By Gary Rohrmayer
I have known Pastor Ryan Huguley of Redemption Bible Church in Arlington Heights for several years now. First as an associate pastor, church planter and now a vital partner with Converge MidAmerica. He is an avid and thoughtful blogger and now in the last year he has launched a great podcast called “In the Room”. He has a great conversational style as he interviews authors, artists, pastors, leaders and professors from a variety of backgrounds. His topics cover a wide range of best practices from preaching with Matt Chandler, to fruitful leadership with Larry Osborn, to raising ministry kids with Elliot Grudem and to the role of a pastor’s wife with Gloria Furman. I appreciate his emphasis on prayer, worship and living out the gospel from an eclectic group of authors and leaders. I have been introduced to leaders and authors I have not heard of before and have now made In the Room part of my weekly routine.
I wanted to turn the page on Ryan by letting him respond to a few questions of my own:
Tell us your faith story and current ministry.
Jesus saved me at the age of six in a sweaty Sunday night service in a small Assemblies of God church in northern California. Since that time God has faithfully kept me, been patient with me and poured out His grace in such a way that continues to lead to my own growth in him.
We planted Redemption Bible Church in February of 2009 – we started with 15 people in a living room, have now been in five locations in five years and have grown into a family of a couple hundred people in pursuit of Jesus together. We currently meet at the Metropolis Theater in downtown Arlington Heights and we’re passionate about helping the next generation become disciples of Jesus.
What was the motivating factor in launching this podcast series?
I started In the Room for largely selfish reasons, to be honest. First, I couldn’t find the type of podcast I enjoyed geared toward ministry leaders. I wanted something that was long form conversational with a wide-diversity of guests. Because I struggled to find one, I figured there must be opportunity for me to do so. I also knew, that it may open doors for me to have conversations with people I otherwise may not be able to. I consider In the Room a major part of my ongoing education. So, I started it for myself, in hopes it would be helpful for others.
How did you come up with the name?
I was sitting with a friend talking about what I wanted the podcast to be, while describing a dinner I had recently been privileged to attend. I was at a table with a group of pastors and leaders I deeply admired and in an off-handed manner I told my friend, “I couldn’t believe I got to be in the room with these people.” He quickly replied, “That’s the name of your podcast!” I thought about it and felt it perfectly captured what I hoped to accomplish-bringing people in the room for my conversations with interesting people.
How do you come up with the ideas for your weekly content?
My show is guest-centered. I look for people who I believe have a level of expertise in an area I’d like to learn from them in and then try to steer the conversation in that direction. I have a deep conviction that I have something to learn from everyone, even if we disagree deeply about a number of things. I’ve learned something significant from every guest I’ve had and hope to continue to in the future.
As a busy pastor in growing church how do you find time for this project?
It requires two things: First, every project needs a place to live – I work into my schedule time to write copy for intros, re-search guests, sketch questions, and record conversations. All in, each episode probably requires roughly 4-5 hours of work. One of the things I’ve learned is that this format fits me naturally. Conversation and interviewing seems fairly easy for me and continues to become easier the more I do it.
Second, I have a small team around me that helps with a lot of the more time consuming lifting. One of our pastors engineers all the audio and another helps me with all the scheduling. I honestly wouldn’t be able to keep it up without them.
What has been the greatest benefit for you personally?
Easy – the diverse group of voices that are pouring into my life through these conversations. I’m talking with people who are experts (though many would probably be uncomfortable being identified as such) at what they do. Each week I’m privileged to have 30-40 minutes to ask them anything I want. It is a gift.
What has been the greatest benefit for your new church?
I believe one of, if not the main thing a church needs, is a healthy and growing pastor. They obviously have the benefit of being able to listen in to these conversations, but I also know that I’m growing and changing as a result of what I’m learning. Both of these benefit Redemption.
Who are some upcoming guests to join you In the Room?
The summer is going to be great. I’ll be with people like Cherie Lowe, Carl Truman, Jen Wilkin, Ed Welch, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Kelly Stanley. We’ll cover everything from getting out of debt, the legacy of Martin Luther, personal Bible study, healthy community, union with Christ and prayer. So much great content coming!
For the sake of His name,
Leader Pastor/Redemption Bible Church