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Craft & Character

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

As a preacher, are you just transferring information or speaking from a transformed place? No one can preach God’s Word well without first being personally transformed by it.


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As a preacher, are you just transferring information or speaking from a transformed place? No one can preach God’s Word well without first being personally transformed by it.



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How to Love the Life You Already Have with Luke Norsworthy

In this episode of Craft & Character, Steve Carter interviews Westover Hills Senior Pastor Luke Norsworthy about having the internal character to meet the six demands of life. It can be so easy to give time and energy wondering if my life would be better if I was in a new role or at a new church; but Luke beautifully articulate to love the life you already have isn’t about changing your circumstances but being the version of yourself that inhibits your life. Luke walks us through each of the six demands that he writes about in his new book How To Love The Life You Already Have. BIO Luke, his wife Lindsay, and their three daughters live in Austin, TX where Luke is the senior minister of the Westover Hills Church. He is the author of God over Good, Befriending Your Monsters, and How to Love the Life You Already Have. For a decade, he has hosted Norsworthy, a podcast that helps his listeners navigate faith in the modern world. EPISODE LINKS Luke's New Book: How to Love the Life You Already Have Podcast: Norsworthy Website: His Church: Westover Hills Church @lukeanorsworthy @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Grieve, Breathe, Receive with Steve Carter

In this special episode, the host of the Craft & Character, Steve Carter, unpacks how holy weekend is an incredible gift to anyone walking out a grief journey. Steve opens up about what led to him writing these words, what his hope is for Grieve, Breathe, Receive, and how to honor what comes up when change shows up. This is a book that will help you know what to do when life shocks us or we experience hurt, loss, death, an end to a relationship, or any form of change. Give this episode a listen and may it show you how to grieve with hope. BIO Steve Carter is the bestselling author of The Thing Beneath The Thing, host of the Craft and Character podcast, a coach to communicators who are looking to find their unique voice or take their next step of growth in speaking and teaches regularly at churches, conferences, and various businesses around the country. His next book Grieve, Breathe, Receive releases on May 7th, 2024. He is the former lead teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church and currently serves as the lead pastor at Forest City Church. Steve lives outside Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and two kids. EPISODE LINKS Books: Grieve, Breathe, Receive and The Thing Beneath The Thing Social - @steveryancarter on IG, Twitter, and Threads @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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The Slower Way with Micha Boyett

In this Craft & Character episode, Steve Carter interviews author and youth pastor Micha Boyett about her new book Blessed Are The Rest Of Us. Micha talks about how she discovered the slow way when her son was born with Down Syndrome and later diagnosed with autism, she was drawn into the ancient teachings of the Beatitudes. In a culture that values performance, perfection, and strength, Micha found in this small passage of ancient text a new language to honor the worth of her son and to push against the intrinsic ableism in our culture’s response to disability: blessed—whole—are the weak ones, the grieving ones, the ones who long for peace, the misunderstood. In other words, blessed are the rest of us, who will never live up to the world’s exacting standards. Micha shares what this could look like fully embodied in our churches today. BIO Micha Boyett is an award winning podcaster, as well as a writer and speaker. In addition to Blessed Are The Rest of Us, she is the author of Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer and a contributor to the New York Times bestseller A Rhythm of Prayer, edited by Sarah Bessey. She cohosts The Lucky Few podcast and is the creator and host of The Slow Way podcast. EPISODE LINKS Book: Blessed Are the Rest of Us @micahboyett on Instagram and Threads @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Why Every Pastor Must Learn to Listen, Listen, Speak with Jay Kim

In this episode of Craft & Character, Steve Carter interviews author and pastor Jay Kim about how to hear God’s voice and communicate truth in a noisy world. Jay unpacks what led him to write his new book that comes out on April 16th called Listen, Listen, Speak. He talks about how discernment, mastering the art of listening well to God and one another, and also being able to clearly speak to the times is important for every preacher. Jay is one of the wisest, most thoughtful and accessible pastoral voices of our day. His insights will help you in your time alone with God, leading one-on-one meetings with staff, congregants, elders as well as helping to best engage, respond, and speak order into the chaos. BIO Jay Y. Kim serves as lead pastor at WestGate Church in the Silicon Valley of California and is the author of Listen, Listen, Speak (Faithwords, 2024), Analog Christian (IVP, 2022), and Analog Church (IVP, 2020). Jay is also host of the Digital Examen podcast and the Making Space podcast. EPISODE LINKS Jay’s new book: Listen, Listen, Speak: Hearing God and Being Heard in a Noisy World Jay’s other books: Analog Church, Analog Christian Website: @jaykimthinks @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Alive in You with Carrington Gaines

