I have been thinking about starting a podcast for a long time. Looking at my notes today the idea goes back over 5 years ago. Now I am beginning to think more in-depth if God wants me to start one and if now is the time. If you are trying to discern what God is saying to you I hope that me sharing my process and story will be helpful for you. To be completely vulnerable with you, I am still in the process on this decision but that is why I hope that “opening the box” so to speak will be helpful to you as you try and follow Jesus as well.
Ways that God speaks to us
God speaks to us in basically 5 different ways: the Bible, inner promptings, other people, the miraculous, and circumstances. Let’s work through each of these with the podcast.
- The Bible
Obviously the Bible does not speak specifically about a podcast since they weren’t invented yet. Yet we still can learn from the Bible two things that might apply to this case. In the case of the podcast I am looking to do a podcast to help people grow in their adventure with Jesus. This is something that God speaks about in the Bible. Although never conclusive in itself there are verses that speak to me generally that encourage me about the discipleship potential of a podcast.
- Inner prompting
This inner prompting may also be the still small voice that Elijah hears when he goes to meet with God (1 Kings 19). It is also the voice that seems to guide Philip to go over to the chariot of the Ethiopian (Acts 8). I have had many inner nudging on a podcast over the year. Although we need to be careful with this sometimes our own desires are how God speaks to us.
- Other people
A couple of times stand out to me in the last year when it comes to the podcast as far as other Christians speaking to me. I was at a prayer and fasting retreat last fall where the speaker was talking about when God puts something in your heart. At one point he said something like, “Some of you are thinking of something that you think is too big.” I was thinking of the podcast.
Around the same time I was speaking at a pastor friend’s church and after lunch as I was about to drive away he ran up to the car and said something along the lines that he thought Christ Connection should have a podcast.
At this point there has not been anything miraculous one way or the other leading me in the area of having a podcast or not. This is important to note that for every decision we are not going to have all 5 of these different types of ways of God speaking to us. In reality sometimes we may only get one.
Circumstances are a tricky thing. Sometimes circumstances maybe telling us the exact opposite of what God is trying to tell us. But at the same time we see examples in the Bible where God spoke through the circumstances of an individual. In the case of the podcast there are some circumstances that would indicate that a podcast would be a good thing and there are circumstances that indicate the opposite.
Immediate reaction to God’s Voice
When we have one of these 5 things happen it is important what we do next. We basically have 3 options of what to do.
- Set it aside.
I may have a circumstance catch my attention that after a moment I realize is just a circumstance. Something may feel like an “inner prompting” but after prayer I realize is not a prompting at all. In the case of the podcast it is not something that I have yet felt like I can set aside.
- Do something now
In the majority of times when we feel God speaking to us we need to do something immediately. It you feel God calling you to encourage someone it is best to act right then, or very soon after the moment. At the same time some bigger decision require us to take some time for reflection. This was the case with the podcast.
- Process for reflection
One of the dangers is when God speaks to us and there is not an immediate action attached we lose or forget what God is saying. You can create your own system, but here is my process so that I continue to reflect on the things that God is saying.
My strategy to processing long term things I feel God is saying to me
- File it in Evernote
If you are not familiar with Evernote it is basically a cool online filing cabinet. You can have pictures, text and even scan documents with your phone. If I feel that God is saying something to me that doesn’t require immediate action I will type it up and put it in Evernote. The nice thing about Evernote is that I can tag it by category and I will attach the tags, “Word from God” and “word to me” to that note. Here is an example of one of those notes.
- Set up a follow up
In order to go back to these notes I use another tool called followupthen.com I have been using this tool for years and they recently made me an ambassador for their product. It allows you to forward emails to yourself in the future which helps me with inbox zero. You can also set up recurring reminder which is what I do in this case. I set up a monthly reminder that tells me to spend 10 minutes reviewing what God has said to me in Evernote.
- Set a timer and review
I literally set a timer on my computer for 10 minutes and begin looking through the notes in Evernote that I have created. I find that I am more likely to do something if I know that it will not turn into an all day project which would cause me to do nothing. Even ten minutes has kept these thoughts about the podcast in front of me.
- Get council
Now that the podcast idea won’t go away I have thrown this out to some people in my life that I trust. I let the board to my ministry in on what is going on in my heart. I asked for advice and prayer from a mentor. I shared it with my friend working on the website. Even if I don’t know if or when the timing of this thing would happen I want to include key people in the process.
- Small steps
Even if I am not sure if this is God’s plan for the ministry I am taking small steps to test it out. As Professor Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth encourages, “low cost experiments.” For the podcast I have been learning some about the practical aspects of starting a podcast. Since at least some of the podcast would be interview style I had a “practice” interview with someone I didn’t know.
Other questions I am asking myself
Since I am trying to show you the process I am going through to discern the will of God let me share a few other questions I am asking myself in relationship to the podcast.
- Does it fit with the overarching mission of the ministry?
Our mission at Christ Connection is to ignite pastors and churches to adventure with Jesus. Part of my thought with a podcast is to interview people from whom I can draw out habits and practices that help them walk with Jesus. In recent years God has been moving the ministry from adding to multiplying. A podcast definitely falls in that multiplying category.
- What do I need to give up?
If I was to do a podcast I would want to do it well. This would require time and effort. I am at a point in my life that to add something to my plate I need to take something else off. One thought is to less speaking in churches. If I was able to do this well I believe that it is a tradeoff worth making.
- How will I fund this?
Again I want to be very practical with this post and so I am asking myself how I would fund it. If I was giving up speaking to make it a reality I would need to make up about about $1000-$1500 a month depending on how much I ended up needing to cut back. That does not include the actual cost of the podcast. 3 main options I am thinking through right now are: 1. Podcast sponsors. 2. New monthly supporters for the ministry. 3. A step of faith trusting God for one time gifts if God leads that way.
As I mentioned at the top this is still something in process so it is not complete. Here are the 3 things that I will do next as continue to seek God’s will.
- Connecting with people who have done it.
I know some people who have done radio or have connection with podcasts. Learning while I wait is important.
- Praying through the funding strategy
If I am going to do this I want to know what God wants from me. Any of the strategies is fine as long as the Lord is directing.
- Praying through the specific strategy
As it seems more and more that this is in God’s plan at some point for the ministry I need to begin praying through what the podcast would look like. How often would it be? Would it be video or just audio? What would be the format?
I hope this is helpful to you in your own journey of following God. In my book Enjoying Prayer I have two chapters on listening to God if you would like to go deeper.