As the digital landscape continues to transcend, the typical content creator continues to evolve with more faith-based thought leaders and pastors stepping into the forefront. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, younger individuals’ belief in a “high power” or God has grown in recent years. A person heavily involved in the Christian content creation community who has generated a strong presence and amassed a large following on social media and YouTube in the last few years is Pastor Tim Ross, known for his podcast, Welcome to the Basement. His show is focused on creating a “real, vulnerable, and honest” space that allows him to “provide mentorship.” He chatted with Blavity about the duality of being a Christian and creative and his new book, named after his podcast.

The California native has been a devoted believer since 1996 when he gave his life to Christ. He moved to Dallas in 1997 unsure of his career direction since he was dabbling in rapping, poetry, comedy, miming and preaching. As a jack of all trades, he was unsure which one would take off until it was clear to him that the best route was teaching.

“By the time I was 25, 26, I knew that, you know, the doors for like teaching and preaching were the ones that were open the most,” Ross told Blavity. “And so I kind of ran through those — young adult pastor for four years, from 30 to 35, and then itinerant speaker for a long time. And then a lead pastor for seven years.”

Ross admitted that he never saw himself as a podcaster, so it surprised him that hosting a podcast was his next assignment. Although the concept of “The Basement” was introduced to the public in June 2022, the entrepreneur created the concept in his early 30s that was only known to the people who knew him intimately like family, friends and clients.

“I’ve always had this philosophy of the basement since I was 30, and I thought it was just gonna be something I shared with the people that I had more intimate relationships with, but when I felt the Holy Spirit was like, ‘I need you to start a podcast and I need to be called ‘the basement’ and the same way you have mentored and disciplined people privately, that’s the way I need you to now speak publicly.’ So I was like, I’m about to get canceled,” he said with a grin.

Since he wasn’t invested in the podcast industry, he didn’t step into the new space God called him with a strategic mindset. It was more of him following what he believed he was led to do in the spiritual realm. His audio platform doesn’t focus on a specific topic, so his fanbase is diverse, which is great since his discussions and words of wisdom are for the everyday person.

“So a hundred percent of all the content on our podcast was generated from a question that was directly asked to me, so this it’s not like I get up in the morning and tell my producers, ‘Hey, get me five topics that are hot right now and let me riff on them,”’ Ross said. “Like, we got people that are either sending us comments live on Monday, or they’re sending us voice notes on Instagram, or they’re sending us voice notes through email. And so we get to hear their voice. We get to hear a young man, a young woman literally tell us where they are right now.”

His raw approach and dabbling outside the bounds many religious leaders wouldn’t dare to go has likely contributed to the success because it isn’t your typical Christian platform as no topic is off limits.

“I’m not batting a thousand out here, I’m not perfect, but I do want us to be as honest about the conversations that we were having as the Bible is because the Bible’s pretty straightforward with all the stuff that went on with the people in it,” he said. “And for some reason, a lot of Christians don’t wanna be as honest as the Bible that they read.”

Ross went on to say people want to hear what the Bible says without being told exactly how to live their lives because everyone has free will.

“When you read the Bible, people are making decisions if they wanna follow Jesus or not. Jesus ain’t walking down the street punking people into no relationship with him, right,” he said. “And so people are tired of hearing that kind of religious narrative in the social media space. They don’t wanna hear nobody telling them this is what you better do. Like the whole Bible is choose who you want and then live with your decision, you know?”

His podcast has led him to expand to the world of publishing as he is now an author. On Feb, 27, he released his book Welcome To The Basement, titled after his podcast. He says it’s the ultimate guide on “how to give [your]self permission to partner with the Holy Spirit.”

“Once we realized that the basement had caught on, like it did, that people were like really metabolizing the philosophy and they’re like, we wanna live out this life. I thought it was important for people to now have a manual, right,” Ross said about the book’s inspiration. “It’s one thing to listen to the episodes and have my voice in their ear. It’s another thing to be able to read the pages.”

He continued, “So I want people to have a manual because I want people to be able to like it in a different way, read the words, and be able to apply it to their life so that they have the full understanding of what it means to live an upset life by having a basement philosophy.”

To summarize Ross’ book, he shared the three biggest takeaways he believes readers will note after reading it.

“The first one is that you must have your life turned upside down by the message of love and hope for Jesus Christ,” he said. “The second is that you need to disturb the piece. P-I-E-C-E, not P-E-A-C-E. We all need a piece of us disturbed that doesn’t align with God’s plans for our lives. And the third is to go out and upset others.”

Ross is embarking on a book tour in several cities until late March to meet his supporters. Another tour will commence in the summer as well. To tune into Ross’ Welcome to the Basement podcast, new shows are dropped air on Mondays and Wednesdays on the B Side App and YouTube.