The Lost Coins - A Christian Podcast Pilot

Ted Petersen (Palm Bay, Florida, USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Ted Petersen, an associate professor of Communication at the Florida Institute of Technology, earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Florida in Gainesville, his M.A. in Communication from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and his B.A. in Communication from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. He has published academic works in the Florida Communication Journal, Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Popular Culture Studies Journal. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children.
[This presentation features work by Dr. Ted Petersen. The following notes are written by GOWM coordinator Tom Kuster.]

This prsentation touches my heart.

A year ago in GOWM 2017, Ted Petersen presented his vision of The Lost Coins — A Proposal for Creating a Christian Podcast. Since then the popularity of podcasts in general has only grown, and the potential is looming even larger for a regular podcast that features the stories — the gripping and inspiring stories — of Christians living lives of faith today.

In hopes of seeing his vision of an ongoing series of such podcasts being produced, Ted has created a sample — a pilot — featuring the real life story of Deb who lives in Costa Maya, Mexico, and whose experience in Hurricane Dean led to the founding and growth of the Lutheran misison there.

The pilot runs for less than nine minutes. Please listen— it's well worth your time. Then help us come up with ideas for funding the production of more of these. There are so many inspiring Christian stories out there — you probably know of some. Let's continue the work that Isaiah urged: "Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12.5

The Lord has indeed done glorious things in the lives of all believers. Let's tell the stories.

Click the start arrow to listen to the first podcast of The Lost Coins, by Ted Petersen.

[Audio clip courtesy of the Weather Channel Television Network.]

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Judy Kuster 2018-10-24 2:37:15pm
Ted and Deb, What a marvelous opportunity to hear a first hand account of how God turned a disaster and also a frustration to work his purpose in our lives and the lives of others. I remember our visit, Deb and the tour you gave Tom and me of the area in Costa Maya where you and your church are serving. It was truly eye-opening and humbling. Your example of your friend's 8 year prayer and of how God worked in Costa Maya in silence for those three weeks you had your own Bible study reminded me of how God answers prayer - sometimes yes right away or quickly, sometimes yes but wait, and sometimes no, I have a better idea. I hope these podcasts grow and more stories will be told. Thank you for sharing, Deb, and for the work you did to develop a powerful podcast, Ted. How many hours did the actual production of the podcast take?
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-10-29 11:04:03am
Hi, Judy. Thanks for your comment. I suspect I spent 10-15 hours editing, writing, scoring, and narrating the podcast. Tom Kuster did the interviews, and I suspect that was a couple hours. Deb's interview was about 30 minutes long. All of it was fascinating, but I tried to pick the part that would be most dramatic.
Paul Grubbs (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-24 4:03:39pm
Dr. Petersen,

I teach Film and Mass Media at Martin Luther College; my students have a passion for outreach and are relatively skilled in using media tools. I listened to this piece immediately after reading Rev. Michael Hintz's article documenting the complex challenges associated with producing the WELS Outreach movie "To the Ends of the Earth." His detailed background regarding that project reaffirmed how complicated and expensive visual media is when your ambition is a professional-quality product. I am thankful that our synod is pursuing those film productions. Nonetheless, I struggle to see how my students could make a meaningful contribution to those efforts, especially in a single course for a single semester. Your efforts here certainly met any measure of professionalism, but the program also seemed comparatively within reach for young people wanting to experiment with storytelling through contemporary media. Of course, first-time college podcasters couldn’t demonstrate the style and finely tuned pacing of this piece, but I think listening to your work would inspire them to consider what they might accomplish, even with a first effort. Thanks for this striking and memorable example of how the opportunities that accompany podcasting as a platform can be used to demonstrate how God’s love impacts the lives of sinners.

The prompt from Prof. Kuster afterwards asks responders to “help us come up with ideas for funding the production of more of these.” I have no personal frame of reference for the funding required. Would Dr. Petersen, or someone else posting in response to this program, be able to provide some ballpark for the production cost for a 10-minute audio segment at this level of professional quality? (This question is related to Mrs. Kuster’s item regarding the hours required for this result - in his piece, Rev. Hintz highlighted that their project required six months to carve 38 minutes from the 25 hours of original raw video.) While a specific dollar amount isn't required, a general idea might help us understand the scope of support needed to sustain such an effort.

