Startup Podcast usually does audio documentaries about startup businesses. But this season, they are focusing on what it’s like to Start a Church Plant.
I was surprised because the demographic for Startup Podcast are usually business people, non Christian, nor religious. Consider that on one of the earlier seasons when Gimlet Media (the mother company) was the startup business in focus. They were having a big staff meeting and Christian values were brought up. It was quickly dismissed and they moved on, but one of the staff, Eric Mendell, took a stand on behalf of his beliefs and being the lone Christian.
Startup chose a Church Plant this season because of the parallels of a Church plant to a startup business:
- Starts from nothing grows to a Church body - Starts from nothing grows to a big business
- What is the theology? – What is the company culture?
- Fund raising – Fund raising
- Life and eternity altering – Products or services for a better quality of life
To make things even more interesting, the audio documentary follows Pastor AJ Smith, a white pastor starting a church plant in a predominantly black neighborhood in an urban area. The podcast follows the journey from finding a church building, to Easter Sunday, to new visitors trickling in, to their church's theology. It also dives into tougher topics surrounding Christians in the media, and Christian values.
Episode 4 is especially compelling. Eric (host) asks Pastor AJ Smith about his view on the 3 H’s: Hell, Homosexuality, Head roles for women.
+Given that most of the Gimlet Media staff are non Christians, they did not inject their beliefs into the story. The podcast presents a more or less neutral view on Christianity.
+Gimlet Media did their research. They delve into topics like: Resurrection / Easter as one of the pivotal Sundays, Acts 29 network, and even asked Kathy Keller (Tim Keller’s wife) for her thoughts on theology.
+A totally different audience, non Christians will be listening to a podcast about Church Planting. Startup Podcast have millions of downloads. Listening to a church planting story may plant seeds in people’s minds. A conversation starter for a different demographic.
-There’s no altar call, that would’ve been so cool if they played a clip of Pastor AJ Smith in the middle of a sermon saying something like: “Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?!” ...One could only hope.
-Non Christians may view Christian values, church funding, traditions, in a negative light. The Word is like a two edged sword. There's a reason they chose the church planting story. It could lay the groundwork for great audio moments.
Overall I would recommend this for both Christians and non Christians. Anyone who likes a good story and great audio production quality will find this worth a listen. Lots of non believers being exposed to Christian culture in some form is a great unintended consequence.
Are there any other podcasts you would recommend?
How Lots of Non Christians Listened to a Story about Church Planting
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