Wednesday, January 04, 2012

My Top 10 Podcasts

I love podcasts!
I love to learn--especially if I can learn while doing something else. This is why I favor audio over video podcasts. And unlike a book, which is very polished and more dense content-wise, a podcast is typically an interview or talk given in a more conversationally raw way. Material is less dense and therefore if your mind wanders you aren't lost when it returns.

So I thought I'd share a few podcasts that I listen to while running or riding in the car or working out. (I rarely just sit and listen; the efficiency nut in me can't do that). 

Disclaimer: I'm a pastor and Christ-follower. That shapes this content considerably. So consider yourself warned.

Here is my top 10 right now...

10. Passion City Church (Louie Giglio) - It's hard to argue with Louie Giglio. He's passionate about God and communicates with raw energy and enthusiasm. A contagious Christ-follower every week!

9. Timothy Keller Podcast - Keller preaches in Manhattan and knows his stuff! And you have to to get New Yorkers to come back. He is extremely smart and knowledgable and yet can explain complex ideas in simple ways. Couple that with a genuine love for people and humble continence and you have a great weekly podcast.

8. The Village Church (Matt Chandler) - Matt is also raw and passionate about leading people to following Christ. He's challenges the status quo in church world with a touch of irreverence. He's also a brain cancer survivor that helps him speak with great humility each week.

7. Brook Hills (David Platt) - Ever since David Platt's book Radical, I've been a huge fan. He speaks like he writes: direct and with great humility every week. 

6. Together for the Gospel (T4TG conference) - There are 4 guys who really make this bi-annual conference happen (Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, and Al Mohler). They bring their main session speakers from past conferences here for free. What I like most is the panel discussions that happen directly after each message. From these discussions you not only get more on that particular message but you get to know each of these men in a way that causes you to like and love them. 

5. Stuff You Should Know - Josh and Chuck (HowStuffWorks.com) have great chemistry as they bring their individually researched "stuff you should know" together in a fun conversation. You feel like you're part of a coffee shop conversation as they discuss various and random topics (1 per episode) like How Alcatraz Works, How US Marshalls work, and 10 Scientists Who Were Their Own Guinea Pigs. They are a riot and you learn along the way. FYI: They aren't coming at things from a Christian world-view but they still do a very good job. They upload multiple episodes per week.

4. Exponential - This annual church planting conference is the largest in the world. They upload all of their content. From main sessions with thousands of people to breakouts of a dozen, you hear from big and upcoming names in the world of church planting, networking, and disciple-making. Great variety!

3. Neue - I almost always finish this podcast wanting more. They do 20 min. interviews with people in the world of cutting edge ministry and church life. This is an overflow of their work on Neue magazine. Authors, musicians, entrepreneurs and social justice advocates populate their episodes. Very well produced and the interviewers are terrific. More, more, more!

2. ESPN's Fantasy Focus (ESPN Pro Football) (Matthew Berry & Nate Ravitz) - I know, I know, get a life, right? But alas, I love fantasy football! And I am only decent because I listen to/read other experts. (I don't have time to figure out why you don't play Steven Jackson against the 49ers Defense)

Anyway, these guys are irreverent, lack good judgment, and immersed in the world of fantasy sports. But they know their stuff. Most importantly (for me) however, is not their analysis (which they say is only about half right anyway) but their banter. They are at times terrible and other times hilarious. I keep coming back because they make me laugh with their daily football podcast. Note: There have been times when I've simply stopped listening to them. They can get carried away!

I have never listened to their baseball show so can't speak to that. They are gifted at talking nonsense about something as nonsensical as fantasy football. Additional notes: They've won at least 3 podcast awards. 

1. Catalyst Podcast (Brad Lomenick & Ken Coleman) - These 2 are clearly close friends who have a passion to change the world by being a catalyst of change in and through others. Unpolished but well-produced, this crew brings you top-shelf interviews every 2 weeks. I don't miss many of these and going back several years is worth the investment of time. 

I'd love to hear what your favorites/recommendations are too! Please comment with a podcast you think I should check out (in any category).

Honorable mention:

Emergent - UK Resources Podcast July 2005 "Kingdom" series - Ok, so I only know about this particular series because it's taught by Dallas Willard. This professor of philosophy at the Univ. of Southern Cal is also a Christian. He has an amazing grasp on what it means to be a Christ-follower. He's dry in deliver but his content is worth the effort. Love his sense of humor too.

The Gospel Coalition - A conference like T4TG above, they also have lots of past content with panel discussions thrown in. They have a wider selection of speakers but they are less personal than T4TG. Great content!

A new one I just found and am checking out is called Movements that change the world (Steve Addison)

BTW, you can find all of these at the iTunes store through your iTunes app.