AlongTheWay

Finding Your Way Halfway There - Eric Nevins’ Journey AlongTheWay 34

November 25, 2019 John Matarazzo / Eric Nevins Season 1 Episode 34
AlongTheWay
Finding Your Way Halfway There - Eric Nevins’ Journey AlongTheWay 34
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AlongTheWay
Finding Your Way Halfway There - Eric Nevins’ Journey AlongTheWay 34
Nov 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 34
John Matarazzo / Eric Nevins

Eric Nevins started the path to pastoral ministry but halfway there he discovered that his call was to nontraditional ministry. He started the “Halfway There” podcast and founded and curates the Christian Podcasters Association.


His AlongTheWay moments include 

  • Starting On the Pastoral Path
  • Unconventional Ministry
  • A call to Podcasting 
  • Halfway There
  • Christian Podcasters Association

Eric Nevins’ Info

http://halfwaytherepodcast.com/

https://ericnevins.com/
Christian Podcasters Association
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristianPodcastersAssociation/

AlongTheWay Links

Join My Email List

[email protected]

More episodes and Social links for AlongTheWay

Watch episodes of My TV show RealLife

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AlongTheWay)

Show Notes Transcript

Eric Nevins started the path to pastoral ministry but halfway there he discovered that his call was to nontraditional ministry. He started the “Halfway There” podcast and founded and curates the Christian Podcasters Association.


His AlongTheWay moments include 

  • Starting On the Pastoral Path
  • Unconventional Ministry
  • A call to Podcasting 
  • Halfway There
  • Christian Podcasters Association

Eric Nevins’ Info

http://halfwaytherepodcast.com/

https://ericnevins.com/
Christian Podcasters Association
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristianPodcastersAssociation/

AlongTheWay Links

Join My Email List

[email protected]

More episodes and Social links for AlongTheWay

Watch episodes of My TV show RealLife

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AlongTheWay)

Eric Nevins :

years my contention for a long time, I thought that maybe I would teach people to podcast or teach. So I would try it, my content would always be that, like, here's what you should do. And then I realized there's a lot of people who do that. There's a lot of people who will tell you what to do, how to start a podcast for free. There's not really any money in that really value because it's out there. The value is in connecting.

John Matarazzo :

Welcome to along the way. I'm John Matarazzo, your host and fellow traveler. Thank you for joining me along my way as I try to become more like Jesus every day. I love talking with fascinating people and learning how God has met them along their way. In this along the way conversation, I am joined by the host of the halfway there podcast and the founder of the Christian podcasters. Association. Eric Nevins. As you just heard Eric say in the teaser clip, the value is in connecting people. I truly believe that there is great value in connecting yourself with other people. And there is a huge value in helping other people make connections. as well. God has designed humanity for community, first community with him, but also community with others. cultivating relationships for a kingdom purpose is one of my favorite things to do. That's why when the opportunity to do a podcast episode with Eric came up, I jumped at the opportunity. The Christian podcasters association that he curates has been a blessing to me and I pray that our conversation adds value to you as well. If you find joy, helping others make connections, you are really going to enjoy this episode. I'll get to that in just a moment. But I want to make sure that as always, you know that you can hear all of my episodes, even the ones that you might have missed by visiting my website along the way dot media, or by simply subscribing to along the way in your favorite podcast app. You can also find along the way on Facebook and Instagram, and I have an email list that you can join if you'd like to be informed about upcoming episodes and other special announcements. The link will be in my show notes to reach me electronically. You can Email me at john along the way at gmail. com. I look forward to hearing from you. And now here's my along the way conversation with Eric. Eric Nevins, thank you for joining me along the way, actually allowing me to join you along your way. It's a pleasure to actually get a chance to talk to you face to face, even though we're talking through zoom. But we've been talking online for the past couple months, because you started a podcasting group on Facebook, that I've grown to love. And I've learned a lot through the interactions that I've had there. And it's the Christian podcasters Association. It's been a privilege to be accepted into that group, and to be able to hopefully give insight to some others as well. But I've received so much from your input, and you posted that you were wanting to get on other people's podcasts. And so I was like, Hey, here's somebody that has already had an impact in my life, whether he knows it or not. And so you've been affecting me along the way and so I want to hear your story. So Eric, would you mind just kind of telling me a little bit about your background and who you are and your journey with the Lord.

Eric Nevins :

Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you for having me. I appreciate you. Just welcoming me to your show. It's fun to be here and share a little bit with you and your audience. Yeah, Christian podcast Association. I hear that from so many people, they really enjoy the group and that it just sort of blows me away after, you know, I just started out with I guess I could tell you more about that story you want but my backgrounds. You know, I grew up a church kid. We were at church all the time. Whenever the doors were open, you know, my parents was volunteer. We were there. Eventually. I wanted to learn had this question when I was in high school. That was how do you grow in Christ? You know, I just needed to figure that out. And so that kind of led me to wanting to be a pastor. Funny enough, I never ended up doing that. But I've got all the education. So I got a I got a degree in biblical studies and then I ended up going to seminary and getting a masters of divinity with an emphasis in spiritual formation or spiritual Christian formation. And that's kind of where I figured out actually how this how this works. And eventually that led me to podcasting. There's obviously a little more involved. But once I kind of had this idea, and I understood what podcasting could do, so it was a great medium to just share the entire Christian journey with people instead of it was always my life was terrible that I met Jesus. And now my life is great, right? Right. But there's a lot more to the journey. My show, likes, likes to do that. What's the

John Matarazzo :

theme of your show? It's called halfway there. Where did you get the name and how does that apply to your life?