The relationship between a worship pastor and the preacher is crucial, especially on holiday weekends. In the latest episode of the Craft and Character podcast, Steve Carter interviews the worship pastor at Forest City Church, Carrington Gaines about how to work well together. Steve and Carrington serve together and breakdown how they planned out the Good Friday and Easter services around the song “Alive in You.” They talk about the trust required between preacher and worship pastor, how to dream, push each other, and bring out the best in one another. Carrington shares his process of writing a song as they break down the lyrics of "Alive in You." BIO Carrington Gaines is a husband, father, artist, songwriter, and a lover of all things Buffalo Bills related. He is the worship director at Forest City Church in Rockford & Elgin, Illinois, where they create spaces for anyone and everyone to encounter Jesus in the most authentic way they can! EPISODE LINKS: Worship Page: Website: IG: @forestcityworship IG: @carrington_gaines @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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A Call to Resilience with Jay Hewitt

In this episode, Steve Carter interviews pastor and author Jay Hewitt about finding strength in our deepest need and weakness. A few years back Jay was diagnosed with brain cancer and during his chemo treatment he decided to train for an Ironman to show his young daughter what resilience looks like. Jay ended up completing the Ironman and wrote an incredible book called “I Am Weak, I Am Strong” about what God has taught him during this fight with cancer. Steve and Jay stood in each other's weddings, are dear friends, and this episode is one of the most moving because of how personal, tender, and difficult as Jay shares the reality that the brain cancer has returned. BIO Jay Hewitt is a pastor, author, and motivational speaker whose life journey is an awe-inspiring testimony of courage and faith. Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at thirty-seven, he found strength through God, embracing his purpose as a storyteller. In his memoir, I Am Weak, I Am Strong, Jay shares his extraordinary quest to become an IRONMAN while battling cancer. EPISODE LINKS Book: I Am Weak, I Am Strong Website: Social: @jayhewitt @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Transparent Preaching with Justin Davis

In this episode of Craft and Character, Steve Carter interviews Justin Davis about how transparency leads to transformation. Justin details the hard lessons he had to learn and what God has redeemed and refined because of it. They also unpack Justin’s latest book entitled Being Real > Being Perfect and how to embody that from the pulpit, in our leadership, marriage, and with the deepest friendships. BIO Justin is an author, speaker, and pastor and has dedicated his life to helping people experience life change through the power of authenticity. He co-founded RefineUs Ministries and is the author of the Being Real > Being Perfect: How Transparency Leads to Transformation and co-author of Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough, which he wrote alongside his wife, Trisha. EPISODE LINKS Sermon Series - Book - Being Real > Being Perfect: How Transparency Leads to Transformation Instagram - @justindavis33 Website - @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Lent and Sobriety with Jenn Kautsch

In this episode of Craft and Character, Steve interviews author Jenn Kautsch, who is the founder and creator of the SoberSis community. They talk about the season of Lent, what being sober curious is all about and how to renegotiate our relationship with alcohol. Jenn opens up about showing up to church many Sunday mornings a little foggy from the night before. You would have never known this was an issue, but Jenn knew she was relying on something other than Christ to help get her through. Jenn shares practical wisdom for what pastors can say and embody to help people in their congregation walking through this season. BIO Jenn Kautsch is the founder and creator of the SoberSis community and leader in the "Sober Curious" movement. SoberSis was "born" Christmas Day of 2017 and since then more than 200K women have downloaded her free "Happy Hour Survival Guide" and over 30K have participated in the 21 Day Reset Challenge. Those numbers are growing every month as she works hard to get the message out to more women! She is a motivational speaker and author of Look Alive, Sis. EPISODE LINKS Website: Blog: IG: @sobersis Free Happy Hour Survival Guide Jenn's Book: Look Alive, Sis! @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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The Spirit of Politics with Michael Wear

The majority of pastors are not looking forward to this 2024 presidential election season. The division between parties. The vitriol online. The angst within the congregation. The last few elections have been so difficult to navigate. There has to be a better way! In this episode, Steve Carter interviews Michael Wear who is the President of The Center of Christianity and Public Life as well as the author of The Spirit of Our Politics. Michael shares how Dallas Willard’s teachings helped him understand a better way to engage with politics. This interview will help pastors reframe the conversation of politics as an invitation for spiritual formation and how our depth with Christ will help us heal, bring hope, unite, and showcase the kind of goodness that Christ embodied. EPISODE LINKS Website: IG: @michaelwear X: @michaelrwear Michael's Book: The Spirit of Our Politics @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes with Mark Scandrette

As we kick off 2024, Mark Scandrette offers up profound wisdom from the nine sayings of Jesus from the Beatitudes. It’s what Mark writes about in his latest book, The Ninefofd Path of Jesus. This episode is an invitation to the postures that the beatitudes provide us personally but also how to communicate these from pulpit. Mark unpacks his preaching methodology, how he arranges a sermon to be practice focused to help the congregation try on the concept. EPISODE LINKS Mark’s book: The Ninefold Path of Jesus Website: The Ninefold Path website: IG: @scandrette @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Start to Finish with Mark Dance

