The Naked Preacher Podcast
“Preachers Are Anxious” with Pastor Steve Cuss

“Preachers Are Anxious” with Pastor Steve Cuss

July 19, 2021

At this point in my vocational journey, I'm pretty sure that any preacher who tells you she or he never gets anxious is either A) Lying, or B) Not doing their job right. Honestly, I just think anxiety comes with the human experience. And that's good news, because it means it's something common to us all, and even though it can sometimes seem overwhelming, we can learn to manage it.

Steve Cuss wants to help us do just that. Steve is a minister, himself, and he's also struggled with anxiety throughout his life. Instead of letting anxiety be a burden, though, Steve has made it a part of his spiritual journey, asking, "What does my anxiousness say about my faith?," and he's become somewhat of an expert in understanding anxiety and how we, as leaders and people in general, can manage it.

As someone who has struggled mightily with anxiety and its management, I was thrilled to sit down for this conversation with Steve. Our time together was a blessing for me, and unless you're a minister who's either A) Lying, or B) Not doing your job right, I bet you'll find it helpful, too.

Learn more about Steve on his website,, check out his book, Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs, and listen to his podcast here. Also, if you would like to participate in the online community Steve has cultivated to help ministers and other leaders manage anxiety, learn about it at

“Preachers Grieve” with Rev. Dr. Tony Cartledge

“Preachers Grieve” with Rev. Dr. Tony Cartledge

July 5, 2021

Losing someone is painful. Often, the best route through that pain is to talk about it.

But what if you're a preacher? Is talking about the pain of grief ok? Is it "safe" to speak about the questions and frustrations of loss in front of those you serve--especially if you're the one who's supposed to be the "pillar of strength" who has all the answers?

In Dr. Tony Cartledge's case, the answer was, "Yes." Tony suffered a tragic loss decades ago when he and his daughter, Bethany, were hit by a drunk driver; sadly, Bethany didn't survive. A pastor at the time, Tony had to navigate his grief while serving a congregation. His story is one of love, patience, and grace, and in many ways it demonstrates how pastors and their congregations can work through dark and painful situations together.

In addition to pastoring churches, Tony has written several books and currently serves as a Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, NC, and writes articles and curriculum for Good Faith Media (formerly Nurturing Faith).

“Preachers Are Women” with Rev. Leah Anderson Reed, Rev. Emily Hull McGee, and Rev. Amy McClure

“Preachers Are Women” with Rev. Leah Anderson Reed, Rev. Emily Hull McGee, and Rev. Amy McClure

June 21, 2021

I don't know where I'd be if God didn't call women to ministry. My life has been immeasurably impacted by women God has equipped to be pastors; their shepherding has helped guide me to the fulfillment and faith I enjoy today.

Not everybody has had an experience like mine, however; some women, in fact, have been taught that it is against God's nature to call them for this sacred work, and that can make their journey into ministry uniquely difficult.

Thankfully, however, God's call is fierce, and I'm blessed to have women friends who have pursued it no matter what others might think. Three of those friends--Rev. Leah Anderson Reed, Rev. Emily Hull McGee, and Rev. Amy McClure--join me today to talk about their experience as women in ministry. Hopefully their stories will give insight for those of us who've never had to fight battles in defending our calls, as well as inspiration to any women who might listen who are wrestling with a call, themselves.

Learn more about Emily and Amy here, and learn more about Leah here.

“Preachers Run” with Rev. Mike Womble

“Preachers Run” with Rev. Mike Womble

June 7, 2021

Despite what many may think, ministry can be a physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing gig. If those who have dedicated their lives to caring for others aren't careful, they can forget the importance of caring for themselves, and something that used to give them life can quickly drain it.

That's not a problem for Rev. Mike Womble, a good friend with whom I am blessed to serve at Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. I've been in awe of Mike since I first met him and learned that he runs ultra marathons.

But Mike's not necessarily the type of guy you envision when you think "ultra-marathoner"--he's not guzzling protein shakes, bragging about mile times, or listening to the Rocky theme on loop. Simply put, Mike just runs.

Recently, Mike completed a race that is unimaginable to me--a 100K (62.1 miles). Today, he joins me to talk about that experience, as well as what led him to start running and how it has affected his overall health as a minister.

Give it a listen, and be inspired to go out and take care of yourself, too (whether that means pounding the pavement, yourself, or just eating one less bag of Doritos each week).

Learn more about Mike here.