Eric Nevins :

Yeah. So halfway, there is kind of two things. It's one just me saying. We're all on a journey. And we're always going to be on that journey. And never exhaust the knowledge of an infinite God, which I think is an interesting thoughts to think that hey, you know, even an eternity we're going to still be learning about who God is. We're just always on the journey. So that was my way of saying that the whole, the whole journey is important. But it's also just a little hat tip to Bon Jovi because nobody ever forgets. Living on a prayer. Yeah, absolutely. I tell people about it. And then they make that connection. And now I've got a hook in their mind. That's right. Absolutely.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah. Taking taking advantage of something that's out there and culture and using it for the kingdom of God. That's great. I love it. Yeah. So you said that you were in your journey. You went through seminary, and you started this podcast as a result of things that happened. So there's a lot of steps in that process. It's not just Oh, yeah, I went to school. I have all this knowledge now. I don't have an audience. So I'm going to create an audience you know, that doesn't just happen. There's there's some steps along the way. Can you take me along some of that journey?

Eric Nevins :

Oh, yeah. So yeah, after I got out of school, I started looking for past pastor jobs, but I graduated right at the middle of the downturn. So like, 2009 There was so the kind of jobs I want to do I just not a great preacher didn't really want to do that. So I like a lead role wasn't really great for me. I wouldn't mind I wouldn't mind doing an associate role somewhere with where I could use a spiritual formation kind of stuff, but I just never really found anything. And there were probably a lot of reasons for that. I had some growing up to do. I was still pretty young. He had young kids. And so anyway, we ended up staying here in Denver. And I was working in a financial firm, and I was honest, I was kind of angry about it. I was really yeah. I wasn't happy about that. That was not where I wanted to be. was working in the financial world, which I don't enjoy. It was not fun of getting yelled at all day or the hundred phone calls a day. It was it was really miserable. By the time I left there, I was bouncing people's checks and blocking their visa cards basically ruining people's day for a living. That's what I did. Oh, man. I used to say I was a bouncer. That was my claim to fame. Yeah. Okay. But so through that, a couple things happen. I'll tell you two stories. One is I started the blog and kind of discovered this world's online business. Right as I was getting a seminary, I started this blog called rev Nev. Because I thought I was gonna be a pastor. Right? So I thought that was a clever, people would call me that revenue. And it was all about Christians and politics because I was spent all day when I was on the phones, reading political blogs and articles and things like that. I thought that was really important. And then I learned that publishers would send you copies of books. Were review, right, right, right, I got book by again is called a free people suicide. And in that he talks about how character is important how in our society, our whole thing is based on the idea that somebody would limit themselves to what it says on a piece of paper we call the Constitution, right or a law and then or other people to come along and hold them to that. And so there's this whole symbiosis, That all depends on character. That whole shift started a pattern of thinking for me that made me go, how do you change character because I was not doing very good job doing that by telling people what to Either in preaching or on my blog, I tried a couple of other things. And I just it didn't resonate with me. So it wasn't gonna resonate with an audience, right. I was trying to trying to find that. And so I discovered that stories are the way that people change character has always been done for thousands of years, right? We have things called fairy tales, we have things called brim stables, right, right. So they're there for a reason, because they tell you something about what it means to have good character that led me eventually, when I found podcasting to go, how could I take what I know about spiritual formation, and put it into a podcast? That's why I get people to tell me their stories. And we have people from all kinds of theological backgrounds. I don't even care what your theology is necessarily there. There are a few places I won't go but Right, right. For the most part, that's not what we're doing. I'm trying to do honest conversations with ordinary Christians about today's Christian experience. That's what I want.

John Matarazzo :

That's cool. So tell me about your first episode.

Eric Nevins :

Oh, Yeah, my first episode was with a woman named Carolyn Schmidt. She is basically the church mentor at my church forever. She mentors a ton of people. And she just sort of oozes Jesus like she just is an embodiment of Jesus. Funny enough, we I bought this little digital recorder I was showing you earlier, Christmas 2014 and set up a bunch of interviews. met with her in this tiny little room. I hit the recorder. We have 45 minute conversation and then I realized it was still flashing because I didn't know how to work my record.

Unknown Speaker :

Oh, no.