Do you ever feel like the tyranny of the urgent runs your life? Do you ever feel shame for wanting to take a day off or go on a vacation? As pastors, the needs are great and time is limited. Sadly, for many this means neglecting the things that matter most: our relationship with God, family, and the health of our souls. In this episode, Mark Dance, Director of Pastoral Wellness for Guidestone Financial Resources, explains to Steve Carter that orienting our lives around the two greatest commandments一loving God and neighbor一can be a joyful, restful experience. To deny yourself, as Jesus commands, doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself. In his new book, Start to Finish, Mark explains how to reclaim the life God wants for you as a leader一a life defined by balance, peace, friendship, rest, and wisdom. Every dollar from book sales go to Mission:Dignity, an organization that honors retirement-age ministers, workers, and widows struggling to meet basic needs through advocacy and financial assistance. EPISODE LINKS Mark’s books: Start to Finish: The Pastor’s Guide to Leading a Resilient Life and Ministry Website: Guidestone: @markdance @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Good Baggage for the Holidays with Ike Miller

How much does your upbringing influence your life now? The answer for all of us is ... more than we realize. In today’s episode, Ike Miller一who pastors Bright City Church alongside his wife Sharon一shares about his new book called Good Baggage: How Your Difficult Childhood Prepared You for Healthy Relationships. Growing up in a dysfunctional family impacted by alcoholism and divorce, Ike shares firsthand wisdom about: Cultivating a regular rhythm of counseling. Why saying no is necessary to stay healthy. How to stop editing our identity to please others. How to prioritize rest and resist the idol of success. How to build a healthy church and home culture. During the holidays一a season laden with complex family dynamics and packed schedules一let this episode remind you that God is with you, loves you, and is working through your story. EPISODE LINKS Ike’s book: Good Baggage Website: Church: Bright City Church @ikefmiller @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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The Shepherd's Heart with Lee Eclov

Every pastor needs a pastor一someone to offer wisdom, empathy, and an example of finishing well. Lee Eclov is a shepherd to shepherds, and in this episode he shares with Steve Carter: How to care more about people and less about numbers. The role of spiritual formation in preaching. The importance of working through a text in your own soul before you preach. Why thinking of Scripture as a song will enrich your preaching. How to write sermons that touch people’s minds and hearts. If you’re a pastor, please don’t miss this episode! Lee’s voice resounds with grace, is seasoned from decades of ministry, and offers countless insights that will help you finish well. EPISODE LINKS Lee’s books: Shepherding the Shepherd: Devotions for a Pastor’s Soul Website: Sign-Up for Lee Eclov's Weekly Pastor's Devotional Newsletter: @leeeclov @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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AI, Ethics, and Preaching with Jason Thacker

As the world continues to progress technologically, how do we begin to approach this theologically. Jason Thacker, a professor of ethics and author joins Steve Carter on the craft and character podcast to help us better understand what is at stake and what we can do about it. Technology is not a net neutral conversation; but rather one we must approach with greater wisdom and discernment. With the advent of AI and other technological advancements, we as preachers have an opportunity to help our people understand what formation, ethics, and life in the kingdom truly looks like Jason Thacker serves as an assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. He also is a senior fellow in Christian ethics and director of the research institute at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of several books including Following Jesus in a Digital Age and The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. He also serves as the editor of The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society and co-editor of the Essentials in Christian Ethics series with B&H Academic. He is the project leader and lead drafter of Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles. EPISODE LINKS Website - Books - Following Jesus in a Digital Age, The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity @jasonthacker @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Discerning the Times with Jon Huckins

As headlines convulse with the latest news about the Israel-Hamas war, how should followers of Jesus respond? Jon Huckins, professor, author, and founder of Journey Home, shares with Steve Carter about what peacemaking looks like一first in our own hearts, then in the world God calls us to love. This convicting conversation point us toward the way of Jesus, helping us see the image of God in people on all sides of the conflict. Jon and Steve, who recently hiked the Camino de Santiago together, reflect on the lost art of pilgrimage and how it helps us relinquish control, reawaken to the Spirit’s movement, forgive, and rest in the love of God. This inner work, in which we allow God to calm the storm inside, is the first step toward spreading peace around us. Ultimately, the conflict is not a call to coldly evaluate political and religious “sides.” It’s an invitation to pray fervently for all people, inviting the Spirit to transform us in the process. EPISODE LINKS Jon’s organization Website: Journey Home Jon’s books: Mending the Divides, Thin Places, Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling @jonhuckins @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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A Church Planter's First Sermon Series with Micah E. Davis