“Preachers Experience Trauma” with Rev. Jakob Topper

“Preachers Experience Trauma” with Rev. Jakob Topper

May 24, 2021

Sadly, traumatic events--such as abuse--are common in our society. And even more sadly, we rarely create spaces where victims of such trauma feel safe and welcome to share their experiences without shame. The result is that many walk around carrying burdens they didn't ask for and don't deserve, but they hold them and hide them because they're terrified of what might happen if they let the world see.

These people are everywhere--even in our churches. And they're not just in the pews; sometimes, victims of trauma are standing right behind the pulpit.

So what would happen if one such preacher dared to share their story of abuse so that others might feel safe and empowered to open up about their own? That's a question Rev. Jakob Topper (North Haven Church; Norman, Oklahoma) can help us answer. Jakob, himself a trauma survivor, has been open about his experience in front of his church, and he's joining the show today to share what it was like to assume that posture, and what happened because he did.

Hopefully, our discussion can not only encourage trauma victims to know they aren't alone, but also challenge those in positions of power to create safe spaces where survivors do feel permission to come forward and speak about their own pain.

Jakob is a proud ally of those who have endured abuse, and he invites anyone who has, and who needs someone to talk to, to contact him via email at

“Preachers Are Characters” with Dr. Clyde Edgerton

“Preachers Are Characters” with Dr. Clyde Edgerton

May 10, 2021

Like any other group of people, it's unfair to paint preachers with a broad brush. Truth be told, we run the gamut from good to bad, helpful to hurtful, wise to flat-out weird, and we can sometimes seem stranger than fiction.

Well, almost.

That's where Clyde Edgerton comes in. Clyde is an acclaimed author, the writer of 10 novels and two autobiographical books. He's had his work adapted for other mediums such as film and stage, and he's been honored with a barrage of awards and recognitions that have helped distinguish him as one of the most successful and entertaining authors active today.

A product of the south and plenty of Sundays spent in church, Clyde often finds preachers creeping into his stories, and in this episode he sits down with me to talk about what makes them such interesting characters to write. It's one of the most fun conversations I've had in a while. Give it a listen, and who knows? You might just find that someone from Clyde's gallery of preachers sounds a lot like you...

Learn more about Clyde here, and definitely be sure to check out some of his books. Your sermons, and your funny bone, with thank you.

“Preachers Talk Race” with Pastor Dorian Daniels

“Preachers Talk Race” with Pastor Dorian Daniels

April 26, 2021

Race can be a frightening issue for preachers to tackle, especially in such polarized times as ours. Nevertheless, it's an important issue that demands attention if we are to create deeper understanding and equity in our society--not to mention a community that more accurately reflects the colorful Kingdom of God.

So how do preachers talk about race?

To help him explore the question, Paul welcomes his friend and fellow pastor Dorian Daniels on the podcast. You're invited to listen in as Paul, a white minister, and Dorian, a black minister, talk about their friendship, the challenge of speaking about race in church, and ideas on how preachers can do it in ways that challenge others, but also encourage them to build cross-racial relationships and community.



Season 2 Teaser

Season 2 Teaser

April 23, 2021

Much like those who only show up at Christmas and Easter, it's been a while since you've heard from me, but the Naked Preacher Podcast is back!

Season 2 is officially on the way, with new episodes dropping every two weeks starting Monday, April 26. To hear what's coming up, check out this quick teaser, and be sure to subscribe so new episodes will hit your feed soon!

“Preachers Are Vulnerable” with Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

“Preachers Are Vulnerable” with Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

January 28, 2021

This episode is a re-publish of the inaugural "Naked Preacher Podcast" show! I just had a great conversation yesterday with 16 colleagues in ministry which reminded me of the value of vulnerability. We all need one another in this life and, as humans, crave spaces where we can be our authentic selves. This podcast is dedicated to all those "people of the cloth" who help make their churches such spaces for the sake of their congregation, even when it means taking a little risk!

PS - I promise, new episodes are on the way soon!

“Preachers Are Funny” with Rev. Susan Sparks

“Preachers Are Funny” with Rev. Susan Sparks

November 12, 2018

Stop me if you’ve heard this one—a lawyer, a pastor, and a stand-up comic walk into a church…


Then you’ve never heard of Susan Sparks, who is not only a lawyer, and not only a preacher, but also a bonafide comedian, and she’s joining me today to help me talk about the value of humor in ministry.  It’s not always easy to pull off, and it requires some vulnerability, but if used well, humor can be a powerful tool in the minister’s workshop.

Susan is the Pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City, and she is the author of the book, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor. Learn more about Susan here.

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