Into The Word 2.0 – Changes, Upgrades And Adaptations
Many of you will know that our intention here at the Into The Word was to use 2017 as something of a “soft launch” for the podcast. We are not experts and this is all new to us so we wanted to be good listeners and to receive feedback in order to make changes as necessary.
Our first production cycle ran from January 1st – May 4th and in that cycle we saw just under 10,000 listens and downloads – thanks be God! We received a ton of feedback – almost all of it positive, but a few of you made some constructively critical comments that we have been very glad to receive. In general people loved the idea of following the 2 Year Version of the RMM Bible Reading Plan. It felt more manageable than the 1 Year Plan and left more time for reflection and deeper analysis of the text. However, the drawback was that by doing podcasts only on Tuesdays and Thursdays it left huge holes in the coverage that was provided. A book like The Gospel of Mark would only have 7 podcasts episodes, meaning that there would potentially be holes in comprehension and a finished product that would not have much in the way of recyclability.
In addition, many commuters stated a preference for having the full text of at least one chapter read as part of each podcast. They simply didn’t have the time to read the text before leaving the house and that left them in the dark as to some of the commentary being provided.
In light of these observations and data points, we plan on experimenting with the following format change:
1. We are going to move to more of a “Netflix” model as opposed to a cable tv model. Basically this means that we will move to releasing “seasons” rather than being tied to a twice a week schedule. We will identify a book that is coming up in the 2 Year RMM Plan and prepare in advance a full slate of podcasts which can then be released daily over the course of that book’s coverage in the plan.
So for example, we could prepare 16 podcasts on The Gospel of Mark and release them one a day from July 19th – August 3rd. Then we could go dark until we have another series ready, say perhaps, a series of 12 podcasts on Daniel that we would release from October 16th – October 27th.
All of these “seasons” will then be stored in full for the “binge listeners” without any unhelpful gaps. The advantage of this is that it will allow me (Pastor Paul) some scheduling flexibility. On busy weeks I feel the press of having to release two podcasts on a deadline. In this new model, if I was pressed for time one week, I could not prepare anything and do extra the next week, as long as we had the “season” ready by the release date. Worst case scenario, we just skip forward further if things get really hairy. That will take the pressure off me and will produce a more enduring finished product. This will also be helpful for our production guy, Matt Stanton, who is juggling work, study and his new full time job as a husband. :)
2. We will also commit to reading each Bible chapter in full every episode. My Scripture reading rate is about 7 seconds per verse so a chapter like Mark 4 which has 41 verses will take approximately 4 minutes and 47 seconds to read. This will leave 10 minutes for explanation and application.
3. At present, in this reading year, we are planning (God willing) to release the following ‘seasons’:
- Revelation (starting May 30th and going through June 20th)
- The Gospel Of Mark (July 19th-August 3rd)
- Daniel (October 16th-October 27th)
- Amos (November 12th-20th)
- Zechariah (December 14th-December 27th)
That will give us 5 “stored” ‘seasons’ by the end of this year.
5. We will also plan to produce a full download of each ‘season’ after the daily release has been completed that will have been edited so as to remove the daily bumpers. Thus, if you were to download the entire Revelation series on June 21st and listen to it while driving to Florida you wouldn’t hear the daily bumpers between each chapter.
6. We will continue to release the Daily Reflections Devotionals on Wednesdays and Fridays to encourage you in your reading.
Our plan is to try this new format for the rest of 2017 and then to survey our listeners to see which format has been more helpful to them. We are hopeful that this continues to encourage users of the RMM Bible Reading Plan and we hope it makes the program more accessible to people who only want to join with us for a single book of the Bible. We further hope that this will make the podcast more useful to people trying to introduce friends to the Scriptures for the first time. Our intention is to make the Gospel Of Mark series as user friendly as possible with the thought that this might be a book that you and an unbelieving loved one could work through together.
Please continue to send us your feedback and encouragement. We enjoy hearing from you.
May God Alone Be Glorified,
The Into The Word Team
May 4th 2017