As a leader, how well do you know your people and city? As a preacher, how much does your context shape your content? For Micah Davis, the pastor of teaching and vision at a new church plant, The Sanctuary in Indianapolis, there’s a deep connection between who he serves and how he leads. After hearing God whisper “pastor your neighborhood” during a prayer walk, he’s ignited by the realization that God raises up particular people in specific places一a vision that excites and fuels his church plant. In this conversation with Steve Carter, Micah highlights some key aspects of planting a church, especially in a Gen Z, urban context: How to lead people into spiritual formation, not just more information. How to choose your first sermon series. The profound role of prayer一something that’s easy to overlook. Why it’s important to exegete your city一to know its hurts and strengths. This conversation will rekindle your heart for the place and people God is calling you to lead and teach. Also, check out Micah’s forthcoming book: Trailblazers: A Journey to Discover God’s Purpose For Your Life. EPISODE LINKS Micah’s books: Trailblazers: A Journey to Discover God’s Purpose For Your Life Website: Church: @micahedavis The book Micah mentions: Joshua Becker, The More of Less @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Reconnect to the Rhythms of Faith with Kayla Craig

If you’re a parent, how do you nurture and guide your children? If you’re a pastor or leader, are you truly creating an environment that draws kids to Jesus? The responsibility of stewarding young hearts can feel immense, but the good news is: you don’t have to figure it out alone. Today’s guest is author Kayla Craig, whose new book, Every Season Sacred, is a collection of practical tools and reflective prayers to help families build a culture of discipleship in the ebb and flow of everyday life. Kayla speaks candidly with Steve Carter about the chaos of family schedules and the mystery of finding God in the midst of daily commutes, fast food drive-thrus, and the scattered moments of the day一all of which are opportunities to be intentional with our kids. This episode will inspire and equip you to lead your children well, in a way that works best for your stage of life. EPISODE LINKS Kayla’s books: Every Season Sacred, To Light Their Way Website: @kayla_craig @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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How Every Church Can Pivot to Be Tov with Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer

How do we call out injustice and seek shalom without becoming self-righteous? In their new book, Pivot: The Priorities, Practices, and Powers That Can Transform Your Church Into a Tov Culture, father-daughter duo Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer follow up their previous book, A Church Called Tov一charting a course for those seeking to create a healthier church culture. In this episode, they share with Steve Carter: How healthier churches exist when leaders listen to the Spirit and surrender to his leading. How to build a church culture in which power is stewarded, not abused; where people are shepherded, not manipulated; where leadership is accountable, not untouchable. How to diagnose the health of your heart and team, even when everything looks “put-together” externally. How to respond thoughtfully to abuse and scandal in the digital age. This book is a must-read for any pastor, leader, discipler, human, who aches to see the church become tov. EPISODE LINKS Scot and Laura’s co-written books: Pivot, A Church Called Tov Laura’s website: Scot’s Substack: @scotmcknight @laurambarringer @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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The Art of Rhetoric in Preaching with Theon Hill

Want to become a better preacher? Listen to hip hop. That’s the advice of Dr. Theon Hill一an enthusiastic hip hop fan who serves as Associate Professor of Communication at Wheaton College. As an expert in rhetoric, Dr. Hill explains to Steve Carter: The three primary ways to reach an audience How to anticipate and teach to diverse perspectives in your audience Why preaching is about transformation, not just information Why hip hop is a great primer for preaching in our cultural moment Throughout this episode, Dr. Hill walks Steve Carter through Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, highlighting simple principles every preacher can put into immediate practice. As the 60th anniversary of King’s famous address arrives on August 28th, Preaching Today invites you to celebrate “Share the Dream Sunday.” EPISODE LINKS The Jazz of Preaching by Kirk Byron Jones Share the Dream Sunday resources from Preaching Today @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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Preaching Faith as a Spider Web with Meredith Miller

Teaching kids about God is one of the greatest tasks of our lives. Even with good intentions, It’s easy to slip into behavior-driven moralism that emphasizes good behavior while neglecting the heart of God. This disconnect一between head and heart一is why Meredith Anne Miller wrote her forthcoming book, Woven: Nurturing a Faith Your Kid Doesn’t Have to Heal From. In this episode, she explains to Steve Carter some of the simple shifts that can help you disciple kids better: Simplify: limit the amount of info and the length of the lesson Age appropriate: emphasize ideas kids can actually grasp developmentally Make God the focus more than “what kids should do” Kids are not an afterthought in our ministry; they are first in line to the Kingdom. Does your ministry reflect Jesus’ heart to disciple children? This episode will help you get there. EPISODE LINKS Meredith’s book: Woven: Nurturing a Faith Your Kid Doesn’t Have to Heal From Website: Church: Pomona Valley Church Ask Away podcast @meredithannemiller @steveryancarter @craft_character Learn more about your ad choices. Visit