In this wide-ranging episode, Jamie and Kent sit down with Bob Smietana, a veteran news reporter and author of Reorganized Religion: The Reshaping of the American Church and Why It Matters. Together they discuss why people are leaving American churches, examine the loss of resources from current trends (and scandals), and talk about what we can do to continue moving forward.

Listen to learn more about:
  • Crises that Jamie and Kent are not prepared for—like cat-worshiping cults.

  • The changing landscape of religion in America; it's not your grandmother’s church anymore.

  • How churches and denominations are collaborating to get things done at the local level.

  • As resources become more scarce, how can churches and nonprofits effectively weigh the cost-benefit factor?

  • Bob’s thoughts on actions we can each take towards “doing better, faithfully.”

  • Bob’s tips for excellent storytelling, whether your audience is church members, donors, or readers.

Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles, and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and websites. His book on the changing face of the American Church was recently named to Christianity Today’s 2023 Book Awards. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a must-read for anyone invested in the fate of the American church.”


Reorganized Religion: The Reshaping of the American Church and Why it Matters

Bob’’s recent piece on “The Better Samaritan” blog: The Organized Kindness of Strangers, and Why It’s in Danger

Bob’s article “Apocalypse Meow

Bob’s website:


This episode was produced by WildfireCreative

Theme Song: “Turning Over Tables” by The Brilliance

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Follow us on Twitter: @drjamieaten | @kentannan

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(Note to the listener: In this podcast, sometimes we'll have Evangelicals, and sometimes we won't. Learning how to do better involves listening to many perspectives with different insights and understanding. Sometimes it will make us uncomfortable, sometimes, we'll agree, and sometimes we won't. We think that's good. We want to listen for correction– Especially in our blind spots.)