The results are in. People love podcasts.
Ofcom stats show podcasts are booming in the UK with the number of weekly podcast listeners doubling in five years (from 7% of adults in 2013 to 11%, or 5.9m last year).
I’m a paid-up member of the podcast gang. The UK (and London in particular) provide some of the best continent in the podcast space. We have great stuff from the world of football (try The Totally Football Show), comedy (No Such Thing As A Fish is worth a listen) and film (Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review is pretty essential) to name a few.
What about podcasts from churches? I’ve found there are times that tuning in can be profound, and other times when it doesn’t quite work. A stirring stories can still raise my faith from the other side of the world. At the same time, some sermons are carefully contextualised to cities I don’t live in, and congregations and cultures which mean the applications or topics don’t quite ring true.
If you’ve got an interest in picking up a new podcast, why not try Mere Fidelity - https://mereorthodoxy.com/category/mere-fidelity/
The focus of each episode is a hot topic about theology, the church and the culture, and the four contributors unpack what they’ve thought, studied, experienced and seen with care (and without a big fanfare or controversy).
Why does it stand out?
Well partly the episodes are equipping and formative without being a Sunday sermon recording. Why does that help? Listening to a sermon on a tube can feel difficult to fully engage with and, when the call to respond involves communion or going to speak to someone/get prayer, it can feel false to just move on to the next episode.
Shallow listening and a flimsy attitude to responding to the bible can be dangerous habits which we don’t want to bring with us on Sundays.
A theology-centred discussion between four well-read and well-rounded guys can spark inspiration, give a hunger for deeper study and draw you in to a whole topic you’ve never considered, without any feeling of ‘this is the wrong time and place’.
The other reason it works well is that the topics they pick are timely and, frankly, fascinating! Some relatively recent episodes covered ‘millennials and burnout’, ‘the weirdness of Matthew 27’, ‘ethics and technology’ and one simply called ‘Hillsong’.
It’s always good to hear London mentioned too. For that we can thank one of the four contributors, Andrew Wilson, who is the teaching pastor at Kings Church Catford, part of the Newfrontiers network here in London.
See what you think. Happy listening!