Ethics: Popular Preacher Cancels Podcast Due to Small Audience

What would you do Wednesday!

The following scenario is based on a true event. The names have been changed to protect the guilty – and the innocent!

A friend of yours is the pastor of a church plant. In addition to his pastoral duties he also hosts a podcast a couple times per week. The church faithfully supports and endorses the podcast where your friend addresses theological and cultural issues.

Sometimes on the podcast another man from the church will teach the Bible. Other times, another pastor or author will be a guest where they can discuss a current book, conference, etc. Those guests are normally a pastor-author whose book is recommended for the church plant on a particular issue.

On a recent occasion, your friend scheduled a popular preacher and author whom he looks up to and with whom he shares theological convictions. Your friend contacted this pastor and asked if he would be a guest on the podcast to talk about his latest book and conference. The popular pastor asked a few theological questions of your friend and then said he would be a guest on the show.

All was well until two days before the show. The popular pastor forgot to ask an important question. So Pastor Popular sent an email asking your friend how many people listen to the podcast.

Your friend explained that this podcast is a new ministry, several months old, and the number of listeners is around 300.

Pastor Popular emailed back to cancel two days before his scheduled appearance politely explaining that the audience was too small to be worth his time. Your friend had already publicly advertised this guest appearance.

What should your friend do?

  • Go on with the show stating the guest had a last minute change of plans.
  • Go on with the show revealing what really happened and make that the topic.
  • Explain what really happened and how evil the guest is and blog about him the whole next week.
  • Or…
Let's connect!

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 C.M. Cole March 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

continue with the show, discussing the topic as planned, unless unable to do so. If that is the case, then number one would have to be the option.

Two and three sink to the “it’s about me, not God” mentality of the scheduled guest, I believe.
If another guest can make an appearance (whether from the church, or wherever), bring them in to have a two-way conversation.

At no time point fingers and blame on ‘popular preacher’. Integrity is important; pettiness is not.

2 Mark March 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

C.M., do you think others should know of the attitude of this pastor be communicating what happened in a neutral way?

3 Larry March 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Continue the podcast and discuss the planned topic but let the audience know up front why the previously announced guest is not appearing. After all, since it’s such a small insignificant audience, I’m sure he won’t mind. 🙂

4 Howell Scott March 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Since the guest pastor indicated why he was backing out of his previously scheduled commitment, I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning (in passing without making a big deal about it) why there has been a last minute change. However, I would not make his poor excuse the focus of the podcast. If the pastor of the church plant wanted to still discuss the other pastor’s book and conference, then I think that would be perfectly appropriate. It would be tempting to do #3, but I’m not sure that would be the gracious thing to do. Even if the other pastor displayed a lack of grace in canceling because of the “small audience,” I would not address that issue on the podcast in question. If the church planter wanted to discuss the issue of audience size in relation to it being “worth the time,” then that might better be saved for another time. Always enjoy your ethics questions. Hope all is well with you. God bless,


5 Dave Miller March 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Heard a well known preacher say, ” A man too big to speak at a small church is too small to speak at any church!”

6 Christiane March 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

best not to be a judge for the ‘popular’ pastor . . .
nor to expose him

as long as the popular pastor is not attacking or hurting innocent folks, he is best left to God’s help

praying for the man privately is the most productive thing,
but it must be done with some charity because of just how difficult life may become
for the popular pastor before he learns what is truly important in the Kingdom of Our Lord

7 Sergius Martin-George March 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Wow — that’s just appalling. Tullian should be ashamed of himself.

8 Mark March 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Sergius, it wasn’t Tullian and I hope you’re not coming here trying to throw him under the bus.

9 Jamie Robertson May 8, 2013 at 2:38 am

Definitely let the audience know why popular pastor canceled, then drop it and continue on.


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