Reasons Why You Should/Shouldn’t Listen to Podcasts

6 Jul

It isn’t an uncommon thing to hear people within a church culture talk about the podcasts that they listen to. As someone who has quite a bit of experience of listening heavily and now listening to podcasts next to never here are my reasons you should/shouldn’t listen to podcasts:

PRO Listening:
1. You are trying to get wisdom on a subject that your church may not be teaching on for a while. At Ecclesia we are going through the book of Matthew for three years. We will touch on a lot of subjects during that time but probably not do an in depth teaching on Jonah. However, quite a few excellent bible teachers have taught through this book and you can download 10 messages in about 15 minutes to help guide you through the book.
2. Listening to just one voice, that of the local teacher or teaching team, leaves you sounding like a clone and suspicious of other Christians. You only hear one point of view so you only believe one point of view and anyone who differs is subject to being a false teacher or offering subpar theology. Listening to a lot of voices lets you see places where there can be healthy disagreement or tension.
3. Pass it forward. Your the kind of person that likes to pass on resources. When you hear a talk you can think of 2 or 3 different people who need this word (hopefully you’ve seen where it affects you first).

CON Listening:
1. Your local teacher or teaching team will never meet your expectations. They won’t. There is a reason that they aren’t famous and don’t have book deals. Their communication skills just don’t reach that level. Your podcast listening can cause you to look down upon your local teaching team.
2. You are mistaking information for transfomation. I’m literally sick of Christians talking about being fed. They won’t deal with their anger issues, lust issues, greed and power issues and they have fallen into this trap that if I get more information things will get better so we look for those with better quotes and those who can put 30 hours into preparation for a weekly sermon. Read through the sermon on the mount. When you have mastered that ask your pastor to go deeper.
3. Your local teacher or teaching team will begin to steal sermons. I shouldn’t say steal because they probably purchase them but they use someone elses thoughts and materials as their own. Someone who is speaking to a local congregation with local issues to a specific people and when your teacher starts taking from them then they stop speaking incarnationally to you. The pressure is so high to come up with a sermon that people will enjoy that they stop listening to God’s voice and what he may be saying to your community and they start listening to the voice of someone in Michigan or Seattle.
4. You say things like I don’t have time for Community Groups or I don’t have time to help people. Somehow you found an hour to three hours a week to listen to this person and download their talks but you don’t have time for your neighbor who you are called to love or to be with your community that is called to embody the gospel? Podcast fail.
5. Too many ideas. I’ll believe that we can only process so much. I know people who hear a church sermon on Sunday, are part of a gender specific bible study on Monday and meet with a small group of accountability friends for breakfast and are reading a devotional book. The have 4 or 5 different things that they are learning and then master none of them.
6. You are too lazy to read. So much of communication is body language and voice. It’s why we prefer to watch a person teach on Sunday. We would find it odd to just hear an mp3 of a teacher teaching on a Sunday and unthinkable for their manuscript to be put up on the screen to be read in silence. As great as a person’s presence and voice is sometimes there is logic and reasoning lost in a sermon. There are things that would never make sense on paper but ones charisma has blinded your mind.
7. You’ve stopped listening or reading your bible. You just have so many resources and teachers who know how to put things better than you could ever think of and so you give up and just listen to others. Discerning God’s voice and what he may say to you is ignored because you are listening to what God has said to another.

What would you add to either list?

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2 Responses to “Reasons Why You Should/Shouldn’t Listen to Podcasts”

  1. Sarah July 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    “I’m literally sick of Christians talking about being fed.”
    I agree that it is our responsibility to make sure we are fed, but I will say I have been a part of a 6 week series here, or an 8 week one there where in the end it’s like beating a dead horse. I unintentionally start tuning things out if I’m bored. For instance, 6 weeks of “how to bring up children that love the Lord” That’s wonderful, and I can learn for the future, but because I don’t have children, it’s tough to stay focused. So I have been known to tune out that which doesn’t really apply to me, and follow a podcast series of something more applicable to my struggles, or interests. Podcasts have served me well, though I can see your concerns.

    As far as topicality, I think people that have been Christians for a long time become almost desensitized to the gospel. We’ve heard the same verses so often that they tend to lose their meaning in our lives, so getting a prospective that is different then the teachings that we’re used to can reignite some passion– and that emotional “fire” can be good and bad. Good because it challenges us, and reminds us of our calling. Sometimes bad because like you said “You are mistaking information for transformation.” and that emotional high is habit forming– so when you don’t feel it, you lose passion. It’s all about balance!

  2. admin July 14, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Hey Sarah!

    My statement was probably a little strong and I think that there is a ton of room to learn and grow from others. But it just seems odd to me that Christians will go anywhere and everywhere to hear from God except go to the bible. I agree on the topical stuff. When you teach topically it becomes really easy to become really good at about 5-7 different sermons. It’s kind of like being a “one hit wonder” in the music business. People hear it and love it and listen to it again and again and again but over time of hearing someone on repeat you want new terrain.

    We’re actually going through the book of Matthew and the variety in it is pretty cool Everything from the birth narratives and Hebrew descendants of Jesus to John’s arrival and the discussion of the kingdom of God and now we are venturing into the sermon on the mount looking at issues of the heart. When we get through that we’ll take chapter 8-9 and look at the different people Jesus encountered as a picture of what gospel ministry should look like and then in chapter 10 it is Jesus sending strategy for his followers to announce the arrival of the kingdom. The continuity of the same message is there but the variety allows you to look at so many different areas of the gospel life.

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