The parish of Fairfield with Bossley Park has ventured into the realm of audio resources, with a podcast that accompanies the church’s 2021 vision: to build a resilient faith among its members and beyond.
Each episode of Resilient Faith will create conversations that aim to get listeners thinking about how to strengthen their relationships with God. In the first episode, rector the Rev Stephen Shead and one of the assistant ministers, the Rev Vincent Chan, discuss personal quiet times.
It’s not only encouraging for congregation members but a helpful listen for all Christians as we strive daily to grow in faith. Here are three reasons why you should give it a listen.
Strengthen your spiritual disciplines
We all need encouragement to stand firm during difficulties and dry periods. As Philippians 3:12 exhorts Christians to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”, we need to keep working on spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading and prayer throughout our lives to avoid becoming stagnant in our faith.
Mr Shead’s input is particularly helpful in thinking about this important area, having researched and written about quiet times for his book Growing in Prayer: Learning to pray with dependence and delight, which was released in May 2019.
The podcast dives into questions such as what “quiet time” means, what content it should contain, how to respond when the word feels dry, and how to approach Bible reading with children. Rather than coming off as a guilt trip, the hosts openly share their own struggles to maintain regular Bible times, and remind listeners that devotions can look different for everyone.
Explore audio quiet times
In the Western evangelical tradition, we tend to assume a quiet time refers only to reading a physical Bible. While not denying that this format has many merits, Resilient Faith points to the growing recognition that it is not the only helpful method of spending time with God.
Mr Shead outlines how the common understanding of a quiet time evolved from evangelistic university movements, where students were frequently strong in reading ability and understanding. Yet the Bible does not give us a prescriptive mandate on how to do our devotions.
The recent rise in Christian podcasting has indicated an increasing acknowledgement of the diverse ways in which people can learn.
Surrounded by a multicultural community from many backgrounds, Fairfield with Bossley Park proclaims it is a “church for all nations”. Releasing daily devotions and listening resources such as podcasts is one practical way the church is living out this mission statement.
Consider helpful Christian podcasting practices
There are plenty of Christian podcasts to choose from these days, but that doesn’t always result in high quality. Resilient Faith is a good example of how to thoughtfully use the audio platform to enrich the faith of listeners. Mr Chan and Mr Shead discuss common problems, use Scriptures to back up their assertions, and share their challenges honestly.
It also stands out when the hosts close the episode by praying that listeners will encourage each other to grow closer to God and learn the discipline of delighting in him. Under God, listening to this podcast may help to achieve that aim.
The first episode of Resilient Faith is on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.