SAN DIEGO, CA (December 27, 2018) — When they conceived the idea for their podcast, Jack Hawkins, pastor of Canyon Springs Church, an ECC congregation, and worship director Jonathan Schmitz figured Ten Steps Further would be 10 episodes of foundational Christian information. But a year later, the podcast is still going strong. Topics have ranged from discussions on the shooting in Las Vegas, racism, marriage relationships, to ancient wisdom.
“Ten Steps Further is designed to help anyone get 10 steps further along in their spiritual journey,” Hawkins says. “If you’ve been on your journey for 30 years or 30 minutes, if you believe in God or you’re not even sure he exists—all we are trying to do is help you get 10 steps further.”
The two leaders originally thought the podcast could assist in discipleship, especially for new believers. “We thought we’d do 10 episodes for people in our church,” says Hawkins. “We’d say, ‘Go listen to these—they tell you about how to read the Bible, pray, what worship is all about.’”
But the number of people who listened kept growing, and they were receiving positive feedback about the difference the episodes are making in people’s lives. Hawkins says the podcasts average 500 downloads per episode. “One person tells me she will download them and then binge listen.”
He said he is surprised that they have at least seven listeners in Pakistan. “It’s amazing the reach you can have with a podcast.”
Every few months, Hawkins and Schmitz meet with other staff members to discuss roughly 20 possible topics, and they help whittle down the list. Hawkins, who planted Canyon Springs 20 years ago, has saved every sermon he has preached, each on 12 single-spaced pages, so they have been a bountiful resource for considering topics and mining for quotes and illustrations.
They usually record each episode several weeks in advance of airing, but events can cause a change of plans. Before their first episode aired, a gunman killed 58 people and shot more than 400 others in Las Vegas. So Hawkins and Schmitz adapted their plan and titled the episode “Reconciling a Loving God with a Shooting in Las Vegas,” which aired two days later.