Two episodes in is too early to judge a podcast. But occasionally, a show appears that promises something so important, it needs coverage.
The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is one of them.
A Christianity Today original podcast, the show is hosted by Mike Cosper, Director of Podcasting. Cosper investigates how a large and apparently thriving ministry like Mars Hill—a 12,000-person, multi-site church in Seattle—could collapse overnight, just as it did in 2014.
Production values are as expected from an organization the size of Christianity Today. The use of music under narrative and dramatic pauses are reminiscent of Serial and gives the listener the feeling of something big approaching.
Two groups of people will love this podcast: First, the deconstruction crowd tired of and antagonistic toward formal Evangelical religion. Their bias against megachurch pastors and ministries will be confirmed.
Second, Christians who long for transparency from their leaders will appreciate the questions Cosper poses. He asks the difficult questions about a megachurch celebrity pastor, but also asks why it happened in the first place. The spotlight turns around to the listener and demands reflection as well.
Cosper is aware that some Christians would prefer not to be too transparent and embarrass the church. His willingness to go deep on the most difficult questions is a worthy act of journalistic bravery that deserves a listen.