Preaching to a Divided Nation with Paul A. Hoffman

The 2022 midterm elections, like most political events in our age, will undoubtedly spark new fires of division in our country一not only in the nation at large, but sadly, within the church. Enter Paul A. Hoffman, the lead pastor of Evangelical Friends Church in Newport, Rhode Island, and co-author of a new book: Preaching To A Divided Nation: A Seven-Step Model for Promoting Reconciliation and Unity.

How Every Preacher Must Fan The Flame with Jim Cymbala

In his new book, Fan the Flame: Let Jesus Renew Your Calling and Revive Your Church, Jim Cymbala distills the Spirit-fueled, Bible-saturated ethos of his 50+ years in ministry. As Steve Carter affectionately quips, Jim is like a firehose of passion and wisdom.

The Essential Preaching Frequencies with Erwin McManus

Erwin McManus has spent decades honing his skill as a communicator, at Mosaic (the church he founded in Hollywood, CA), at conferences around the world, and in living rooms filled with a handful of friends. Wherever he goes一even in places where he doesn’t speak the native language一he’s able to communicate in a profound way.

The Preacher's Checklist with Luke Norsworthy

“I can’t do another meeting. I don’t want to preach another sermon. Lord, help me!”  Today’s episode is packed with insights from Luke Norsworthy, pastor of Westover Hills Church in Austin, Texas, and author of God Over Good and his newest book, Befriending Your Monsters. His conversation with Steve Carter meanders through all sorts of topics...

Help is Here with Max Lucado

“I can’t do another meeting. I don’t want to preach another sermon. Lord, help me!”  Two years into his pastorate, Max Lucado offered this prayer as a last-ditch effort to stay in ministry. God answered him, and now decades later, he’s written a new book that offers hope and wisdom to others feeling burned out and wiped out.

The Best of You with Dr. Alison Cook

In Christian circles, thinking about yourself is often labeled selfish. Psychologist and theologian Dr. Alison Cook pushes back on this assumption, explaining why caring for yourself is actually the best way to care for others.

Learnings from Seminary with Preaching Today’s Biblical Preaching Award Winners

This week Steve Carter chops it up with four recipients of the 2022 Preaching Today Preaching Award: Ryan Roach (Western), Abby Stuckle (George W. Truett), Rachel Koch (Denver), and Christian Schmitt (Gorden-Conwell). This award is given on the basis of faithful exposition, clarity, creativity, application, and delivery. 

The Required Humility with Steve Carter

In this special episode of Craft and Character, Steve Carter shares why humility is the key to growing as a preacher一a reflection sparked by a conversation he had with Nancy Beach. Communicators give many reasons for neglecting their own development, but as 1 Timothy 4:14-15 reveals, honing our craft is a matter of stewardship, not just excellence.

Digital Hygiene with Jay Kim

Like many of us, Jay Kim often feels that involuntary urge to reach for his phone. As the lead pastor of Westgate Church in San Jose, he knows firsthand that modern people crave guidance for using devices well.

The Heart of Preparation with Ken Shigematsu

“Ken, if the ship sinks now, everyone will blame you.” It wasn’t the ideal pep talk for a pastor in his first few days on the job, especially at a church that had gone through 20 pastors in 20 years. But when someone spoke those words to Ken Shigematsu, he stuck it out. 25 years later, he’s still leading Tenth Church in Vancouver, Canada. 

Speaking to the Soul with Jeanne Stevens

The question: “What’s here now?” means paying attention to: What am I sensing in my body? What am I feeling in my heart? What am I thinking in my mind?

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.

LILR 052 | Jay Kim on Staying Curious and Finding Opportunities

Jay Kim’s transition story is so uniquely woven that it puts God’s perfect architecture of our lives on full display. With a story that stems from a longing to lead and a deep calling to shape culture, Jay invites us into the intimate details of his transition from WestGate Church to Vintage Church, and eventually back to WestGate. He talks us through the journey that he’s still on, the right pace of change during his transition, and the opportunities and challenges he faced along the way. “I had to untangle myself enough from my own ego, ambition, and insecurity, to be able to engage the transition process in a healthy way.” His number one piece of advice to leaders in transition? Put yourself in rooms with people who love you, admire you, truly know you, and who will name and shame the stuff that will eat you alive if you allow it. Oh and get comfortable with that feeling.

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.”

LILR 051 | Eugene Cho on Clarity of Calling and Self Care

“God’s call upon our lives doesn’t change. Our context may change, but our call never does.” Meet Eugene Cho, former Senior Pastor of Quest Church and President/CEO of Bread of the World. In this episode, Eugene shares insights about God’s calling for your life, defining your life’s values, and practical ways to monitor your health as a church leader. He encourages us to embodied leadership. To show up. When we feel like we have people on every side of the aisle hijacking the message of Jesus… Eugene reminds us how to place Jesus at the center of it all.

If the Tomb Is Empty with Joby Martin

Few aspects of Joby Martin’s ministry journey have been predictable. His first sermon was an impromptu talk at a youth camp, thanks to a coach who believed in him and tossed him into the deep end. He planted a church almost without realizing it. On Mondays he prepares sermons while hunting, tucked away in the woods, or poised quietly in a tree stand. He rarely plans sermon illustrations beforehand一they just sort of come to him in the moment.

LILR 050 | The Best Of Leaders in Living Rooms

For just over two years, you’ve been invited into the living rooms of over forty leaders; getting privileged insights into their life that few others have access to. Today’s show is a podcast milestone, marking the fiftieth episode of Leaders in Living Rooms! To celebrate 50 episodes, we’ve compiled seven of the top highlights and learnings from our guests. We invite you to listen in on the “cliff notes” from topics like leading your board well with Jud Wilhite to leading on empty with Wayne Cordeiro. You will be encouraged by all seven of these leaders as they speak incredible words of wisdom over the next generation of church leaders.

Fighting Racism Through Preaching with Jemar Tisby

“We are living in times that demand a decision on justice.” In this episode, Steve Carter interviews Historian, Author, and Speaker, Jemar Tisby. Tisby walks listeners through why we have to be pushing people towards the gospel truth, his expansive understanding of what progress looks like, and why the transformation of the heart as people pursue racial justice still gives him hope. He encourages pastors not only on WHY to lead your church well through racial justice, but provides priceless and practical recommendations on HOW to bake racial justice into the core of your culture. Finally, Tisby reminds pastors that as you pursue racial justice, you don’t have to come up with it yourself. If you are ready to proclaim the good news for everyone in your preaching, you won’t be disappointed.