There are a lot of great parenting resources out there…but this podcast is different. It seems to be exactly what many people are looking for and that brings Arkansas pastor, Jen Evans, great joy. And that joy just keeps on stirring inside.
The podcast Parents Take Five was a long-time calling that took shape and dropped its very first episode in February of 2019. This venture came from a deep need Jen saw in the lives of the busy parents and families around her who struggled to keep laundry done, meals cooked, and still insisted that their family’s faithfulness needed to be tended to even with little available time. As a parent herself, Jen knew that while there were great faith-focused resources available for parenting in general, there didn’t seem to be much available for busy parents. She loves resources and knows of some amazing parenting and faith-focused books and podcasts but she was finding that parents were still not feeling an overwhelming sense of support. These resources were there but not meeting the very real time constraint needs of many parents. They wanted good information about being a parent and a faithful family but they needed it in-between snack time and soccer practice drop off.
“Thanks for doing this. It is so helpful. I appreciate how authentic and willing you are to admit
your own struggles in parenting. This is not true of most resources.”
-Apple podcast review from “parenting partner”
“This podcast is so helpful and encouraging and the perfect length for busy parents on the go!!”
-Apple podcast review from “Arkanlaw”
As Jen dug deeper, she found that parents felt guilty when they didn’t have time to read these books or listen to the lengthier podcasts. They were frustrated when they were part of a book club that read one chapter at a time only to still feel like they could never attain what the author was suggesting. So, instead of offering a book study where they read one chapter a time, she found a way to take the same information from these same knowledgeable sources and pack them into bite-sized podcast episodes.
Now, bite-sized podcasts aren’t a new phenomenon. So what makes this one so different? Like many podcasts, Jen has episodes where she speaks by herself as the host and shares her own insights as a faithful parent. Unlike a lot of podcasts though, she honestly shares her own struggles and concerns. This vulnerability is one of the reasons listeners have found themselves drawn more and more to Parents Take Five. While confident and professional advice is always appreciated, we can all agree that it feels so nice as a parent to know that you’re not alone in the difficult and hardness of raising faithful kids.
Jen has found a balance between these two needs by bringing her own voice to the table as well as those licensed and experienced voices. In between her own episodes, she welcomes pastors, mental health professionals, and authors to the mic to share quick bites of some of their best and most helpful information for parents. MaryAnn McKibben Dana, author of Sabbath in the Suburbs and God, Improv, and the Art of Living, joined a couple of episodes to talk about the importance of improvising in parenting (episodes 9 and 13). The executive presbyter of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, Aisha BrooksLytle, shared what she felt parents needed to hear most in the midst of a COVID summer in August of 2020 (episode 53). And in the middle of all these very serious conversations, Jen always makes the space for listeners to have fun, laugh, and enjoy learning new things! For example, actor and comedian, DJ Pryor, spent multiple episodes cracking jokes all while diving deep into how he could go from being a present dad to an active dad and how he models faith for his own children even when they’re “pluckin’ our nerves” (episodes 58 and 59).
After finally landing on this helpful format, a lot of prayer, a ton of discernment, and talking with family and friends (and finding a producer), Jen was ready. But only after having a few Moses and Jonah moments. Her producer and husband gave her the final vote of confidence that she needed to be brave and vulnerable as she began this adventure and Parents Take Five was launched on a trial basis.
Jen’s commitment from the beginning has been that she will continue with Parents Take Five as long as the need continues to be there because she absolutely loves planning, creating, and hosting. She has never been deeply concerned with the “numbers” around the podcast. Her producer keeps up with the monthly listenership and the ins-and-outs of her website but Jen specifically doesn’t lean on the details of listeners and downloads. She started this podcast because God called her to fill a need. Not because God called her to reach five million listeners. In Jen’s mind, if this venture is reaching and helping those that need it, then it’s successful! She’s excited to see how God will continue to use Parents Take Five.
“I have learned so much from listeners, guests, and the many parents
and church workers that I’ve met as a result.
It offers a place to be authentic by sharing my own parenting struggles
as we attempt to model faithful discipleship.” -Rev. Jen Evans