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The theology of podcasting

Religion Communicators Conference workshop features pastor co-host whose podcast has a weekly audience of up to 15,000

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Steven Martin of The Lakelands Institute interviews the Rev. Stephanie Kendell about her podcast, “Two on One.” (Screenshot)

LOUISVILLE — During this week’s digital workshop for religious communicators on podcasting, the Rev. Stephanie Kendell said her theology as a podcaster can be summed up in eight words: “Connect and build community in any way possible.”

Kendell, a pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, co-hosts “Two on One,” a weekly talk show and podcast, which she said has a weekly audience of 12,000-15,000 people.

It began when Kendell had a conversation on Instagram with a pastor friend, the Rev. Arthur Stewart of Riverside Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas. When they put it on Facebook, Kendell said, people reacted with comments such as, “It’s really nice to see you during this pandemic and to be in community with you.”

And so, Kendell and Stewart decided to make it a weekly conversation. They were averaging about 400 weekly views when they began lifting the audio of the live chat version, releasing it on all major podcast platforms.

The first week their audience grew to 1,000 people. Kendell said a lot of that has to with the fact that “Two on One” is consistent.

The two pastors come out with a one-hour Facebook Live conversation each Wednesday, then release the podcast version on Friday so that their audience knows what’s coming. This helps them with their goal of making their weekly conversation part of a person’s routine.

“I truly believe we are made to be storytellers,” Kendell said, “and that we are the only ones that can tell our own story.”

In her work in the Facebook and podcast conversation, Kendell says to her weekly guest and audience, “This is my story.” She is curious enough to ask, “What is your story?” She then listens to figure out where the conversation fits into God’s story or in God’s work in the world, or in a particular community.

“We need to have a hermeneutic of curiosity,” she said. “That invites other people to say, ‘I’ve been on that road before,’ or ‘I don’t know anything about that space. I’m curious about how I might do something new.’”

The graphic for the “Two on One” podcast.

Kendell believes good podcasting is both invitational and relational.  She describes her theological prep work for “Two on One” as “Spirit work” around prayer and listening.

“It’s focused more on what is going to happen in the conversation, rather than who I’m talking to or what the topic is going to be,” she said.

The presenter of the podcasting workshop, the Rev. Steven Martin of  The Lakelands Institute, invited religion communicators to see audio as a meaningful form of ministry.

Calling it “a powerful way to connect with people,” Martin described what happened to him on Easter Sunday.

“The church building was closed. Worship was still online,” he said. “So, we took a pair of AirPods, split them in half, put the service on and took our walk in the community. We didn’t see the community so much, but we just listened to it [while listening worship]. And it was a lovely experience.”

To hear the entire “Theology of Podcasting” conversation, click here. The conversation includes Martin and Kendell responding to questions, including a concern about the cost of podcasting. They mentioned free tools like and, which allow one to record a conversation and distribute it without cost or in-between steps.

 The joint digital conference of The Associated Church Press, Religion Communicators Council  and the Canadian Christian Communicators Association concludes Friday.

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