38 What are practical resources for faith formation?


Clearview CRC in Oakville, Ont., wanted to find a new and compelling way to foster discipleship in their congregation. They came up with the idea of creating a podcast to extend and expand faith formation conversations beyond church gatherings and the building. The goal was to provide resources that would help their congregation follow Jesus and easily pass along to others.

The Benefits of Podcasting for Discipleship

While in-person relationships are crucial for discipleship, Clearview CRC recognized that relying solely on in-person contexts for discipleship was creating barriers for some members of their community. They found that fewer people were able or willing to spend additional time to come to the church for learning. Podcasts, on the other hand, are easily accessible resources that can be integrated into people’s everyday lives. Whether it’s during their commute, while doing chores, or even while cooking dinner, podcasts allow for flexible and convenient learning.

Bringing the Podcast Idea to Reality

After presenting the idea to his staff, Rev. Phil Reinders and his team worked together to bring the podcast idea to reality. They researched other podcasts, selected topics, decided on the best format, and tried out different podcasting tools. They also took the time to talk to members of the congregation to understand their interests and faith questions. Through these conversations, they discovered that many people wrestle with how to live out their faith in a complex world.

The Faith Matters Podcast

Nine months after the initial idea was discussed, Clearview CRC launched the Faith Matters podcast. Each 30-minute episode begins with an explanation of the podcast’s goal, which is to strengthen and equip followers of Jesus through practical and theological discussions and resources about important matters of faith in our complicated and complex world. The episodes feature interviews with guests who discuss specific topics related to faith and discipleship.

Examples of Podcast Topics

The first two episodes of Faith Matters featured guests from CRCNA ministries. In one episode, Rev. Lesli van Milligen and host Elaine Van Laare discussed the topic of lament. They explored the importance of creating space for people to express doubts, fears, and griefs, and the role of the church community in supporting one another in these moments. In another episode, Bryan Haley and Phil Reinders delved into how the digital era impacts the way we do church today. They discussed the changes brought about by social media, cell phone technology, and the internet, and how these changes can be utilized for connecting with people and outreach.

Other episodes of the podcast have expanded on sermon series preached on Genesis, as well as explored topics such as mental health and anxiety. The goal is to provide content that connects to the church’s Sunday conversations and preaching, seasonal needs, and practical concerns. Clearview CRC also hopes to incorporate faith stories from within their church into future episodes.

Positive Feedback and Lessons Learned

Clearview CRC has received positive feedback from those who have listened to the podcast. They have found the process of creating the podcast to be interesting and encouraging. Rev. Lesli van Milligen, who interacts with churches across Canada, believes that Clearview CRC’s podcast is an example that other congregations can learn from. She emphasizes the importance of thinking creatively and trying new things to support congregational renewal.

Considerations for Starting a Podcast

For congregations considering adding a podcast to their discipleship programs, the staff at Clearview CRC offer some suggestions. They recommend giving it a try and listening to the interview with Bryan Haley for ideas on how to incorporate digital tools into church ministry. They also stress the importance of planning ahead, having a clear idea of the podcast’s purpose and target audience, and being realistic about the time and energy required. While the technology may seem intimidating, it is surprisingly attainable, and editing should not be underestimated.


Clearview CRC’s Faith Matters podcast has provided a new and compelling way to foster discipleship in their congregation. By extending faith formation conversations beyond church gatherings and the building, they have been able to reach more people and provide easily accessible resources for following Jesus. Through their podcast, they aim to strengthen and equip their followers of Jesus through practical and theological discussions about important matters of faith in a complex world.