Eric Nevins :

Yeah. She was like, Oh, that's okay. It's fine. Okay, so we took a little break and then we went to a different room which is good because that room that we were in was too small it was gonna be really echo that that happened. And we ended up doing it much tighter, much better conversation trying to do it the second time and it was so good. She has been through so much. And it really set the bar I think for me, she this woman she like I said she's amazing. But she's in her 70s. She has been through all the stages of the journey, right? And I didn't realize this at the time. But she's really in that life of love, where she's just loving other people and caring for them, being Christ to them, teaching them how to do that as well. Right. And that's the that was the perfect person to start with on my, on my show. It was really great.

John Matarazzo :

That's really cool. I love the story of the journey. And there's a lot of things that we have in common and just listening to other people's stories has changed my life dramatically. Some of the most interesting things that I've had the opportunity to talk with people about weren't necessarily what I was expecting, but it's the things that God has brought them through along their journey, and how they've managed to go through those things. The theme for this podcast is the mass road conversation and how the disciples were walking with Jesus for at least two hours before they sit down at the table and Jesus blesses the food and breaks the bread and then poof, he's gone. They turned to each other and Luke 24 32 and they say, we're in our hearts burning within us along the way as he was revealing the scriptures to us. So, you know, Jesus is walking with us, Eric, all throughout our lives, but sometimes we just don't realize it. You were just talking about having this desire to go into ministry and thinking that you're going to be a pastor of a church somewhere, whether it be an associate or but now you're pestering people all over the world through a microphone and through podcasting. What are some of the hurdles that you've had to deal with realizing that that's the path that God actually has you on?

Eric Nevins :

Oh, man, so many. One of the one really interesting thing so we moved to Denver in 2004, to go to school to finish up my master divinity. But somewhere before that, I had taken about a three year break and ended up being three years in two kids. So I did my undergrad at trinet. Sounds

John Matarazzo :

like a lot more than this three years.

Eric Nevins :

It was a lot right. It was I had gone got my Bible degree started seminary at Trinity evangelical Divinity School, which is a great school. I mean, it's such a, it's, if you can hack it there you can, you will get a really good education. But I really, I just we had a lot of things going on at the time that I look back now. And I go course you were in a dark night of the soul because life was falling apart in various ways. And it was very difficult. during that season, I wrote in my journal, I think maybe the Lord has an unconventional ministry. For me. This is like 2002. And then I proceeded to spend the next 15 years trying to have a conventional ministry. Which I look at, and I go, Wow, that was why did I do that? I think partly because I just didn't know any, like, didn't know any better. I didn't know that there were other ways to do it. Which might be why the Lord eventually led me to online business and I guess, because I think he had something different in mind. Ultimately, and I think, you know, Me too. I don't really take direction very well. So that's it says not a great fit for me probably. That's one that I have had to overcome. Just being okay with being being me and being in a job or in a ministry that definitely I can see fruit but it's not the kind that gets a lot of accolades from a church, you know? Sure,

John Matarazzo :

yeah. You just mentioned that you heard God say to you that you aren't going to have a traditional ministry. Obviously hearing God is something that that you have some practice in. Do you remember the first thing that you remember God speaking to you? Interestingly,

Eric Nevins :

kinda, I mean, it's been so I've had an interesting relationship with that for a long time. As a kid, I would pray a lot, especially going going to bed at night. Really the first time I remember the Lord actually speaking to me was way later than that. When I was in seminary. I preached on James for which is kind of a terrible passage to have to do your first sermon on it's not really fair. I don't know why they did that to me. This is kind of hard because Jesus so disjointed, right? There's a lot going on there. It's hard to grab a theme is is a little bit tough. I did terrible. My first sermon, it was so bad I could do the exit Jesus because I've done that in college. And so doing that part in the Greek class was fine. But then what can you do in the sermon at such a hard time and it was really awkward and my dad was there because they said you could bring somebody and so I said, all right here dad when I tried it, I was so deeply embarrassed. And absolutely, I thought I What am I gonna do if I can't preach, right? So I was, I woke up in the middle of night, I went into the, to the bathroom, I was physically being sick. I was just so so overcome with emotion and anxiety about this. And I was praying and I said, God, what am I going to do if I can't do this? Right? And he said, Well, you weren't very good at taking phone calls at first either. I remember him saying that. It was this voice outside of my head. Yeah, it was in my head, right. And it made me laugh. Because at the time, I would take 100 phone calls in a day. But when I first started, you know, I couldn't do that, right? And it was his way of saying, hey, you just just keep going, just keep, keep practicing. And it cracked me up. Because who expects God to say something like that?

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, yeah, you want or sometimes you think that God is going to speak in the bus if the Lord or he's going to speak in King James, but he doesn't he speaks in a way that we can understand because he's a friend that's closer than a brother. And he speaks in a language that we can understand.

Eric Nevins :

Which is that really cool. And that was the first time that I that I really remember going definitively. That was the Lord. There's no the way that was.

John Matarazzo :

So how did that change you?

