Here are ten ways you can add intentionality to your podcast listening practice.
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Happy Saturday, Christine.

Today I've invited Christine M. Chappell to share ten ways to turn podcast listening into a spiritual discipline. Enjoy! -Sarah Koontz

For a long while, faith-filled podcasts have been like spiritual sprinkles I would pour on my day while doing chores or shuttling children to and from school.

They seemed to serve the respectable purpose of filling my ears with fruitful teaching about God’s word when I could not sit at my kitchen table, Bible-in-hand.

But after a while, having a podcast streaming in the background of life became less and less fruitful.

At first, I felt like podcasts opened a treasure trove of education and equipping.

As time passed, I became more interested in how quickly I was getting through the episodes than how faithfully I was applying their lessons to my heart.

James accurately describes my dilemma in 1:23-24:

For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does. (BSB)

When it came to listening to Christian podcasts, consumption—not digestion—was my goal.

I would listen like a quick look in the mirror and then walk away, not remembering what I had heard.

Podcasts weren’t a substantive contribution to my spiritual hunger because I treated them like M&Ms instead of a three-course meal.

If you’re like me, listening to podcasts is one of the main methods—besides Sunday service and private devotional reading—we spend time with God’s Word during the week.

In order for our listening to have a meaningful impact on our walk with Christ, we must approach the practice with wisdom and intention.

Here are ten ways you can add intentionality to your podcast listening practice:

Ask yourself, "What did this episode tell me about God, what did it tell me about who I am in Christ, and what do those two truths mean for the problem I’m facing right now?" Reflect on these questions and apply what you heard in the episode to your situation by writing out a response.

Keep a notebook nearby to record what you are learning while you are listening. Jot down Scripture references, important resource recommendations, or helpful encouragements you hear. Set your notes aside and return to them when you are able to spend time looking up the verses for yourself.

If you’re listening on the go, send yourself a voice message with a thought or Scripture reference from the episode that you want to remember. You can also use your phone’s voice recorder to save a note for later when you can sit down with your Bible and dig in to the Scriptures. Walkie talkie apps are also good for this.

Send the episode to your friend and ask her to listen to it. Set a time to chat on the phone or to meet in person to talk about the episode. Share your encouragements, your concerns, and help each other work through how the topic applies to your lives in practical, meaningful ways.

Use the Scriptures you hear during the episode as suggestions for memory verses. If you note the addresses as you listen, return later to write them on out notecards and add them to a memorization pile to work through.

Feeling convicted after listening to an episode? Don’t let spiritual prompting go to waste. Spend time in prayer and confess, repent, and ask the Lord to help you in the area you’re struggling with.

7. Actively l
isten for truths about God's character. How many times did the episode reference an attribute or characteristic about God? Write them down as you hear them and make a list. Explore these attributes further through personal Bible study.

Did you hear the gospel fully presented? If so, rehearse what you hear by writing it down or repeating it verbally without notes. If you didn’t hear it, what was left out? Can you fill in the blanks? If not, research and find out what element you’re missing.

Did the topic of the podcast make you think of someone who is struggling? Send them a text or email of encouragement along with a link to the episode you listened to. It may be just the thing they need to hear at just the right time.

10. Ask yourself, "
In what ways are you more grateful to Jesus Christ as a result of the podcast you finished?" Spend time reorienting your heart toward gratitude and worship as a result. If you keep a gratitude journal, make notes of what you listened to and the specific ways the media helped you become more grateful for who Christ is and what he has done for you.

No matter the method, our time spent with God through fellowship in His Word will not return void.

Whether we encounter the Scriptures through podcasts or Bible studies, phone calls or Sunday services, our greatest desires will find their most complete satisfaction as we pursue fellowship with Jesus.

We want to be mindful that all our spiritual disciplines continually press us more deeply into God’s word—podcasts included.

Are we
digesting, or merely consuming? Are we looking into the mirror, and then walking away unchanged? Or are we slowing down and partnering with the work God’s Spirit wants to do in our hearts?

Though a podcast can be a vehicle for dropping us off at Christ’s feet, it can only take us there if we agree to get in and buckle up.

By putting some structure around an often passive method of spiritual intake, we can maximize the impact of the media on our spiritual growth and invite others to enjoy the same.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. -Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

- Christine M. Chappell

Christine Chappell is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart and Help! My Teen is Depressed (Shepherd Press, forthcoming March 2020). She hosts The Hope + Help Project podcast and blogs at Her writing has been featured at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Thrive Moms, Servants of Grace, and Devotable. Christine lives in South Carolina with her husband and three children.
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