After reading about Dr. Petersen's ambitions for a faith-focused podcast during last year's event, it was especially interesting to hear those ideas realized here. Thank you for your contribution to the conference.
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-02 10:09:10am
Thanks for your comments, Prof. Grubbs. You're right, the cost in time and money in making visual documentaries is significantly more than making audio documentaries. In audio, you need to worry about two things during the interview--getting good quality audio and getting "good tape"--thoughtful, interesting and meaningful information from the sources. I think this kind of work does require thoughtful writing and several rounds of edits, a process where the writer plays the piece for his/her editors, gets feedback, and continues to rework it.

It does require a small investment in gear. We'd definitely need good microphones or recorders. I used a Zoom H2--about $200. Tom Kuster did the interview with Deb (he should get all the credit, by the way), and I don't know what equipment he used. But getting good sounding audio is essential. It's also important to have a quiet place, at least for narration, but even for interviews. I did the narration in my closet, but that would be an awkward place for an interview! It edited this in Adobe Audition--probably a $500 a year subscription--but Apple's Garage Band could do the trick too for free. I probably put 15 hours into this, but it was a relatively straight-forward piece--only one interview and only one scene. More complex stories would take more time.
Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2018-11-02 11:39:50am
I recorded Deb through a Samson Go Mic USB microphone connected to my Mac laptop. Not broadcast quality, probably, but it worked this time. It's a great little microphone that I use a lot when online. $40 at Amazon. see
Kara Peter (Martin Luther College) 2018-10-25 10:25:51pm
Dr. Petersen,

Thank you for your work in initiating a Christian podcast. The notes accompanying your sample podcast state, “since then the popularity of podcasts in general has only grown, and the potential is looming even larger for a regular podcast that features the stories — the gripping and inspiring stories — of Christians living lives of faith today.” I find this admirable, as one of the key aspects of media outreach is discovering which methods of evangelism are the most relatable and appealing to people today.

The idea of creating podcasts about the lives of Christians reminds me of the “Confessions of Faith” articles in Forward in Christ. Could a partnership with FiC be a way of generating the material needed for these podcasts and making the stories available in an outreach which spreads beyond the circulation of the magazine? Many people love these articles about Christians coming to faith, so they may fair well on the podcast. A partnership such as this may also provide greater access to funding.

Mr. Kurster concludes, “the Lord has indeed done glorious things in the lives of all believers. Let's tell the stories.” This made me curious as to the intended audience of these podcasts. Are they intended as an uplifting form of media for WELS Christians, or is the intention to achieve a larger following?

Thank you for contributing this podcast to the conference!
Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2018-10-31 10:56:30am
Kara, your last paragraph is addressed to me - Dr. Petersen might want to reply also. I remember MANY years ago when I was a kid and a member of the LCMS in which my dad was a pastor until 1961, the LCMS started a TV series (black and white) called "This is The Life" that told stories - mostly fictional I think but edifying - of Christians in their Christian lives. I remember the pride I felt as a kid when the name of my synod showed up at the end credits. While I have no statistics from back then, I expect that the effect of the TV series was BOTH to uplift believers in our circles (as "TITL" did for me) AND to be an outreach to those who do not yet believe. Certainly it can function for both audiences, under the Holy Spirit's power and promise that the Word will not return empty. Same concept, new media.
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-02 9:50:03am
Thanks for your comments, Kara. I agree with Dr. Kuster--this can serve both purposes. Like the sermon a pastor might preach on a Sunday when he knows there will be many visitors, these stories, if we can do it right, should be able to comfort and encourage steadfast Christians AND introduce the Gospel to the rest of the world.

As far as collaborating goes, I think that's definitely a great idea. A big challenge is to find stories, so any help in that would always be welcome.
Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2018-11-02 11:26:27am
You might agree with me, Dr. Ted, when I disagree with you. I don't think it will be a BIG challenge to find stories - I think there are lots of fascinating ones out there. It could be a SMALL challenge but done with a little effort. (I already have a couple possibilities in mind.) Then the big challenge will be to narrow down and decide which stories to tell.
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-02 2:02:27pm
Good call, Dr. Kuster. The stories are all over the place. Keeping eyes peeled and ears open is really what it's all about. I'd love to hear your story ideas.
Mark Parsons (Bread for Beggars) 2018-10-31 2:28:43pm
Dr. Petersen!