Eric Nevins :

Well, at least it broke my attention because I was having a lot of anxiety around moments. And it definitely made me sort of aware that God does that kind of thing, although I didn't really believe that until the last couple of years necessarily, was still a little bit skeptical when I graduated seminary and needed a new Bible because it kind of worn mine out. So I went to a bardell I was getting something, and a guy came up to me and he said, I'm just looking at these books on the clearance rack. Hey, God has some big plans for you. And I feel like you just told me to tell you that and I was like, Okay, thanks. What do I? I didn't know I didn't have a category for it. But it was starting to get was starting to say no, I've got something a little bit more for you got a relationship with you that I'd like to have. And I'm

John Matarazzo :

still kind of journey into that right now. What are some of the things that have helped you the most on your journey?

Eric Nevins :

For me? It was learning some new practices, okay, I'm definitely I absolutely never speak negatively of Bible study, or what I would call normal evangelical ways of praying. But it was really helpful to me to learn a process called lectio Divina, have you done any like do

John Matarazzo :

I might have, but maybe not in that term.

Eric Nevins :

It may go by different words. That's that's a Latin word, but it's, I learned it from Jesuits. So I'm there. There's a little place here called Sacred Heart, New York. It's a retreat house and it's silent. And it's beautiful. Because you can show up, nobody will talk to you. So I guess that's

John Matarazzo :

it's an introverts Haven, right?

Eric Nevins :

It's so it's amazing. And I'm, I'm kind of on the extrovert, more on the extrovert side than the introvert side. But going there and having nobody require anything of you, you just show up for dinner, your breakfast or whatever. And you don't have to give no responsibilities at all. You can just be for a little while real get out. But right after school, I did the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, okay with one of them and kind of learn how to do imagine to prayer and lexia, where you go through and you read the text, then you reflect on the text, you remain with it. So you just sit with it, and then you respond. And then you can return as well. So there's kind of a five step process. But learning how to do that with a passage and doing the same passage over and over and over again, has really changed how I read the Bible and how I read particularly Jesus. So all of last year for instance, I was in the book of Mark this year. Read Jeremiah until I got depressed. And then I said to john, okay. Yeah, right. I switched to jobs like, this is terrible. There was some good stuff in there. But oh, yeah, the john was like, okay now and I'm kind of stuck in john 13, where Jesus washed his disciples feet. Wow, there's just so much to meditate on there. And so come and use that process to come back over and over again, is really valuable.

John Matarazzo :

That sounds like something that really helps you not miss when Jesus is walking with you. Yeah, you know, it becomes more and more aware of where he is along that process. So you mentioned about going away from one of these retreats. That sounds awesome. I'm sure those cell phones are allowed or anything like that. You have to check those at the door, which is so hard to do in this world. Oh, yeah. So I want to I really want to talk more about that. Cuz I think that's just that's just fascinating, and really how you take what you learned in that retreat and how you block out that time in your daily life. How did you make that a personal thing that you do Continuing from that retreat?

Eric Nevins :

Well, for a long time, I really just didn't have the space for it. In the last year and a half, Jesus and I do this thing called coffee. I'll make a cup of coffee in the morning after the kids are gone, and my wife goes to work. It gets real quiet around here. It's just me and the dog. And so I'll make a cup of coffee at this one chair, I'll sit down, have my Bible that I've had since I was 16, sitting on the table there and I'll pick it up. And I'll read, I try to do that. And I probably do it maybe three days a week, you know, since I work from home now, that actually gave me a lot more space to do those kinds of things. It can be a lot more challenging when you have to get up and be at work. Right?

John Matarazzo :

That's, that's really cool that you're able to spend that time and have that contemplate of prayer and response. How long does that normally take

Eric Nevins :

anywhere from 10 minutes to you know, sometimes it can be half an hour, just depends on where I am and what I'm doing. Sometimes I'll try to do a little listening and just bring things to him and see What he's saying, and I'll ask him questions, and sometimes you'll say something and sometimes you won't.

John Matarazzo :

You said, You grew up in a Christian home, you kind of knew about the Lord your whole life, when did your relationship with the Lord become your own?

Eric Nevins :

So I look at in terms of stages, so I think, for sure in becoming my own, I was I always wanted to be close to the Lord. I don't really remember any times like that. It's pretty earnest in high school, which you think is one of the reasons you know, we went to a small church. So if you have any kind of enthusiasm, you're called, right, exactly. That was just how it was. And so I thought, well, I want to do something meaningful, and I want to go be a pastor. But even during that time, I mean, I would study and I remember, before we went to college, my wife and I got married. We were 20. We were children. I have a daughter who's 17. Now that's the age we were when we met and I don't I just look at that. And I go, Wow, what we're by anybody, let us do that. You know, I remember praying and asking the rule, should we get married or should we wait or what you know, like so. I always kind of have that relationship, but I didn't always know You know, you're young. Right? I need some grounding. I think really, for me, I would say like the last five years is when it has really started to get not just my own, but more like, personal. Yeah, more where my processes surrendering myself and asking God Who am I who have you made me to be? And then as He leads me to things like podcasting or into, like starting a group and realizing that I really love to curate not teach, that's a different kind of skill set, right? Yes, yes. Because I spent a long time I was trying to be the teacher, because those are the people that really get the attention and they get the jobs, right. Not my gift. And so accepting that accepting myself is kind of tantamount to accepting the Lord and deepening my relationship with him. So it's kind of a roundabout way. I think there's been lots of stages throughout my life. Yeah, that's where I am now. That's cool.

