Throughout the past decade downloads of religious podcasts have increased by 85%, highlighting how integral this medium is to a plethora of different faiths. Bible in a Year is an extremely commendable podcast that aims to educate listeners on all of the Bible’s stories in just 365 days. As such, Netinfluencer has conducted a comprehensive analysis of the popularity of this influential podcast.
The Creator Behind the Podcast
The Bible in a Year podcast is hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz, a Christian figurehead who is often praised for his insightful content online. On YouTube, Father Schmitz has built an immense following on his channel Ascension Presents. Every Wednesday at 3:30pm EST, Schmitz offers his 784,000 subscribers a new teaching to carry with them in their daily lives.
Alongside his work in podcasting, Schmitz is the Director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and the Chaplain for the Newman Centre at the University of Minnesota. In turn, this Catholic leader created the Bible in a Year podcast to complement his work as a Father and a religious educator.
This podcast pulls upon a unique reading plan known as The Bible Timeline, which was first created by an acclaimed Biblical scholar. This plan ensures that listeners are absorbing key pieces of information with ease and clarity, aiding them in seeing the world through the lens of Scripture.
Themes and Topics Covered
This podcast first began on January 1st, 2021, detailing the initial creation of our Earth in an episode named In the Beginning. Father Schmitz begins by reading Genesis 1-2 as well as Psalm 19, giving his listeners the much-loved story of how God used his omnipotent power to build and shape the planet we live on. Once the readings are complete, the host opens up a sense of amicable discussion, inviting listeners to find curiosity in God’s teachings. Schmitz also encouraged his audience to truly focus on how these stories impact their own lives and what they believe God has in plan for them.
Episode 182 fell on July 2nd, 2021, which also signifies the middle of the calendar year. At this point, listeners would be halfway through their Bible study resource and focusing on The Inescapable God. This episode reflects on the unfaithfulness of King Ahaz and also unpacks the significance of 2 Kings 16, Micah 1-4, and Psalm 139. This piece also shines a light on Micah himself, helping listeners to mimic his just and merciful demeanor in their own lives.
The Beginning and the End is the last episode in this deeply monumental series and allows guests to ponder the true meaning and value of everlasting life. Tapping into the lessons seen throughout Revelations 21, audiences are given the chance to learn more about God’s promises and they can live an honest life in his image. The podcast closes with a moving retelling of Revelations 21-22, Hebrew 11-13, and Proverbs 31. Due to its incredible success amongst avid Christians, the Bible in a Year podcast retells these teachings every year, meaning that new students can join at any time during their practice.
Reach of Bible in a Year Podcast
Since its arrival on the podcast market, Bible in a Year has seen an exponential level of success. It was labeled as the most downloaded podcast on Apple Podcasts for multiple weeks in January 2021 and 2022 respectively. By November 2021, it achieved the immense milestone of 142 million downloads. This led to the host opening up a billboard advertisement in Times Square to gain even more engagement.
Together with its incredible accomplishments, Bible in a Year has also been a prestigious accompaniment to many Christian community groups. A collection of Facebook groups have been founded for those who listen to the podcast on a daily basis and wish to share their insights with other Christians. Father Jim Chern’s Facebook group now has 6.2K members, expressing the podcast’s impact across many religious hubs.
Father Mike Schmitz has also managed to make a tremendous name for himself, particularly in prolific religious circles. The Bible in a Year YouTube channel has amassed 54.5K subscribers and Schmitz has earned an additional 111K followers on his personal Instagram page. These bustling platforms have also helped him to extend his reach and teachings, seen by his appearance on many talk shows and religious panels such as Word on Fire.
The Format of the Podcast
Even with such a strict schedule ahead of him, Father Schmitz still makes time to include special guests on his platform. Most notably, the podcast often welcomes the input of Jeff Cavins, a prominent American Evangelist. Cavins appears on Day 11, giving him the chance to provide his thoughts on the first 11 chapters of Genesis and they work to expose God’s devotion to mankind.
Each episode follows a similar structure, lasting for a maximum of 25 minutes and discussing around three Scriptures during this time. This gives listeners the opportunity to absorb vital information without becoming overwhelmed or fatigued.
Reception and Impact
As the world’s largest and most popular organized religion, many Christians work avidly to keep themselves informed and in line with God’s teachings. The Bible in a Year Podcast aids these individuals in their exposure to God’s work and encourages them to use the text’s word to guide them through difficult decisions.
It also seems that this podcast is most popular with US-based listeners, as 90% of its audience base is made up of this demographic. Schmtiz also recognises the influence of Spanish-speaking individuals and has even recruited Fray Segio OP to translate these stories so that they can reach a more diverse audience.
Data from 2019 informs us that only 9% of Millennial Christians claim to read the Bible on a daily basis. Yet, podcast listenership is highest for those aged between 16-24, indicating that the younger generation prefers to learn more about a religious text through a digital medium.
Following the instant success of the Bible in a Year podcast, Father Mike Schmitz has managed to create an incredibly simplistic, yet integral, Bible study resource that accommodates the ever-changing schedules of modern-day Christians. This Bible in a Year Podcast can be found on all major streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube.