A Pastoral Podcast
Graham Nicholls explains to Phil Topham why Christ Church Haywards Heath started a weekly podcast called Ordinary. Is it something your church could consider to help disciple your congregation?
First of all, what exactly is a podcast?
You could describe it as a digital audio file that you make available over the Internet. But that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s more like a series of episodes of a radio programme but available any time. People can listen to podcasts from websites but more often they listen from a podcast app – like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. If they “subscribe” they get a message when a new episode is available.
So why did you decide to do a podcast?
We realised that lots of people, especially young adults avidly listen to podcasts and we thought it would be a great medium for training and equipping people to live the ordinary Christian life. We recognised that especially for new Christians there are so many issues to think through that in Sunday sermons and a midweek group we didn’t have time to address.
Listening to a podcast on your way to work, at home whilst doing other jobs or walking the dog, could be a good way of redeeming time and using it to grow in godliness. So, we saw podcasting as a way to extend our communication and connect with our own church and also with other Christians in cyberspace who might want to listen in on our conversations. It’s just a different way of engaging with people to encourage them in their Christian faith – a means of pastoring people in our modern world.
Why did you call it Ordinary?
We call it Ordinary because it’s two very ordinary pastors (myself and Mark Ventham) speaking to ordinary Christians about living for Christ in everyday life. The Christian life might not seem exceptional as we live it, but Christians have an extraordinary opportunity to speak and live the gospel and we wanted to talk into people’s everyday situations. We also wanted to do some teaching but also share our own lives life and be honest about our own challenges.
Once we got started with the idea, we thought “Let’s make it so it’s not about our church – let’s make it available so it can work for any Christian”.
What is the format?
Each episode lasts 30 minutes with myself, Mark and Josh Bannister. Josh acts as a kind of host to keep us on track. So far, we’ve covered topics like what is the church and why join, evangelism, Bible reading, anger, God’s sovereignty, pornography and a mini-series called Ordinary Apologetics beginning with the moral argument for the existence of God.
Would you recommend other churches to create Podcasts?
In principle we would absolutely encourage any church to consider it as another way to disciple your congregation, addressing issues that you don’t always have time to do in other settings. Technically it just requires some basic digital recording and editing equipment and a quiet room!
I would say it does mean a commitment to planning the episode and the sit-down time to do the recording. We had to commit to the long haul for this as it’s something that takes time to build and you need to keep adding new episodes to keep the momentum going.
How can we listen to Ordinary?
Do contact us about issues you would like to hear discussed. If it is an issue in your church it will most likely be one in ours!