John Matarazzo :

It's interesting to always hear about somebody's personal walk with the Lord because I think so many people, especially in the United States, it's easy to just Check the box that you're a Christian, or check the box that you I mean, what does it mean to be a Christian? For a lot of people, that means maybe going to church on Christmas and Easter, maybe a couple other times a year. But I grew up in a Christian family. And so it wasn't until I was 15, that I, even though I prayed the prayer when I was four, when I was 15, is when I really made it my own decision that I was going to live for the Lord, on my own accord, not on somebody else's. So it's always fascinating to me to hear somebody else's journey in that. So thank you for for sharing it. Yeah, but yeah, so you went to seminary and you're working this other job, you are frustrated with answering these phone calls all the time, and you're doing this political thing. And how did God lead you into saying, okay, you went from one conversation in a podcast, and now you've got about 160

Eric Nevins :

I think next week is 160 565.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, so you've been doing this for a while now?

Eric Nevins :

Yeah. Three and a half years. I cannot believe that.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, that's, that's Remarkable and I'm just new in my journey. So thank you for kind of pioneering some things. Yeah. So how have you changed because of the podcasting?

Eric Nevins :

Oh, wow, that is such a great question. So like everything, I've changed everything. So I think one is certainly confidence. I remember when I launched my show had 13 interviews at launch with three interviews like they tell you to, and then had 10 weeks worth of content. I remember going okay, if I die, at least I've done something. Yeah, it literally that thought because I felt just like I hadn't done anything. And so I was so annoyed. And I just thought, Okay, this at least if for nothing else, these conversations will encourage some people if I put them out there, and now you know, 165 episodes later and I've got I've got content in the can that'll take me into January for sure. And then I've got enough episodes scheduled or recording scheduled that I can go till probably March that's also which is crazy. I never would have thought you know, when I was early, I remember having to make the choice. I need to reach out and ask some people, right see how this goes even though it was kind of scary. I'm not afraid to do that anymore. I never liked networking at a bank. But I love networking for podcasts. And it is so much fun. It is the best. And I also think my view of church has changed significantly. Hmm. Obviously, you know, trying to be a pastor wanting to be a pastor, you think about church in certain ways. But I have come to see that everyone has some value to bring. And you hear Paul talk about that, right? Like, when you come together and make sure everybody has a everybody brings something right. And so I've gotten much more interested in that than I am in a worship service. We still go to church. I know a lot of people who don't anymore, most of them online, but some people here in my circles. I'm not quite ready to go there. But I have figured out that there's an implicit assumption about what we need to grow in the church, the way that it's usually structured. So typically The assumption is you need knowledge. And you need some sort of emotional experience. I think they're both valuable. They both have their place. But if the goal there then becomes how much you know, and how much you do, right, that's equal spiritual maturity. And so then people who have been to seminary and can get up and give a decent speech, get all of the acclaim, right, they get all the attention all the time in the body. Whereas I think the goal really is of spiritual maturity is love, how you love like Jesus and how you love others. So if that's the case, then some things need to probably change because we're not taking people through journey. We're just giving them 45 minutes of information. Guide yutani. He's on the holy post podcast. He wrote this great article about how in the information age, a church service that's based around dispensing information is probably antiquated and no longer necessary. People can get sermons from all over the world in podcast Right, from breachers, you're probably better than you. That's going to change I think. And I've actually embraced that. I think it's totally true information is cheap. experiences are expensive now, in the information age, we're gonna have to change. That's a thing. That's my little diatribe. But that's my thing that I've learned through podcasts are one of them anyway.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, I know what you were just talking about, though, I think probably my pastor has, has either heard that, or he's in the same vein, same thought with that, because he recently just said, you can listen to better preachers than me. You can listen to better worship than what we have here. But being together is the experience with each other and with the Lord, that we can't replicate online. We can't replicate through technology. And so he was just kind of stressing the importance of that and saying, Hey, we're not going to just be focused on you know, flashing lights and fog machines. And yeah, we want to have a real experience with the Lord. And I think that's kind of where God wants to take people back to it's that experience with him. It's that encounter. with him, that is going to really change us. Absolutely.

Eric Nevins :

I totally agree. I think that's so important. The gifting thing is really important to me. I think people have to think we have to give more people more opportunity to use their gifts when we come together, not that way. And most churches right now, and I just don't think it's

John Matarazzo :

one of the things that I like to talk about, you know, with this whole walking the path along the way thing is, you know, oftentimes when you're walking along the path, you run into some detours. I know you and I were both trying to figure out exactly where the where the journey is actually going to. Because it God is continually laying it out step by step. But what are some detours that you've had in your life? And what advice would you give somebody to get around those detours or how to deal with those detours?

