Craft & Character

With Steve Carter

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There’s No Power in Preaching Without Transformation

As a preacher, are you just transmitting information? Or are you speaking from a transformed place?

You can’t preach God’s Word well without first being personally transformed by it.

Learn to Lead With Character

Craft & Character is for pastors and church communicators who want to work on their craft while learning to lead with character.

In each episode, host Steve Carter sits down with other church leaders to discuss the persistent need to pursue powerful communication alongside godly character and transformation.

Tune in to learn how to bring your full self to the platform each time you preach. New episodes drop every other week.

What Others Are Saying

As a pastor, this podcast is a breath of fresh air!
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I love this podcast. It’s helping me grow in profound ways!
Absolute Joy!
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This new podcast with my friend Steve Carter and his team at Craft & Character is so vital for leaders. Steve is an absolute joy of a person and his character is bigger than his desire to be known. Listen to this every time an episode drops and you won’t be disappointed, in fact you will be transformed!
Baby Girl Daughter
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If you want practical information on how to become a great communicator...THIS IS IT!
Essential for Growth
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I love being able to hear from Steve and other incredible leaders. I really relate to Steve being an Enneagram 3. He really has incredible leaders on who lead with character, and that is the most important thing. Time after time Steve proves his character in his life and really reflects how to lead others in his own life. I greatly respect him, and this podcast. It’s came at a perfect time in my life. I love being encouraged in my craft.
Profound, Powerful, and Practical
rob lyons
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This is the best podcast on the craft of preaching I've seen. I love that we get to listen to an excerpt from messages and talk about specifics of what made it work. Super profound and practical. Opened my eyes to new voices in the church who have challenged and encouraged me.

About the Host

Steve Carter is a renowned pastor, speaker, author, and the former lead teaching pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.

As host, Steve sits down with ministry leaders to talk about the art of mastering communication while growing in personal character.

Steve Carter

Your Host

Steve Carter

Craft & Character

Recent Episodes

Framing a Talk with Jonathan Pokluda

Jonathan Pokluda believes that good teachers are exceptional listeners. As the lead pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, TX, he’s intentional about checking the pulse of his people. Every Friday he hosts a Q&A session on Instagram Live, often with his wife and kids in the car. Of the 2,000-ish questions that pour in weekly, he tackles 50-100 of them. Inquiries come from people of all ages一boomers to Gen Z, and span all topics: sex, marriage, faith, divorce, friendship, you name it. At 3pm every Thursday, a small group of people from his church listen to his full sermon, then offer honest feedback.

The Last Supper on the Moon with Levi Lusko

What Bible verse did Buzz Aldrin take to outer space? What was the first meal eaten on the moon? What do space travel and the Christian life have in common? In this fascinating conversation, Steve Carter interviews Levi Lusko, the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, located in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah and everywhere online, about his new book, The Last Supper on the Moon, which plays off NASA’s 1969 lunar voyage to draw powerful principles about what it means to follow Jesus. Sometimes we need to hear age-old truths in a new way, which is arguably Levi’s forte. Whether curating a user-friendly digital livestream, or requiring all church employees to read a Michelin-rated restaurateur’s manual on hospitality, Fresh Life Church is leading the way in engaging our cultural moment. At the core of his sermon prep and writing is a practice Levi calls “collect and connect,” which is a relentless quest to learn, catalog stories and ideas, then use them as illustrations. He also shares how suffering has shaped him as a pastor, and how something as simple as taking a deep breath can be instrumental in cultivating character.

How We Love Matters with Albert Tate

For Albert Tate, a sermon isn’t about words streaming from your mouth, but truths running through your life. He explains how the best sermons start in the head, move to the heart, then lodge in your gut一until the Spirit grips you with conviction, you aren’t actually preaching yet. A cursory glance at Tate’s dynamic teaching reveals not only a willingness to say hard things, but to preach them to himself first. Steve Carter interviews Tate about his forthcoming book, How We Love Matters: A Call To Relentless Racial Reconciliation. With his trademark blend of creativity and conviction, Tate tackles a culturally contentious issue, building off his upbringing in Mississippi and decades of church ministry in Southern California. He views the Table as utterly transformative一a place where, like Jesus, we sit with people drastically different than ourselves. When we learn to listen well, we learn to love well.

Living Undistracted with Bob Goff

Whether in his books or live talks, Bob Goff seems to have ten lifetimes worth of stories. He has an uncanny knack for putting himself in unlikely places with unlikely people. He talks to dozens of strangers every week, because he listed his cell phone number in the back of his New York Times bestselling book, Love Does. He teaches classes at Pepperdine University and San Quentin State Prison. After the Taliban took control of major cities in Afghanistan in 2021, Bob called them to ask if they would allow women to return to a school he helped launch there. They said yes. Steve Carter talks with Bob about his forthcoming book, Undistracted一a manual for navigating life with purpose and passion. As always, Steve chops it up with Bob about how to put together a talk. They discuss how to spark action in people’s lives, rather than spoon-feeding an audience prepackaged to-do’s. The thread running through this whole conversation is Galatians 5:6, a verse that could easily serve as Bob’s mantra: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Take Your Character to New Heights

Go deeper into character transformation with a cohort of peers and professional coaches.

When you join an Ascent cohort, you’ll grow personally and professionally by engaging with like-minded peers, learning from world-class mentors, and meeting with an experienced coach who speaks into your ministry with accuracy and insight.

Learn more about upcoming cohorts by clicking below.

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