“I love listening to podcasts because my life is all about multitasking. And when something really strikes me or I need to hear it several times to understand, I can go back and listen again and again.” —Tasha
Focus on the Family entered the podcasting arena in 2006 with “The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast.” Today, the ministry is reaching listeners through a variety of on-demand shows. So if you’re like Tasha and podcasts are your thing, here are programs to help everyone in your household thrive in Christ.
‘ReFOCUS with Jim Daly’
In an effort to better engage with people who hold differing worldviews, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly strives to truly dialogue with them, listening as well as speaking. Sometimes, those types of conversations don’t fit the format of the ministry’s daily broadcast. A podcast, however, can be a better forum for give-and-take interchanges. That’s why Jim was eager to launch a specialized weekly show, “ReFOCUS with Jim Daly,” this past April.
“We’ve witnessed a cultural mudslide, taking us further and further away from God’s truth,” Jim says. “But while society seems to be increasingly marked by division, anger and skepticism, I believe God’s light can shine even brighter in this moment, if we’ll take His message of hope to others with a spirit of joy.”
With the podcast, Jim takes the strategic approach of interviewing podcast guests across a wide societal spectrum. One show might feature a noted Christian apologist; the next might include an activist whose beliefs contrast sharply with Jim’s.
“The podcast provides an opportunity for in-depth conversations without time limitations as I delve into topics that I can’t cover often enough on our daily broadcast,” he says. “In the process, I hope listeners will be better equipped in their faith to engage a broken culture and love others, reflecting God’s heart no matter what their beliefs or politics are.”
Episodes of “ReFOCUS” are generally around an hour long and typically include an “Inbox” segment where Jim answers questions sent in by listeners.
‘Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage’
Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley speak at Focus Marriage events around the country. Now, they are bringing their insights on-air as they host “Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage.”
“It’s a show where we can talk about marriage and what comes with it,” Greg says. “You get a seat at our table as we talk with guests and share what we’re learning in our own marriage.” (A hallmark of Greg and Erin’s appeal is their transparency in humorously sharing “blooper” moments from their own 30-years-and-counting marriage—and then illustrating the key biblical lessons they continue to learn.)
“Whether you’ve been married five months or 50 years, every couple can learn something new in their marriage,” Greg says. “Every season brings new experiences, or maybe hardships that you and your spouse need to work through together. Our goal with this podcast is to talk about the real stuff we all go through as couples.”
‘The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast’
The enthusiastic fanbase behind Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family’s long-running audio drama, craves inside information about the show. They get it courtesy of “The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast.”
“The podcast gives listeners a behind-the-scenes look at all things Odyssey,” explains co-host Bob Smithouser. “We get to know the voice actors, learn how episodes are written and produced, and even answer fans’ questions about the show.”
The podcast audience spans a broad age range, including older fans who love hearing details that aren’t available anywhere else.
“A generation that grew up with Adventures in Odyssey audio dramas is now sharing these adventures with their own children,” Bob says. “It’s really fun to pull back the curtain and invite them all into a deeper relationship through the podcast.”
‘The Plugged In Show’
Listeners who tune in to “The Plugged In Show” can expect to hear reviews of the latest movies, TV shows and video games. There are also interviews and philosophical conversations about the larger issues related to media and technology.
“We want to equip parents to engage wisely and winsomely as they disciple their kids,” says Plugged In Director Adam Holz. “We want to give families the confidence to navigate the crazy world of entertainment and technology we live in today.”
‘The Boundless Show’
Launched in 2008, “The Boundless Show” offers advice to help young adults navigate life. Lisa Anderson has hosted it since its inception.
“We tackle a number of different subject areas,” Lisa says. “Career, finances, faith, service, dating, marriage prep, mental health and cultural trends that impact our listeners.”
“The Boundless Show” is generally divided into three segments. The Roundtable segment features a group of young adult peers discussing a timely topic. An author, theologian, entertainment artist or other notable individual is interviewed in the Culture segment. Finally, the Inbox segment presents a listener question that’s answered by a pastor, licensed Christian counselor or subject expert.
‘The Official Average Boy Podcast’
For the past two decades, Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine—for readers ages 8 to 12—has featured “The Adventures of Average Boy,” a column written by comedian Bob Smiley that’s loosely based on his own experiences and those of his sons. Given Bob’s background in standup comedy, a podcast was a natural fit. “The Official Average Boy Podcast” launched in 2019 with Clubhouse Editor Jesse Florea as co-host.
“It’s sweet, it’s fun, it’s short,” says Jesse. “Families listen together for 10 to 12 minutes on the ride to church or school.”
Listeners expect the funny stories and jokes, but there’s always a strong spiritual takeaway. The podcast is also part of an integrated outreach to promote family devotions.
“We created a free downloadable family night devotion guide based on the first 52 episodes,” Jesse explains. “You download the guide from our website, listen to the podcast episode together, and use the discussion questions as a family.”