Recommended Podcasts for Christmas Break 2016

I am a huge fan of podcasts, and I would like to recommend a few shows for the upcoming Christmas travel days, cleaning days, or even time off. Be sure to check out last year’s list as well, as they are all still great shows! I have organized the shows alphabetically within categories below.

If you are new to podcasts or have yet to dive in, I created a podcast help page. Obviously, I would love for you to check out my show “Art of the Sermon,” but this post is meant to point you to other great shows. To check them out, click the podcast title to view them in iTunes or search for them through your favorite podcast app (like Overcast or Stitcher).

Christianity/Church Related

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – Carey Nieuwhof is a pastor, blogger, author, and podcast host who specializes in leadership stories and advice. His weekly show features interesting interviews on a range of topics. He also does occasional “Ask Carey” episodes.

Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast – Craig Groeschel is the founding and lead pastor of Life.Church (creator of the The Bible app). He teaches on leadership once a month, which makes this one easy to keep up with. Craig is a driven leader, and his ideas will challenge you to achieve more and to do it for the right reasons.

The Liturgists Podcast – “Science Mike” McHargue and Michael Gungor host conversations around topics that really resonate with younger adults, progressives, and the “nones.” They are both honest about the failings of the church and vocal in their support of what the Christian community can be for those searching and questioning. I highly recommend episode 40 entitled “Woman.”

Culture/Current Events

NPR Politics Podcast – This is one of the best news podcasts out there. It is entertaining, easy to understand, and it keeps you up-to-date on the top stories. They do regular shows on Friday, but they also drop in special episodes when major events happen.

Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most interesting writers working today. He takes these talents and applies them to audio stories in this podcast. This may fit better in the next category (stories/variety), but so many of his examples and conclusions are relevant to today’s culture and current events. In particular, he has a compelling three-episode arc on the current state of higher education that gives you lots to consider.

Unmistakable Creative – The tagline for this show is “Candid Conversations about Creativity.” It follows the typical interview format, but the guests and topics discussed are often very interesting. If you want to get in the mind of creative people and dig into how they think and work, this is the show for you.


How I Built This – The team behind the TED Radio Hour have debuted this new show featuring 30-minute interviews with entrepreneurs about the stories behind their companies. Every episode so far has been really interesting and often inspiring. It is a great reminder that everything, no matter how big it is now, starts as an idea.

The Message – Nope, this is not an audio Bible or sermon podcast. It is an 8-part radio drama about decoding a mysterious message received from outer space over 70 years ago. I don’t want to give anything else away, as it is a really compelling ride full of twists and turns. This is perfect if you’re not looking for a long term commitment but rather something you can get through during the break.

West Wing Weekly – Are you a fan of the TV show “The West Wing”? If so, this show is for you. The hosts, which include a former cast member, walk through the series episode by episode. They also frequently have interviews with former cast and crew. Even if you’re not interested in going this in-depth, be sure to check out their interview with creator/writer Aaron Sorkin (episode 2.00).


Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller – Donald Miller went from memoirist to studying and becoming an expert in the elements of story. This podcast focuses on applying the elements of story and storytelling to business, but they can be applied to churches and even sermons. He even has some great tips about how to tell story online through your website and social media accounts.

HBR Ideacast – This is a great weekly podcast that digs into communication, leadership, innovation, and tons of other interesting and relevant topics. Since it comes from the Harvard Business Review, it is focused on business, but many of the ideas are transferable. The show’s host, Sarah Green Carmichael, was also a guest on my podcast this year!

Steve Fogg Marketing & Communications Podcast – Steve is a great church communications blogger, and he is taking slow steps into the world of podcasting. He has only released a few episodes, but go ahead and subscribe and be pleasantly surprised when he drops an episode with great ideas and tips!

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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