From IWU Magazine, Summer 2014 edition

(Pod)casting His Net

Robb McCoy ’99 creates weekly podcast to reach an even wider congregation.

 Story by SARAH (ZELLER) JULIAN ’07

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Robb McCoy ’99 is finding news ways to expand his spiritual messages beyond the bricks, mortar and stained glass of a traditional church.

Robb (along with fellow pastor Eric Fistler) started podcasting a year ago, in addition to his full-time job as associate pastor at Riverside United Methodist Church in Moline, Ill. “We wanted to create a podcast that would be accessible, yet rooted in good scholarship,” he said. “We called it Pulpit Fiction because we both loved the movie Pulp Fiction.

The content, he said, attracts a wide audience. “We try to talk about the Biblical texts in a way that is deeply rooted in the best of modern scholarship, so it can help inspire and inform other preachers. Yet we also want it to be a conversation that anyone can enjoy, even if they haven’t been to seminary.” The podcast has included interviews with several influential authors of religious texts.

His favorite part of the experience is the community it has created. “People correspond with us on different social media and tell us about ways that they shared our ideas or have deeper questions,” he explained. “It’s pretty crazy to think that on a good Sunday, I might preach to 300 people, but every week a couple thousand people listen to our podcast.”

Robb, who met his wife Sarah (Sechrest) McCoy ’01 while studying history at Wesleyan, said his time as an undergraduate has had a life-long impact. “My education at IWU was so much deeper than pure academic learning,” he said. “I learned how to ask questions. I learned how to dig deeper and think critically. I learned how to relate to people who were different than me and how to motivate myself when no one else would. I learned how to meet deadlines and take criticism.”

Having begun his career in ministry 12 years ago as a church youth director, Robb said he continues to look toward the future. “I first heard the calling to ministry in high school, and although I didn’t follow a direct line into ministry, it was always in the back of my mind,” he said.

“Ministry is a journey, and I hope I’m always moving onward. I’m drawn every day to love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with God.”

 To listen to Pulpit Fiction podcasts, click here.