At Faith Formation Ministries, we’re wondering: how is our faith formed in day-to-day life? We’re excited to explore that question and more in our new podcast Open to Wonder. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or listen online at anchor.fm/open-to-wonder.
In Season 1, “Beyond Sunday,” hosts Karen De Boer and Chris Schoon ask guests about the people and experiences that have shaped their faith, outside of the church’s programs and walls. Our first episode is already out, with the rest releasing throughout October. In the meantime, get to know Karen and Chris in these behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making of the first season of Open to Wonder.
What has been a highlight of the podcast production process?
Karen: I’m all about the research, so I’ve loved learning about everything that goes into making a good podcast great. Part of that research may or may not have involved me lying on the floor under my daughter’s desk so that I could listen undetected during the online podcasting course she was taking.
Chris: I think I had two highlights. The first was simply being able to have substantive, meaningful conversations with our guests. So often when we interact with each other in church leadership contexts, there’s an agenda guiding us, with decisions that we need to make. Here, we were able to meander a bit more and discover together what surfaced just in setting aside time to have an intentional conversation. I find myself looking for more and more of these spaces now. Second, I was surprised by how often ideas about slowing down and becoming attentive to God and the people and places around us came out in the conversations. We didn’t plan that for this season, but “attentiveness” kept coming up. And after we wrapped up the interviews I found myself asking, “What does it look like for me to be attentive?” “Where do I see God working around me, or even in me, right now?”
Where do you record the episodes? Can you give us a verbal tour of the space (or spaces)?
Karen: I’m in my home office sitting in front of a wall that’s covered in kid-created art and behind an old dining table that I use as a desk (if you sense me wincing during the podcast it’s because I’ve gotten my legs stuck in the rungs between the pedestals again). I’d describe the remainder of the room as “messy-chic.” Emphasis on messy.
Chris: During our test runs, I started recording on our back porch, which overlooks a marsh area with lots of wildlife. It's a really inviting space that feels like a great setting for the types of conversations we were planning to have. But we discovered pretty quickly that one of the redwing blackbirds was a little too enamored with me sitting on the porch and talking. When we played back the test recordings, we kept laughing because of the bird singing and squawking away in the background. So I switched over to recording in my office, which is not near as scenic, but also doesn’t run the risk of a talkative bird interrupting our interviews.
What do you hope listeners will take away from this season?
Karen: Each of our guests shared inspiring stories and practical ideas. I hope listeners leave wondering, “Where and how might God be calling me to be more attentive?” I know I am!
Chris: There are so many possibilities! Each of our guests had so many rich stories and ideas that they shared. I guess my hope is that our listeners don’t just listen, but actually find something in the conversation that they can respond to. Maybe some encouragement to wonder what a more holistic, more intergenerational, more lifelong way of following Jesus could look like in their own lives.
Karen DeBoer serves as Creative Resource Developer for Faith Formation Ministries, with whom she gathers ministry resources for online toolkits; creates family resources for Dwell at Home; and shares faith forming stories and ideas at The Network. The parents of four daughters, Karen and her husband live in Kitchener, Ontario.
Chris Schoon serves as the Director of Faith Formation Ministries. Chris loves walking alongside others as they seek to grow in their calling and capacity to follow Jesus Christ. Along with contributing regularly to The Banner and Reformed Worship, Chris is the author of Cultivating an Evangelistic Character (Wipf & Stock, 2018), which explores worship and discipleship in the missional church movement. He is married to Hennie, and they have four children. When opportunity allows, Chris enjoys hiking, board games, and backyard BBQs.