is just as important as the previous step. Here you are essentially planning out how you want your podcast to unfold. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What specific issues do I want to discuss? (Teaching believers how to witness to others, how Christians should respond to hate in the workplace, etc.)
- What format do I want this to be in? (Talking to the audience, bouncing ideas off a cohost, etc.)
- Who would I like to be a guest on my podcast? Is there anyone who could add value to the podcast?
For the podcast I did with my father, we talked about college students’ journeys as they discern their vocations. We also answered some common questions that came up with that subject. We spent about twenty to thirty minutes discussing each issue.
Planning a Podcast Episode
After you have the topics and subjects of your podcast picked out, you can start planning your first episode. This is where you can get creative and think of good ways to express your ideas.
Start out with an exciting intro and get your audience hooked with the show you have in store for them. Use this energetic momentum to propel the audience into each new segment of your show. Make sure that you are speaking clearly, with a well-thought-out tone that makes you easy to listen to. Once you have wowed your listeners, you need to have a strong conclusion or summary at the end that really hammers home the main points of your podcast.
Still not confident in your planning? Ask yourself questions like these to stay on track:
- What sort of tone should I set in my podcast? (Informative, cheerful, candid)
- How do I want to segment my podcast? (Intro, topic 1, topic 2, conclusion, etc.)
- Am I actually hitting the points I want to make?
- How long do I want the discussion to last? (I recommend each episode last fifteen to sixty minutes.)
Concordia Publishing House Podcasts
If you need inspiration, check out some other successful ministry podcasts to get a feel of their style and chosen topics. Maybe this will even spark some new thoughts on how you want to kick off your podcast.
Here are a few examples:
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard’s Podcast
Defining the “why” and narrowing the focus of your podcast into a niche category are critical to the success and longevity of your podcast. Without these, your purpose and motivation for doing the podcast may dwindle or, worse, die out. I advise that you spend a little time pondering these important questions and listening to other podcasts.
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