Believe It Or Not, I've Learned Something!

Since March I've been part of a podcast project.  My former pastor turned friend Jason Micheli approached me about participating in a theological conversations without using stained glass language I was excited.  You see, I'm not a "stained glass language" kind of guy.  And then on top of that you add Morgan Guyton to the mix, a guy whose writing challenges the way we participate in the world, I knew this was going to be an exciting project. Six months into this I've (and I think we've) learned a few things.

1. Quality Matters

The first episode we recorded, in hindsight, was a train-wreck.  I was finishing my thesis and coming close to wrapping up year one at a new church.  Naturally, Jason wanted to talk about the transition I had experienced as well as my thesis work.  We had a great conversation.  Content wise, I think it was one of the best conversations we've had.  But then the audio quality sucked.  The crappy 2008 laptop I was using could handle the high-octane software we were running which resulted in poor audio quality.  We decided to post it anyways, thinking no one was going to listen anyways.

We quickly found out that quality is more important than content at times.  This translates into everyday ministry for me.  We can have the best theological points, create object lessons, and awesome games BUT if the presentation is half-assed to together, it might be for nothing.  And this means that we cannot settle for good enough in student ministry.

2. Preparation is Key

There are a few topics I can talk about at length without much prep: student ministry, missional theology, and beer.  Outside of those, I need to prep.  I have learned that no matter how comfortable with the topic or familiar with the guest I need to do some prep work.  Read over related blog posts, actually read the author's books, and do all of this more than 5 minutes before it is time to record.

For student ministry then, this reminds me that we need be planning & preparing for ministry events more than 2 hours before hand.  It drives me nuts (and is down right lazy) when student pastors wait to the last minute to prep for youth group, worship, and mission trips.  People notice when you don't prep, and they will call you out for it.

3. Don't Be Surprised When You're Surprised

During the first recording with Fleming Rutledge I wasn't sold on her as a regular.  I knew Jason had an unhealthy  obsession with her work but I wasn't sure what this woman would add to the conversation, especially one where we were trying to not use stained-glass language.

We should not be surprised when we are surprised by God's people.  Knowing the Holy Spirit is working through those we encounter should prepare us for how others will change our points of view and then challenge us to make sure we are pushing ourselves to work harder and harder.  Fleming is now that person for me.  Her commentary on the quality of preaching out there rocked the way  I view my role when I stand in the pulpit.  While I don't preach often, I do teach A LOT.  This means that my teaching now is an opportunity to not only educate about the love of God but it is also an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in ways some may not be expecting.

So yes, I do spend a lot of time recording, editing, listening, and then editing again.  But in the process of doing this I am growing.  I spend more time reading and studying now.  I spend more time reflecting on what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ.  But the best part of this podcast project is waiting to see where and how God will challenge me next, who God will introduce me to next, and how God will use me as we work to build the Kingdom.

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