Eric Nevins :

Yeah, you know, one of those detours ended up being my career in financial services, right. So, you know, I went through school and then just ended up staying in, you know, the financial world for 13 years total. It was good. I mean, in many ways, it was God's provision. But I got some advice that I wish I would have taken when I first went to college. And I called the best advice I never took it was there was a guy named guy who said to me, he asked me, did you want to be a pastor? Yeah, he goes, do you plan to go to seminary said, Yeah. What are you studying is Biblical Studies. He goes, Okay, don't do that. He says, you're going to go to seminary, you're going to get all that go do a degree in business, and then, and maybe minor Bible and then do Bible in seminary, because you'll get all that he was totally right, because I did a lot of stuff twice. But I think that would have set up my, my career a little bit better, you know, to me develop more marketable to either move within financial or other places if I wasn't going to be in ministry. So I kind of got hung up that way, because I thought the only way to be in ministry was to be on staff at a church. Yeah, that's

John Matarazzo :

and that's not always the case. I mean, that that is a ministry for sure. But ministries, so different Right. Sometimes we put God in a box. And we want to do things a certain way that other people have done things before. And so God has called you into podcasting. And you are, I would say you're a leader in Christian podcasting. You have started this podcasting group, which I became a part of on Facebook. And so what took you from being a, hey, I'm a podcast, or I'm just doing my own thing to say, I want to help other people. Tell me about that journey.

Eric Nevins :

Yeah, well, it was really, I just was also looking for community. So when I started in 2016, there really weren't any Christian podcasting groups. There were a couple that are still around and I'll post them once in a while. But they weren't really looking for a connection or talking back and forth. fact, one of them actually reached out to me and said, Hey, please don't do that. Cuz I was trying to start a conversation. I was like, No. Okay. So I think there was a thread on the podcast movement group, which is a podcasting conference. I got to go this year. It was amazing if you haven't been to go, but somebody was Talking about groups or something like connecting. I don't remember maybe it's about Christian podcasters. I don't remember what the thread was about. But I just said, Man, I asked a question. Does anybody know of a Christian podcasting group that I could join? And this guy named Phil Gauthier responded to me and said, Hey, I would love if something like that existed. Like, hey, we should connect. So I friended him we started messaging. Turns out he lived in my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, which no way go. Yeah, totally. So I'm in Denver now. But we I grew up in Iowa. That's that. Wow, that's, that's pretty awesome. He had kind of a testimony show to where he was getting people to tell him their stories. And so I said, hey, let's start our own. Let's start a group. Let's go ahead. And like, since it doesn't seem to exist, I see an opportunity. Let's do it. He said, Sure. So we started it. And he was around for a while, he eventually moved on to other things, and so kind of became my group. But that's really how I started I just wanted to connect Christian podcasters. And here's my contention for a long time I thought that maybe I would teach people to podcast or teach. So I would try my content would Always be that, here's what you should do. And then I realized there's a lot of people who do that. Right? Yeah, there's a lot of people who will tell you what to do or how to start a podcast for free. There's not really any money in that really value because it's out there. The value is in connecting people. So this is comes back to that curation idea, right? So you bring people in and you curate the relationships. And I've seen that be so powerful. My favorite story to tell about that is I did last year, a mastermind group and I'm thinking about doing another one maybe early in the year but it was free mastermind group we did six weeks in there one lady is Tracy Winchell. She said, Hey, I am so far behind on my editing. Just it seems overwhelming. I've got so many episodes recorded, but I can't get them out. They'll know what to do. And then that group was kale. And McHale said, Hey, I'm an audio editor. I'll do some for free. So they got together. McHale did some for free they kind of worked it out and then Tracy ventures yeah What can we work out, you know, a arrangement where I can pay you. So they have an arrangement now, but that really got her show going on a consistent basis, right? Because she could have some help. And so that connection is exactly what I think Christian podcasters association is about. You always have somebody that you can ask a question, if you need it a technical question or an idea. I think there's three questions. podcasters asked, What is my message in voice? How do I use this darn technology? And

John Matarazzo :

how do I get out there?

Eric Nevins :

Yeah, exactly. How do I grow my show? Right? Those are the three questions and people ask them all the time. And sometimes I'll ask them, and we get connected to each other. So that's how it came about. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm just trying to connect Christian podcasters. And I think it's, I think it's great. I really love it. I'm glad to hear that is valuable for you.

John Matarazzo :

Absolutely. Absolutely. So even though you didn't become a pastor of a brick and mortar church, you've kind of become a pastor of this group. And yeah, it's pretty Cool, and I appreciate it.

