Recommended Podcasts for Christmas Break 2017

I love podcasts!

I love listening to them. I love producing them. And I love sharing them with friends.

Below are a whole new set of recommendations for you to check out. You can also see previous lists from 2015 and 2016.

Christianity/Church Related

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – Much like the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast—which I recommended last year—this is a 30-minute once-a-month show. Yet, while the time commitment is low, it always gives me a lot to think about. Andy offers a great mix of insight from his experience leading North Point Community Church and interviews with individuals who offer unique and impactful perspectives.

The Burlap Podcast – Burlap is a ministry organization dedicated to helping the Church connect with and minister to Millennials and Generation Z. The podcast, hosted by Chris Folmsbee and previous Art of the Sermon guest Chris Abel, features conversation and occasional interviews on topics essential to anyone who wants to reach emerging generations.

5 Minutes in Church History – This is a new one for me, but it ended up being just what I was looking for late in the year as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation came and went. I wanted to learn more about the history, but I also didn’t want an hour long show or something that would require me to have to pause and read Wikipedia every couple of minutes. This show is short, easy to listen to, and includes just enough interesting info to keep me subscribed.

Culture/Current Events

Chase Jarvis Live – Chase Jarvis is one of the top photographers in the world and the founder of CreativeLive, an excellent online learning platform for creative and business leaders. On his weekly podcast, he interviews writers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and more. Chase’s variety of guests as well as his approach to interviewing has made this one of my favorite shows of the year.

It’s Been a Minute – Last year, I recommended the NPR Politics Podcast, which is still one I listen to regularly. And while their stable of hosts and analysts are still top notch, the best part of the show was primary host Sam Sanders. Well, Sam has now spun off to have his own dedicated show that keeps you current in everything from politics to pop culture. So, if your desire to keep up to date is broader than just politics and news, this is the show for you.

Song Exploder and The Sleeping At Last Podcast – Song Exploder welcomes a different band, singer, or composer each episode to deconstruct one of their songs. What makes the show so special is that it is not just an interview about the inspiration or story behind the song, but they go into the details of how it was written and recorded, even playing isolated instruments, sounds, and parts from the song. And if you’re a fan of the band Sleeping At Last, Ryan O’Neal (the guy behind the music) has started his own podcast where he does this regularly with his own music.

Up First – This 10-minute news roundup releases early each weekday morning. It is a great way to quickly get up to speed on what happened yesterday and what is expected to happen today. I don’t listen to it every morning, but if I am feeling out of touch or I know I missed something major from the previous day, this is an easy tool for catching up.


Bon Appétit Foodcast – This podcast is admittedly going to be more interesting if you are a “foodie” or like to imagine that you could be. I will sometimes skip episodes that are simply interviews with chefs, but when they tackle topics like cooking for Thanksgiving or baking homemade bread, there are always invaluable tips.

Design Matters with Debbie Millman – This is another specialized show, as many of her guests are people from the graphic design world. However, Debbie is such an amazing interviewer and the concepts of design are often transferable, so I often take away a few gems. If this interests you, start with a couple episodes from October 2017 featuring Brené Brown and Hamilton director Thomas Kail.

Limetown – One of the coolest parts of the “podcast revolution” is the resurgence of audio-based storytelling like we had when radio was king. Limetown models itself after the real-time investigation style of Serial with a healthy dose of sci-fi. Season 1 came out a few years ago, but now is the time to relisten or get caught up as season 2 is coming in 2018.

Travel with Rick Steves – Yes, this is the nerdy guy from the PBS show that your grandparents rave about. But if you love travel, culture, and history, you really cannot find a better guide to make travel accessible and fun. His weekly podcast will quickly add locations and experiences to your travel bucket list. Also, as a Christian himself, Rick likes to include interesting bits from church history when relevant.


The Church Communications Podcast – Hosts Katie and Darrel are on the communications team of a big Baptist Church in Nashville. They also started a Facebook Group for church communications workers that now has over 14,000 members. This informal show offers a great roundup of news, trends, and discussions in the areas of design, social media, and communications for churches.

MyCom Church Marketing Podcast – This podcast on church marketing and communications debuted earlier this year, and I loved it. Fast-forward a few months, and I somehow went from listener and fan of the show to hosting the show. So, yes… I am biased… But we are working hard to cover topics that will help you and your church make deeper connections with your community.

The Science of Social Media – Produced by Buffer, makers of a great social media scheduling tool, this show is short, easy to listen to, and jam packed with research and tips for making an impact on social media. This one is a no-brainer if you are connected at all to the social media ministry at your church.

Now I want to hear from you! If you’re already subscribed to some great podcasts, recommend them in the comments below. I am always on the look out for more great shows!

NOTE: Not all of these shows are always “safe for the little ears in your family,” but none are overtly offensive.

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