040 – Are you enrolled in “Auto University?” [Podcast]

Make your commute your classroom

photo credit: epilepsynyc


Welcome to Season 1 Episode 40 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode I have borrowed a term that I have often heard Dan Miller use on his 48 Days to the Work You Love podcast: “Auto University.”



As a passionate life-long learner, I have sometimes joked that I am a “training junkie.”  I love to learn new things, gain new skills, and grow in my understanding–especially if it enables me to grow in my ability to fulfill my life’s mission as an intentional explorer seeking to bless, encourage, and empower others on their journey of faith.

I have been blessed, for most of the past 3 decades, to live in an area where live training events abound.  I am also blessed, in my current role, to have a budget that allows me to travel to a few selected live training events around the country each year.

But not every pastor and church leader is so fortunate.  Limitations of geography and/or budgets eliminate many opportunities to be “in the room” for continuing training and education.

Thank the Lord for technology.  With all the online and virtual resources that are available, many training events, even live ones, are as close as your computer.

But you may be missing out on one of the most effective and convenient classroom settings that many of you pass through every day: your car!  I want to encourage you to enroll in “Auto University” and intentionally transform your drive time into grow time.


Benefits of Auto University:

  • No matriculation costs, no applications, no prerequisite courses required. You are fully enrolled the moment you decide to start.
  • No course specific supplies to purchase.  Use the car, CD player, and smart phone you already have.
  • No schedule to maintain.  Start when your drive time begins.  Pause when you arrive at your destination.  When you start driving again, pick up where you left off.
  • Unlimited supply of resources.  You could not, in several lifetimes, listen to everything that is currently available.  And new resources are released every day!


Top Resources for Auto University:

  • Audiobooks. Books are available on CD or as digital downloads.  Most of my audiobooks on CD come from Half Price Books or from the clearance rack at a retail bookstore.  If I am going to pay full price, I will most likely purchase a digital version that I can download to my phone.  That allows me the flexibility of listening at other times besides in the car (working in the yard, exercising, etc).  I use both Audiobooks and Audible.
  • Podcasts.  Searchable in iTunes or Stitcher Radio or in whatever podcast listening app you would choose to use on your smartphone.  If you have an iPhone with IOS 8 or later, you have the Podcasts app already on your phone.  I personally have been using the Downcast app for over a year and I like it a lot. I have included links below for podcast apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows phone.


Top Decisions for Auto University:

  • The Enrollment Decision. This is where you decide to make your drive time an intentional growth and learning time.
  • The Limitation Decision.  Before you decide what you are going to listen to, you have to decide what you are going to limit or eliminate.  There have been times in my adult life that my drive times have been filled with music, Christian radio programming, talk radio, or sports radio.  Those are now rare occasions because of how I have decided to primarily use the time.  You will need to develop a rhythm that is reasonable for you.
  • The Curriculum Decision.  So what will you listen to?  If you are a pastor, the temptation will be to listen to sermon podcasts and Christian living audiobooks.  There is nothing wrong with that.  You may be encouraged and inspired, but you may not actually be learning anything.  I encourage you to find some podcasts that focus on leadership issues, entrepreneurial and business issues, personal growth and development, communication and social media.  Learn some things that they don’t teach in seminary or bible college.  Listen to some fiction to challenge your creativity and story telling abilities.  Get our of your comfort zone. I have included a list below to all the podcasts to which I currently subscribe. There are a few that I will mention because I listen to almost every episode.  Those are:


Which of these decisions needs to happen next for you to further your education in “Auto University?”  What other resources have you found helpful?  What can I do to assist you?




Resources mentioned in this episode:

The six best podcast apps for Android (from androidcentral.com)

Best podcast apps for iPhone (imore.com)

Best podcasts apps for Windows phone (windowscentral.com)


Podcasts to which I currently subscribe (in addition to those already mentioned):


To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, argumentative, off-topic, or just plain unhelpful.