Eric Nevins :

Definitely. Thank you. That's, that's really nice of you. That means a lot to me to even here. We do things like we asked for prayer every Thursday. Yeah. What do you need people to pray for? And it's funny, some weeks you get more than others, but you often have other people come and go ahead, just pray for you. And they'll go through and comments on all of those who bother to put a prayer request there. I really do hope that we're about more than it is podcasting. But we're really about advancing the kingdom of Christ through our podcasts. So I hope that we can share some of those things.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, I know, for me, you know, I started this podcast and I didn't quite know what I was getting myself into. I knew that God spoke to me about doing this. But I joined a couple of these Facebook groups about podcasting and the community that I started seeing and the benefit from that. That was a really unexpected blessing. That was really cool. And now it's like, oh, wow, anytime I find out that there's another podcast or I'm finding that podcasters was probably some of the most friendly people out there. And we just want to help other people. And it's we don't look at each other as competition so much as Hey, how can I help you? And that's kind of like a just a natural outflow. And I think Christian podcasters Association definitely does that very, very well. Thanks.

Eric Nevins :

Yeah, I think that is the case because it's so small. Yeah. Do you know Daniel J. Lewis. He does have the audacity to podcast so he's gonna Yeah, he said recently, there's like 770,000 podcasts. Of those, the ones that have had more than 10 episodes and or at least 10 episodes and have published in the last 90 days. It's something like 28%. So it's a fairly small number, who are people who are continuing the podcast? A lot of people start them and then they do what's called pod fade, right? They kind of fade out and decide not to or they just it's too much work. But those of us so those of us who are here, I think it's just we have so much in common, right? Because we've had overcome the same kind of thing. There's the fear of Do I have anything to say? So, there's the fear of how, how am I going to master this technology? And like I said, there's the last one is Will anybody listen? And how do I get it in? In more people's hands? I'm not really a marketer. I'm not a Yeah, I want to talk about myself all the time. Do I have to do that to be, you know, to have to be Gary Vaynerchuk to be

John Matarazzo :

successful? Right? Very track with a cleaner mouth?

Eric Nevins :

Well, yes, that's so easy.

John Matarazzo :

Eric, if you could go back in time, 2030 years, maybe to the 17 year old self whenever you met your wife, whatever stage of life that might be. And you could give yourself some advice. That would be like the sage advice do you have now but like, you want to intersect with yourself in the past? What would you tell yourself?

Eric Nevins :

Wow. Well, so one thing is I would tell myself, take that guy's advice, get a business degree, that'd be one thing. But I would also say probably get some therapy earlier. Guess what I did grew up in a Christian home. There were a lot of things that Weren't okay. And my parents got divorced when I was 25. So I was part of that break that I took in seminary, those kinds of things just need to be dealt with on a psychological level. And I just honestly, never, I was kind of afraid of them. So if I could go back and tell myself, hey, don't be afraid to deal with that stuff. It's okay. And the Lord will go with you into those things. In fact, he's the one inviting you to go into them, to see where he wants to bring healing and joy. In the end, that would have been a really helpful thing. I don't know if I would have listened even to myself. It would have been a good encouragement.

John Matarazzo :

You know, we're both podcasters. And you're, you know, a couple years ahead of me from you know, you started this, you started halfway there podcast, and you're 160 some episodes into it, and I'm 30 something into mine. What advice would you give to me as somebody that is starting out and trying to just do what God's saying to do? what's what's your best piece of podcasting advice with that?

Eric Nevins :

Well, I think you're you doing it. And so the biggest thing that you need to do is decide that you're going to keep showing up. So for me that was right around when I got done with those 10 episodes, I had to say, am I going to just show up every day or every week? Or am I going to take breaks, I've kind of set it up as like this is season one just in case I need to take three months off to find new people. I kind of thought I would do that. But I realized I really need to just keep producing content. And so I would sometimes have weeks where I didn't have anybody and I would just do my solo show. Or I would do I would have a friend or something come on. But that's that decision to make sure I show up every week meant that sometimes Sunday night I was up till 11 o'clock at night or 1130 at night trying to get that ready for Monday morning. And then I'd schedule it for one in the morning or three in the morning whenever and Okay, and it would go out and that was tiring, but it was what needed to happen. There was a discipline I needed to have. So if you're doing that you're well ahead of so many people mean 30 episodes average podcast has somewhere between seven and 11 episodes and before people fade out. If you have 30 episodes, you're doing great. Just commit to staying on that course. It's okay to miss an episode once in a while. It seems like every September my life gets just too complicated. And I miss an episode. Yeah. And that's fine. Because the next week I will publish one and funny enough on that with more downloads the week I skip because people go I'm looking for something else. Right? And they go, they go back and they find a couple of new things strike their fancy. You don't do it on purpose. But while that happens, yeah, but you just gotta decide to show up.

John Matarazzo :

That's good advice, I think beyond podcasting to is just show up and be consistent, man,

Eric Nevins :

definitely. Casting kill art and are so many things I would try to do. Do that just didn't. I just couldn't do that I couldn't keep blogging. But I could keep asking people to tell me their story.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah. What has been the coolest thing that you've had open up because of podcasting? I know for me, I was a missionary for eight years before I got into media. And so I love whenever I open up buzzsprout. And, you know, the website, and it shows me I've got listeners in 24 different countries and these many different cities and things like that. And I'm like, I don't know people in some of these areas. And so the words that God has given me and the conversations that I'm having are affecting more people than I realized. And so that's one of the things that has really blessed me. What's something that has encouraged you or blessed you because of podcasting that you wouldn't have had an interview unless you've done that?

