A new podcast called “The Bible in a Year” has soared to the top of the Apple podcasts charts and has held the #1 slot for over two weeks, beating out the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, NBC and other top secular fare.
Amid a surging coronavirus pandemic and an unstable, chaotic political climate, it appears people are seeking refuge and information sources that can bring comfort and meaning in these confused in troubled times. At least that’s one explanation for the rapid rise of a Christian podcast to the top of the Apple podcasts charts.
Within 48 hours of its release on New Year’s Day, “The Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz featuring Jeff Cavins,” shot to the top of the Apple podcasts charts and has held the #1 slot solidly for over two weeks and counting.
This Christian podcast has notched out secular fare such as “Pod Save America,” “Office Ladies” and “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast.” It has surpassed corporate-sponsored brands, politically-chart shows, celebrity banter found on well-established media outlets such as NPR, NBC News, the Washington Post and the New York Times, the Daily Wire reports.
The podcast is as simple as its title suggests. For about twenty minutes or so daily, Father Mike reads a portion of the Bible. He sends a few minutes chatting about the passage and offering context, but the focus is on the Biblical text. Father Mike delivers a bite-size chunk of the Bible each day, making content easy to digest without consuming too much of their time.
“It eliminates that barrier of entry for people,” Fr. Mike says. “Just press ‘play’ for 20 minutes every day.”
Father Mike is currently the director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth, as well as a chaplain for the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“I was getting all wrapped up about current events,” Fr. Mike explains. “They can’t define my life.”
To remedy those feelings, he found himself turning to the New Testament an audiobook form. Then an idea struck him.Why not make his own podcast?
Father Mike, a self-described podcast fan, created his show in the way that book authors or musicians often describe how they found their style, he simply created a type of show he wanted to hear and hope others shared his taste and a similar desire. The immediate success of his podcast clearly demonstrates that his instincts were right on target.
Even more incredible, the success of his podcast didn’t involve any big money and promotion to get started. Father Mike explains that his marketing campaign amounted to a few emails and Facebook postings. To that end, Fr. Mike was caught off guard and more surprised by anyone at the success of his podcast.
“If someone were to ask me two months ago what kind of show could you create that would resonate so quickly and so across the board with so many people,” Fr. Mike recalled, “I would not have chosen getting a microphone and read the Bible.”
At a time when many are forecasting the doom of Christianity, the success of Father Mike’s show reminds us that Christian America is still thriving. And in fact, it could represent a silent majority that comes out of the woodwork from time to time.
“We want the answers to the big questions,” Fr. Mike says. “Why am I here? Where am I going?”
Of his podcast, Fr. Mike says: “This is the story of how God has interacted with his people, their brokenness.”
It appears people understand this brokenness among human beings and our world in general. They see this divide we have in our societies across the globe, and are seeking not only answers, but hope.