Podcasts Are Growing in Popularity
I discovered a new podcast recently. Ligonier Ministries launched Luther: In Real Time on October 10th. This podcast is a “radio drama” of Dr. Martin Luther’s life 500 years ago. The new episodes air on the 500th anniversary of specific events in Luther’s life. The first episode also recalls October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg, Germany, church door.
Each short drama transported me to another time. Airing the episodes on exact dates made the events more real to me.
Podcasts are growing in popularity. For instance, more than half of the U.S. population (155 million) has listened to a podcast. Seven million Italians (26% of the population) listened to a podcast in October 2020.
In April 2020, the percent of populations who listened to a podcast are:
- 53% South Korea (27.3 million)
- 39% Spain
- 37% Ireland (1.8 million)
- 35% Sweden
- 35% United States (115.9 million)
- 30% Italy
- 29% Canada (10.9 million)
- 27% Australia (6.8 million)
- 25% France
- 23% Japan
- 21% Germany
- 21% United Kingdom (14 million)
I’m sure you noticed how many of these were English-speaking countries. I did a little population research about some of these percentages. Adding up the English-speaking population percentages would be 149.4 million potential listeners. Podcasts in general are available in 100 languages.
Creative Podcast Ideas for Ministry
Podcasting might bring to mind talk shows and interviews. Comedy, sports, and society and culture are three popular genres. This Ligonier podcast gave me a few ideas for podcasts using a timeline, drama and/or storytelling. You will have some ideas as well:
An evangelistic dramatization and/or timeline would work well for a podcast for Easter week, Thanksgiving or Advent. The audience might be internationals who want to understand more about these holidays.
Perhaps dramatizations of discipleship or evangelism training would be a good resource for ministries practicing social distancing.
Cru history might appeal to ministry partners. What about Explo ’72 “in real time”? This could be a docudrama of the events leading up to and during Explo ’72 including people who were there.
Could we touch a new generation in Korea? South Korea leads the world in podcast listeners. We could broadcast the teaching of Explo ‘74 with some life-change stories. Listeners learn about the impact on Korea and the world. The messages and training could challenge them to respond.
Many videos from the Cru Legacy project could be dramatic or narrative podcast episodes.
EveryStudent.com’s personal life stories could be podcast episodes. Content from the Q&A section could be presented as dramatic dialogue. Many listeners touched by EveryStudent.com would likely be interested in a podcast and in sharing it with others. Many languages are available, too.
The JESUS Film Project could dramatize many of their changed-life stories from the field.
Athletes in Action might try a podcast leading up to the Olympics, possibly with a timeline. Of course, they have other content on their site that might work on a podcast.
Story-telling has cultural value in many places.
A podcast appeals to busy people who want to listen while doing something else.
A podcast has the potential of building community, so engagement is vital. (Because of the irregular nature of the Luther podcast, the offer to sign up for email alerts is a plus for the listener and for Ligonier.)
Podcast listeners are more likely to follow a ministry on social media.
I’m sure that the pandemic has influenced the statistics for podcasting, so it may be hard to predict how popular it will continue to be.
For me, I’d much rather get up from the computer and listen to a podcast for a break from the screen. I’m not likely to follow videos. My email subscriptions and links to web articles are piling up, too. Most of us reach a limit for how long we want to be on our computers. I believe it’s time to offer the podcast option.
I hope that sowing these thoughts might grow an idea or two to advance God’s Kingdom.
I’d also love to know your ideas for podcasts. Podcasts are growing in popularity. Can we jump on board?
- On October 10, 1520, Pope Leo X declared Martin Luther a heretic. Luther: In Real Time first aired on October 10, 2020. Apparently, the podcasts will end with the anniversary of Luther at the Diet of Worms which concluded on May 26, 1521. Want to join me on this historical journey? Sign up for email reminders to follow along on the website: Luther: In Real Time.
- Articles on podcasting:
- Podcast Statistics (2020) – [Infographic]
- 2020 Podcast Stats & Facts
- Why are Podcasts so Popular in 2020?
- 7 Ideas for a Church Podcast that Aren’t Your Sermon Two of his ideas are:
- Tell the story of your community
- Build a podcast network with like-minded ministries