The concept for this podcast is fantastic and the pilot is very well done. It reminds me of NPR's "This American Life" somewhat as far as the style. Your voicing is perfect for this type of content. I would love to have a discussion with you sometime soon about a possible partnership with the relaunching Bread for Beggars website. We are looking for good storytellers and have ideas for how to get their stories distributed. Can you email me your contact information? You can send it to

Pastor Mark Parsons
Carresha Russell (Bethany Lutheran College) 2018-11-07 10:28:38am
I like how you decided to record on a podcast instead of writing an article. Also focused on real life disasters and had actually people who was effected.
Logan Schroeder (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-07 1:18:35pm
Dr. Petersen,

This is an awesome project. In the last decade or so, I've noticed that a lot of people have put an emphasis on social media in reference to social media platforms. These include the usual - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I'll admit myself that this is where my brain wonders to when I'm given an assignment or when I'm thinking of ways in which the Gospel can be spread. However, the use of podcasts is brilliant. I have certainly noticed an increase in the popularity of podcasts just within the media in general, and I believe that in many ways, they can be more useful in achieving this goal (spreading the Gospel) than the classic social media platforms. Sites like Facebook can be great. You could have someone regularly posting links or scriptural advice every day, but sadly, this information can get lost quickly in the vast array of wordly and perhaps ungodly material we can find on sites such as Facebook. This is where a podcast comes in - followers can subscribe to podcasts such as these, and they'll know exactly what content will be in focus every day. Perhaps the younger generation should look more into podcasts, and add it to their list of favorites along side the entertainment and sports related stuff.

As for the content of this specific clip, one passage in particular stuck out to me when I was listening to Deb's struggles toward the end when no one but her was showing up to worship. Romans 8:28: For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. God has already worked believers like Deb into His grand plan, and His timing is never off. The key for me in this passage is the phrase "in ALL things." Even what might seem bad to us, God is working toward our good and toward the good of His Kingdom.

As for ideas toward future funding, I wish I could have the answer. Is there a current Lutheran-driven fund that benefits media efforts like podcasts? If not, do you foresee the growth of them in the near future?

Thank you for work in the department of podcasts. May God continue to bless you and your work.

Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-12 1:06:08pm
Thanks, Logan. It was fun to put this together. I look forward to more opportunities. I think it's true that we can do things with podcasts that written articles and even videos can't.

We are looking for funding. I don't know of any funds dedicated to these types of projects. We'll keep looking!
Annan Gari (Bethany Lutheran college ) 2018-11-10 5:07:04pm
It's fascinating to see how one tragic moment in one's life could change everything. God has a plan for everyone's life and it never fails to amaze me how God enters their life and changes everything. Thanks for sharing.
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-12 1:06:55pm
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Annan. I hope we are able to tell more stories soon!
Molly Plocher (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2018-11-11 9:46:10pm
Dr. Peterson,

I appreciate this trailblazing project of yours. The quick 9ish minutes I listened to reminded me somewhat of the WELS Connection videos, simply as it served as a means for updating the synod members on events happening across the nation and world even. Podcasts are a booming media that is untapped by our synod for means of evangelizing and encouraging. I know I personally will have something playing in the background while I work or do homework and more often than not I am listening to podcasts. Having that avenue available is a quick way to keep updated and encouraged throughout the day. Emails are often overwhelmed and missed and social media is flooded with ads and videos. Seeing as podcasts are a subscription and have to be selected by the user, those who follow should have a higher involvement and retention rate. Thank you for your efforts!
Ted Petersen (Florida Tech) 2018-11-12 1:13:07pm
Thanks, Molly. Listening is definitely different from watching and reading. I think it's important to engage with people in many ways. I appreciate your encouragement.
Estifanos Tsige (Bethany Lutheran College) 2018-11-12 6:55:07pm
It is interesting to here all about this and the ideas are good. It's inspiring to here a lot about Christian stories. You can learn a lot from this. I am glad to read about Christian stories.