July 10, 2020

More Than 1,000 Podcasts on Faith, Health, and Hope

Jefferson Paradello, South America Division, and Adventist Review

Beatriz de Oliveira is rarely in a silent environment. On a regular day, her routine includes music she listens to through her headphones or the speakers of her smartphone. In the past few years, however, de Oliveira has added another type of content: audio podcasts.

Until relatively recently, the podcast format was little known in Brazil but has become increasingly popular for both listeners and new producers. A 2019 survey commissioned by the Deezer platform revealed that on-demand radio use in Brazil increased 67 percent in one year. The study included data from streaming services such as Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

According to Adventist media leaders, this growth has become an opportunity to share the church’s message of hope to other audiences.

“The Adventist Church is attentive to the growth of this technology and decided to invest in it,” said Carlos Magalhães, manager of Adventist digital strategies across eight South American countries.

As a result of this strategic move, in early July 2020, the Adventist Church launched 7Cast, a platform that brings together podcast productions from church members, pastors, and church institutions.

South American Division communication director Rafael Rossi said he believes it is essential that the Adventist Church make the most of the new tools as opportunities for mission.

“Around the world, there is a huge growth in the use of podcasts. With 7Cast, we created a platform that integrates everything that was already being produced, as we also plan to invest in new productions according to the needs.”

Podcast Advantages

Podcasts bring to audio the flexibility and transformation that TV streaming services brought to TV a few years ago. Audio files can be listened to wherever and whenever, and as many times, as the listener desires. At the same time, it allows ordinary people — not just institutions or media channels — to produce their own content and develop their audience on very specific subjects, such as, for instance, astronomy or artificial intelligence.

In Brazil, one of the oldest and best known programs by Adventist Church members is BibleCast. Hosted by pastors Diego Barreto and José Flores Junior, it explores topics on theology, Christianity, and spirituality. It was the first podcast de Oliveira came in contact with.

“A friend referred me to a Facebook group called Heroes of BibleCast. I saw the description, got interested, and started listening,” she said.

7Cast was born with a similar goal as Feliz7Play, the Adventist Church video platform in South America — to share hope with other people. The difference between the two, Magalhães explained, is in the format and the fact that in 7Cast new content is added daily.

Hope Anywhere, Anytime

Every podcast goes through a selection process, Magalhães said. To qualify, it must have spiritual, educational, or intellectual value. “We wouldn’t like options that just focus, for instance, on entertainment. They must follow the greater goal of helping the listener in some area of his life.”

Soon it will be possible to submit proposals for evaluation. If approved, they will be included on 7Cast. The biggest challenge, according to Magalhães, is generating new and relevant content. More than 15 different categories are available, which now include more than 1,000 episodes for free.

When de Oliveira started listening to podcasts, what caught her attention was how close she felt to the podcasts hosts and their relaxed approach to mostly difficult topics. Also, de Oliveira found podcasts extremely practical, as she found she was able to listen as she was cooking or exercising.

For her, 7Cast is a great idea.

“We lead a busy life and sometimes overlook what is important,” de Oliveira said. “This new option will allow me and many others to connect with God during the day, finding essential time for reflecting even as we go our way.”

Content is available not only on 7Cast but also on most popular platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Deezer.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.