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Liberty News

School of Divinity launches podcast to help equip students, alumni for fulfilling the Great Commission

April 23, 2020 : By Garold Smith/Liberty University News Service

Dr. Troy Temple, dean of the Liberty University John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, believes that equipping the church for the work of the Great Commission should not be limited to a particular method or medium, so adding a regular podcast as a ministry tool fits perfectly into the school’s mission.

The new Modern Ministry Podcast releases on Wednesdays and features faculty as well as a variety of guest lecturers discussing topics with relevant, biblical themes.

“We want to help the Church. We want to engage with our alumni, our potential students, and those who serve in ministry,” said Temple. “Our goal is to share what we are doing here at the School of Divinity with a broader audience.”

He said the podcast fits in tandem with the School of Divinity’s social media content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Jack Carson, academic marketing specialist, has been producing videos on the school’s Facebook page for about two months, so creating content for the podcasts was a natural addition to the digital media platforms.

“The beauty of the podcast is that it goes hand-in-hand with everything else we do at the school,” Carson said.

Listeners can access the podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and other broadcast services (links are also available on the school’s social media accounts).

“The podcasts are a win-win because we are highlighting the expertise of our faculty and, at the same time, we are helping the church grasp ideas that are important to contemporary ministry,” Temple said.

The first podcast was released on March 2 and served as a primer for subsequent episodes.

In the following two episodes, Dr. Melody Harper, director of Liberty’s graduate and undergraduate Global Studies programs, joined Temple to discuss what Scripture says about honor and shame and how the Gospel restores honor.

Visiting guests Dr. Vince Vitale, regional director for the Americas and director of the Zacharias Institute, and his wife, Dr. Jo Vitale, dean of studies at the institute, joined Temple for another episode to discuss deconversion, the recent trend of visible Christian leaders sharing their stories of leaving the faith.

A podcast series called “The Church and COVID-19” featured discussions on conducting ministry during the coronavirus pandemic. Future episodes will cover topics such as youth and urban ministry, friendship in the church, and cultural issues such as caring for pastors’ mental health.

The podcast topics are purposeful and aimed at those who are currently or about to be engaged in modern ministry.

“There are many questions about what it looks like to be in modern ministry in the Western world, where we are experiencing rapid transitions away from traditional Christian thought,” Carson said. “As a school, we are trying to ask the question ‘What do our students and graduates need to know as they prepare to go into ministry?’”

Temple said he and Dr. Gabe Etzel, online dean, have been working to answer that question.

“We want to be a resource for our current students and alumni to let them know that the institution that trained them wants to continue to invest in them,” Temple said. “The podcasts are giving our alumni another resource for doing ministry in the modern world.”

A future podcast on apologetics will feature various School of Divinity faculty and guests, including Dr. Gary Habermas. This podcast will focus on key questions about Christianity and objections to the faith. Temple said the series supports a new initiative to further integrate apologetics into the university curriculum.

“The series is for the whole university, so our intention is that all students will be able to benefit from these podcasts.”

With COVID-19 social distancing practices, Temple believes the podcasts provide the opportunity to create a sense of community among the Body of Christ and give listeners something to share with those who may not know Christ.

“There is no question that the content we are sharing is very engaging, compassionate and grace-filled so that it can be used for anyone,” he said. “It shows the sovereignty of God in that we were already thinking about how and when to add podcasts to help fulfill our mission, and now we are in a situation where this is the delivery method that we need to rely on.”

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