Can we find common ground between spirituality and science? Ask the Liturgists, who have 250,000 podcast subscribers helping them answer that big question.
With millenials fleeing Catholic and Protestant churches in record numbers and seeking new ways to share their faith, science writer Mike McHargue and Evangelical musician Michael Gungor saw an opportunity to create a new community. The Liturgists is a monthly examination of what it means to be a follower of Christ in the modern world, with Mike and Michael bringing on guests from the secular and religious world to accompany them on their journey.
On each episode of the podcast, they choose a topic and wrestle with it from a variety of perspectives. Shows about body image and climate science alternate with episodes on eschatology or the history of violence in Christianity.
Both hosts came to the project with a following – Mike from his “Ask Science Mike” podcast and Michael from the worship band he’s led with his wife since 2006. But one of the most interesting aspects of the show has been following their spiritual growth as they explore personal connections and interpretations of the Gospel.
The Liturgists regularly cracks a million downloads a month, which shows there’s tremendous interest in these heady topics even in the era of Logan Paul and Baby Shark.
They’ve built their audience by filling a niche that many people would be too scared to step into – a space for open, honest and controversial talk about religion, ethics, and culture.
The duo fund the project on Patreon, where their 5,700+ subscribers get access to guided meditations, an additional weekly podcast, and a private discussion community.
They’ve also created a pair of video workshops to provide even deeper immersion in some of the topics they’ve covered on popular episodes.
The project has branched into the physical world as well. Starting in 2017, they host Liturgists Gatherings in cities around the country. At each event, they record an episode of the podcast live before joining the attendees in meditation and discussion.
As people move away from traditional churches, a spiritual venue that offers believers and the doubting alike a place to explore and celebrate faith is a powerful thing.