About Podcasts

Podcasts are a wonderful thing. I listen to several in the course of a week (I posted about my listening habits here). But I'm more than a little mystified and concerned by the church's approach to podcast--as I have been about the church's approach to radio and television.

Judging from most churches' podcasts and vidcasts, the sermon is what really matters. In fact, from all appearances, the sermon is practically all that matters.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a preacher. I love the Bible. I love preaching. I believe God still uses "the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21, KJV), as well as to inspire, grow, encourage, and admonish the saints.

But preaching ain't all there is to worship. Why do we "podcast" (to verb a noun) as if it is?

I suppose it is understandable, to a degree. Prayers may not always translate well in a podcasting format. Copyright issues limit churches' ability to include music in a podcast. Drama and dance would work for video but not audio. And so on.

But still.

Is it about "celebrity?" Do we exalt famous preachers to the exclusion of congregations? Is it because we can hear worship music on KLove or Air1? Is it a sign that we find prayer "boring?" Or is it something else?

Whatever it is, it seems to be more pronounced among evangelicals. For example, a daily prayer podcast I use often (mentioned in the post I linked above) comes from an Episcopal Church in Maryland. Roman Catholic podcasts (as well as radio and television) present diverse aspects of prayer and worship. But for some reason, evangelical churches rarely feature elements of worship besides the sermon.

Is it just me? Am I all wet? Or have others noticed this as well?


  1. I don't listen to podcasts, Bob, but I'm not surprised at this phenomenon among evangelicals. My pastor husband often says that the Lord's Supper should be the focal point of our gatherings, not the sermon. Perhaps our church "services" have devolved through the ages to something akin to movie-going. We're a very entertainment-oriented society. Too bad.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jeanette. That's a great example. Communion would be kinda hard to podcast, wouldn't it? We could probably get the wine through the earbuds, but not the bread.

  3. Oh, and I think you're right, we are much more accustomed to "spectator church" than to "participant church." I'm sure that IS part of the reason.