Father Mike Schmitz (SPS Class of 2003) and Jeff Cavins (discipleship specialist and founder of the Catechetical Institute at SPS) shocked the podcast world – and themselves — when their “Bible in a Year” show topped the Apple charts in every category. We sat down with Jeff to get his reaction.
It was last year that Father Mike came up with this idea that he wanted to, he wanted to read the Bible in a year and give some commentary on it. And Ascension got us together and said, “What do you think? Can we do this?” And he wants to read through the Bible in a year using The Great Adventure methodology. Well, the idea here was to take that to a new level, take every book of the Bible, put it in its proper narrative place, and then read every single day. And then that’s what Father does. And then I come in and I, I’m kind of the trail guide. I help people navigate every period, what’s gonna be tough, what’s gonna be complex, and how to successfully go about reading through that period.
Well, it was December that we really got all of that kind of done, you know, as far as like the first month or so. And we were gonna launch on January 1st and I think it was just right after January 1st, we got a call from our producer saying, “You’re number one in the country.” And both of us were like, “What?”
So I think that people are desperate to know God’s story in the midst of it. And I also think that there is a renewed hunger in the Catholic church for scripture.
And I said, “You mean number one Catholic podcast?” She said, “No.” I said, “Number one religion?” “No. All of them, you’re number one.” We said, “You’re kidding.” So both of us went on to Apple and we looked it up and sure enough, there was Father Mike’s mug. Why they chose him, I do not know. But it was No. 1 in the country and it blew us away. And it stayed number one for almost all of January. And of course, it was number one above Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, all the mystery and murder podcasts and all that.
And I think that, number one, it was humbling for both of us. Number two, it really spoke of some of two things. One, someone other than us is at work here. And that is, I believe, the Holy Spirit who is calling people to that which does not change, which is God in the midst of so much chaos and COVID going on. So I think that people are desperate to know God’s story in the midst of it. And I also think that there is a renewed hunger in the Catholic church for scripture. And we’ve been seeing this all around the world, Catholics studying the Bible, not just studying a little Bible study, but going deep into Bible study with The Great Adventure. And so, I think it’s a new day for Catholic Bible studies. And I think that the Bible in a Year podcast kind of opened the door there for even greater things down the road.