I went through a podcast phase about three years ago. I subscribed to anything that seemed interesting. What followed was information overload. I could not keep up, so recently I began the “great podcast purge.” The podcasts that survived fall into two categories: they are short, as in seven minutes or less; or they are the work of storytellers. Two examples of the latter stand out. One is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, which always holds my attention. I was fortunate that my podcast phase began three years ago and I stumbled on to Gladwell. Not only is Gladwell a good story writer, he’s a good storyteller. Preachers should take note of how Gladwell researches a story, focuses the story, and speaks life into it.

The other storytelling podcast that survives on my subscription list is a podcast written and produced by a friend. I asked Tracy Winchell if I could borrow some of her material because I needed help with my blog this month. Tracy has put together a unique and professional podcast titled Reboots. I think Gladwell would recognize that 10,000 hours of practice have gone into the development and creation of Reboots. Tracy is a storyteller. She is a professional journalist and media consultant. Tracy is a story-hunter as well as a storyteller. She has tracked down stories of people who have experienced life’s reboots and had to start over again in one way or another. Tracy knows how to research a story, speak life into it, and develop an interview into an interesting podcast episode.

I have tried to convince Tracy that she is a theologian, but she is reluctant to accept that. You can give her podcast a listen and see if you agree with me. Here’s some of her advice on how to manage a reboot:

Over the next few days, I’ll share – in depth – about four tools that can help us get ready for unexpected and painful changes in our lives and our businesses.

First, we must understand our relationship to God and the universe. 

The second thing that helps us navigate a successful reboot? How we see ourselves. What we say to ourselves about ourselves. 

The third thing that helps us navigate a successful reboot is a community. 

The fourth thing that helps us navigate a successful reboot? The why questions we ask of God and the universe.

Do you see what I mean? Isn’t this the same sort of stuff you read about on the CHARIS blog? Preachers and other proclaimers of the gospel should pay attention to how Tracy creates an audience for people who have a testimony. Pay attention also to how she interacts with other theologians in ways that transform the conversation into an interesting dialogue.

I am invested in at least one episode of Reboots. You can listen to the episode in which Tracy interviews me about “Recycled Grace.” I think it is some of my best work only because Tracy asked better questions that I would.

Every month when I write this blog, I’m not trying to convince you to see things my way or draft some treatise of thought that will revolutionize our movement and the church. I gave that up even before I gave up podcasts. Every month I’m trying to share stories and observations that just might help you as a church leader, a disciple of Jesus, and a wayfaring stranger. So this month, I’m sharing the work and resources from a fellow storyteller and wayfarer. Get ready for your reboots in life, ministry, and church.

Subscribe to Reboots.


Chris Benjamin is the preaching minister for the WestArk Church of Christ in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He previously served as preaching minister for the Lake Jackson Church of Christ in Lake Jackson, Texas, and campus minister for the CCSC on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. Benjamin earned his D.Min. and M.Div. from ACU and his B.A. from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, where he and his wife Karen were involved in the Razorbacks for Christ campus ministry. They have two sons, Wyatt and Ethan. When he is not restoring some portion of his 50- year-old house, Chris enjoys a good story told well—no matter if it is a novel, comic strip, movie, or comedian.

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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