I used to Podcast. In fact I was a podcast junky. I was podcasting and listening to 40 different preachers. I got so much out of it but in the last few years I have not podcasted anyone. In fact I gave myself two years off podcasting anyone and here is why:

  1. Podcasting taught me to listen to preaching like I listen to music i.e. for entertainment. If I listen to my music on my new iPhone 4 (yeah I got one just to be cool) and I find the song boring or not as good as another song I skip to the next one. I learnt to do this with sermons. I programmed myself to think that it was the preachers job to entertain me and if they didn’t I just skipped to the next sermon. This meant I was putting myself over the word instead of under. Preaching became entertainment instead of another opportunity to hear from God.
  2. It didn’t help me to preach better. Okay this is an overstatement. It did help me to think about how to communicate and how to use illustrations etc. But after a few years of preaching week in week out I am finding my biggest weakness in preaching is making every sermon fresh even though we may be looking at the same topic (i.e. justification by faith in Galatians). Therefore, what I need to is to hear how a person preaches through a book and ask myself how they are making it fresh. If I listened to Piper one day and Mahaney the next and then a bit of Chandler the day after I don’t learn how Piper, Mahaney or Chandler handle the Bible week in week out because I usually forget what they preached on when I get around to hearing them again. Therefore podcasting didn’t help me preach better in the long run.
  3. Podcasting sometimes made me depressed. I thank God for the guys who I listen to but I am not like them. But when I listen to them I want to be like them. I want to be able to be as deep as Piper, as funny as Driscoll, as insightful as Chandler and as passionate as Mahaney. But when I try to be one of them I sound inauthentic. When I realise that I may never have their strengths it can make me depressed and forget that God has given me gifts and I need to play to my strengths because that is how I will be most effective.
  4. I was tempted to prepare sermons by listening to podcasts and not studying Gods word. When someone I listened to has preached a sermon on the text I am preaching on it is such a temptation to bypass translating, flowcharting, analysing grammar, reading commentaries and systematic theologies etc. the passage and just go with what they say. But that means I am short changing the people at my church in two ways. Firstly, I am not letting myself pastor them by effectively by applying the word to our specific context and secondly I am short changing them in the long run by not letting Gods word change me as I spend hours upon hours each year in the Bible. I am basically not letting myself grow as a pastor.

So I don’t podcast but I still listen to sermons now. But here is what I do now:

  1. I listen to whole series. So if I listen to 3 sermons a week I will listen to three consecutive sermons from one series and the next week I will listen to the next one and so on until the series is completed.
  2. I ask myself what is God saying to me through this? I want to retrain my mind so that I realise that when someone is preaching it is God speaking and not another form of entertainment. Therefore I am looking for ways that God is speaking to me through the preacher.
  3. I pray about what I have learnt. I want to make sure I apply the text to my life and praying helps me do this.

How about you, have you feel into the traps that I fell into with podcasting? How do you use podcasting and sermons on the internet? 


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