Eric Nevins :

Yeah, well, certainly the relationships are the thing, right? I think podcasting is a relational medium, and it really is about building relationships because you build relationships with your Your audience, and then you'll hear back. Other ones all I'll hear back from people and it's just amazing to me when they go home and listen to every episode. Wow, really one one lady I talked to one time told me that she used to listen to eight hours of sermons in her key while she was working every day, which is a lot of sermon. That's a lot. Yeah. And she said, but now listen to four hours of sermons and four hours of you. I was like, Wow. Wow. babbling is it is totally humbling. I thought, are you kidding me? You? Okay, well, I just put my own curation in perspective, right. So the stories that I find I got to make sure I find some good ones that relate to people, because people are listening. I love that. You know, it's all over the world. I love that. My friends and family don't listen, for the most part. super happy, because it means other people are Uh huh. And it's not just my friends and family. Right. I do have a couple friends that will listen quite a bit but I think So good.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, I love how God is using this medium of podcasting. And Eric, I, again, want to thank you for starting the Christian podcasters Association. I'm excited to see what God's gonna continue to do with that, as you're using your curating gift for the kingdom of God, it's going to be really cool to see how God continues to grow that and to grow the halfway there, podcasts and the other ministry aspects that you're involved with. I just want to thank you for allowing me to join along your way for this conversation. And I look forward to the next time that our paths can cross.

Eric Nevins :

Absolutely. Well, thanks for having me. It's been really fun. If you don't mind. I want to just put up the call to any other Christian podcasters. Yeah, go for it. Come find us. We're on Facebook, you just search Christian podcasters Association, you'll find us the association is all about that connection. So just search you can ask for access to the group. There's a couple questions just to make sure that we get the right people, right. Make sure you answer those and then you can you can join us Another thing that I think is kind of exciting, I'm excited about it is I'm working right now toward producing some premium content for the group coming up, that'll be paid content, but doing more curated stuff that will hopefully be super valuable answer some of those questions like, how do I monetize this thing? And how do I? How do I get go a little further? And so hopefully, that'll be a another venue? Just take it up one more notch?

John Matarazzo :

Absolutely. Well, Eric, thank you again, so much. And I'll be putting that information in the show notes and links to your website, halfway there. podcast.com. And for the Facebook group, and any of the things that you want to communicate with people. I'll make sure I put in the show notes as well. But thank you so much for allowing me to join you along

Unknown Speaker :

your way. Thanks, brother. It's been fun.

John Matarazzo :

I'm grateful for Eric starting the Christian podcasters Association. That has been a huge benefit for me just to be part of it. It was interesting to hear his story of how even though he knew his Call was for ministry, he thought he was going to be a pastor, which makes sense. But God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. Oftentimes, we think we know how God's master plan will play out for us in our lives. But we can easily see that we don't understand God's actual ways. We need to trust him and every step, even when those steps appear to be an detour. Our detours can be frustrating, but God can still use them to shape and mold our character, as well as equip us for the unexpected parts of our journey of life with him. Nothing is wasted with God, He will take our mess and turn it into a message that will bring him glory. I like what God said to him when he was stressed out about his James for message is very real questions. And I was praying

Eric Nevins :

and I said, God, what am I going to do if I can't do this?

John Matarazzo :

Right, and God's comical, responsive and he said, Well, you weren't very good at taking phone calls at first either. It is God's way of saying, just keep going. God speaks to us in a way that we can understand. And he has a sense of humor too. He wants relationship with us. with you. Eric makes time for Jesus and coffee, make it a priority to spend time with him and get to know him. As you get to know him more, you will embrace the identity and calling that He has for you in your own life. When Eric embraced his call for a non traditional ministry, he was led to podcasting which then led to curating a community for Christian podcasters. God has really designed us with a need for community. And honestly podcasting can be lonely at times, having the great conversations are amazing. And so life giving but then there's the editing process and putting everything all together. As I'm recording this. It's late Sunday night. I have to be at work early in the morning, and I'm alone in front of a microphone, seeking God on how to wrap up this episode. Eric mentioned how by helping curate relationships for others. He is finding how his non traditional ministry call adding value to others. I love that. How can we add value to others with the gifts and experience that God has given us? Let's be purposeful in strengthening our relationship with God, cultivating community with others, and finding ways to add value to others lives. If we're consistent with that, then maybe we'll find ourselves a little bit more than halfway there. For more information about Eric Nevins, please check out his podcast, the halfway there podcast, and his website. Eric Nevins, calm. I'll be providing links for his podcast and his website in the show notes. Thank you for listening to along the way. If you've enjoyed joining me along my way, please share this episode with a friend who you think will be encouraged by this podcast. Also, please rate and review along the way and iTunes that helps more people discover along the way. And you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcast. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and on my website along the way dot media. I hope that you've enjoyed this part of my journey and made you realize when Jesus is walking with you along your