The Power of a Podcast

Podcasting. It’s back!

I interviewed Casey Helmick, Chief Strategist here at D+C on the recent revitalization of podcasting and the need for ministries to stay creative.

Here’s the first segment: 

Trent: Casey, let’s start by talking about your background, ministry space, and how you came to know so much about the topic of podcasting.

Casey:  Well, after I graduated from Liberty University, I worked for the incredible ministry of Samaritan’s Purse and cut my teeth with Operation Christmas Child, refugee programs, and other fun projects. I was working in marketing and really enjoyed that experience.

As the younger guy on the team, I was often handed the “younger people” assignments. For me, this included things like social media and addressing questions like, “How do we set up a website?”

Eventually, podcasting became a pretty important part of my ministry trajectory. It’s one of the threads I’ve taken with me from place to place over the last 10 years in ministry.

I’ve worked with some amazing leaders, helping them develop podcasts. And now through Dunham, I advise people on how to better develop this medium and produce impact through the means of podcasting.

Trent: We work with ministries to help them accomplish their mission by smart, agile, focused, targeted content development. But, that’s a shifting landscape.

It seems as though several years ago podcasts were really growing, but then began to fade a bit and weren’t as popular. However, in the last 12 months, it seems like we’re on another rocket booster. Is that in your experience, as well? 

Casey: There are currently 750,000 Apple podcasts. It’s definitely become mainstream!

But there are ministries out there that have been doing it for decades. Podcasting is almost as old as the internet. When the internet came on the scene, the traditional radio businesses said, “Hey, we could do this thing and people could get it a little bit easier, whenever they want it.”

But I think we are currently seeing a revitalization of podcasting because people are getting more creative with what kind of content they produce. A traditional ministry might have just released a sermon every Sunday, but now ministries are asking, “What if we did a five-minute talk about a question we received from the message this week?”

It comes down to offering additional content to engage people through a different avenue. That creativity has revitalized podcasting. Not that long ago, faith-based podcasts were simply a list of mega churches that could afford to do it. And today it’s this diverse group of ministries working hard to engage their people in many different ways. It’s fun to watch! 

Trent: At our Ministry Summit last year, we heard from James Boggs, head of Apple’s global podcasting strategy. He said there was no one in the faith space actually producing a podcast (creating a story) the way it should be produced. But yet, the hunger for a faith-based podcast is sky high.

What would happen if ministries started to take this seriously and create more fresh content?

Casey: Podcasting feels a lot like what social media was supposed to feel like. But today, there’s a sense that social media is overwhelmed with negativity, and because of how vast this medium is, you can feel as if no one is actually hearing your message.

Then comes podcasting, and all of a sudden you are literally inside of people’s ears. It’s an intimate relationship. And if you do that creatively with some thought and effort, not just regurgitating all the content you’ve sent them in an email or on your website, people take notice.

As Christian ministries, we need to be more creative with all of our media output. Every ministry team should get in a room with a whiteboard and ask, “What would people actually want from us? What would actually engage them to go deeper?” It would be a great discussion to have.

To learn more about creating more impact through podcasting, check out The Dunham Podcast episode “Ultimate Podcasting Podcast with Trent and Casey.

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