Slow Living, with Jodi Grubbs

Slow Living, with Jodi Grubbs

How can moments of slow living create an island of peace in our daily lives?

How can moments of slow living create an island of peace in our daily lives? Jodi Grubbs is a slow living advocate and host of the Our Island in the City podcast. Here are some of the ways we can slow down and connect in the midst of our busy lives.

Transcript (click to open)

Kay Helm 0:05
This is Episode 61 of the life and mission podcast. I’m Kay Helm. And today My guest is Jodi Grubbs, host of the our island in the city podcast. And Jodi was just a real joy to talk to we talked about slow living. And man, doesn’t that sound good? Being able to relax, just wherever you’re at, just to kind of slow down and find, as she says, your island, in the city, wherever you’re at, how do you do that? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about in just a minute. But before we get to the interview, I want to thank Katie Horner for sponsoring the podcast for this month of April. She’s got a virtual business retreat going on, and I’m gonna let her tell you a little bit about that right now. And then we’ll be back with my interview with Jody grubs.

Jodi 0:57
Are you stuck in your office spinning your wheels? Is it time for you to get away from your business so you can focus on the business, maybe a retreat. I’m Katie Horner of the four year success podcast. And though my husband and I started out in full time ministry, living well below the poverty line, our six figure business now gives us ministry opportunities that far outweigh the ones we had in full time ministry. Join me and my husband tap on April 30. At the get out of the boat, Christian business virtual retreat, to recharge your batteries. And let us show you how fun it can be to walk out your faith in your business with joy and confidence. Because doing the business that God created you to do can be your best worship. To get out of the boat. Christian business retreat is April 30, from 11am to 7pm. And you can attend from anywhere online. We can’t wait to see you there. You can get all the info and register for your ticket right now at get out of the

Kay Helm 1:55
Well, HI, JODI, welcome to the live admission podcast.

Jodi 1:59
Hi, Kay, how are you today?

Kay Helm 2:03
I am very well. Thank you. We were just laughing about how our homes and our offices are situated between firehouse on one side and train tracks on the other. We have the same situation.

Jodi 2:18
We sure do. That was so funny to find out.

Kay Helm 2:20
Yeah, podcaster problems. Right. Jodi, you’re the host of the Our Island in the City podcast. And you are a gather of people and stories. You are a former island girl, which is where the name of that podcast comes from. But I know we want to kind of see how all of that fits together. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Sure.

Jodi 2:44
Thank you, Kay. So I’m Jodi and I live outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. I live in a small restored bungalow with my husband and teen daughter. And we downsized A few years ago, we just wanted to keep doing this simpler, slower lifestyle. And that was our next step. But I wasn’t Island girl for 16 years on the island of Bonaire, which is in the southern Caribbean, the West Indies, about 80 miles north of Venezuela. And so I always like asking people were so quiet place that you find you can settle down if it’s at home or near your coffee shop or a park. And so I thought, yeah, that that’d be a great title, our island in the city, just trying to bring that island vibe to our busy lives. And my husband’s actually the one that sort of came up with that hashtag. And then I turned it into my podcast title.

Kay Helm 3:39
Love it. Yeah. So you can create an island basically, anywhere you’re at is that what you’re saying?

Jodi 3:47
Absolutely. That is always my my question. And my challenge for everybody, because we all can wait, we can talk about that a little bit more.

Kay Helm 3:55
Oh, yeah. Yeah, so definitely do that. A lot of times, we’ll find on podcasts that it’s about productivity and getting things done and all the hustle, right, and all the things we can do in our business and in our life, and we’re accomplishing so much and all this pressure. But really, there’s a need to slow down, there’s a need for a place for rest for restoration. And so when I heard you use the phrase slow living, I had to find out more about what gap was,

Jodi 4:33
Well, slow, loving can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but I think especially after we’ve gone through this whole year demmick You know, I think a lot of us are more open to saying okay, well what does that mean personally for me? And so for me slow living is a lot about just making time for stillness and being present. So when we when we practice those two things, we have to slow down Whether it’s present with a project we’re working on, or with our child or a partner, or a neighbor, really anywhere, when you pause, reflect, sort of open hands for what’s next. And I don’t want to use the word anti hustle. But that’s kind of the idea. Is this this unhurried pace of life, it just gives an opportunity for us to really live well. So it’s not this idea of sitting on the couch and, you know, checking a nap or eating bonbons. It’s kind of an old, old theory. So now it’s just how do I live my best life? And usually it means slowing down so that you can do your next your next thing? Well,

Kay Helm 5:48
I know my brain works better when I have at least time. In slow you know, there’s a time for there’s a tie. I think the Bible says that is a time for hustle and a time for slow and something like that.

Jodi 6:03
Yeah, the time to dance at a time to mourn. Yeah, those things. Yeah.

Kay Helm 6:08
Yeah. And, and a time, I think gathering is in there too. And that’s another part of what you do is you gather people and stories.

Jodi 6:16
Absolutely. For me. So I grew up on this island, and I was a missionary kid, a third culture kid, and my parents were big into hospitality. So we were always having people over. And so it was just a great chance for me to see a little bit about slow living and gathering. So that was a little girl. So I just feel like everyone has such an amazing life story. But until we slow down, and listen, and just sit, those things aren’t gonna come up. So I love encouraging people to have just one on one interaction, whether it’s at a coffee shop, or maybe on a zoom call, you know, a virtual but I think if we take time to slow down and gather with somebody will be amazed at their stories, and we have a lot more in common than we think.

Kay Helm 7:09
Yes, absolutely believe that. We talked about finding your voice and telling your story. And so when you are doing that gathering, and you’re listening to someone story, sharing stories, what are the most important elements of that to you?

Jodi 7:28
So I think the most important thing is listening. And it’s taken me a while to really understand that I’m going to put a plug in for Adam s. McHugh. He has a book called The listening life. And it really just encompasses this idea that when we slow down and listen, we’re actually just honoring the person in front of us. And I think that’s when the stories start coming out. Because the person feels relaxed. They feel like they can say, Oh, this reminds me. So I don’t know if that answers your question. But that’s probably one of the top things. Well, that’s

Kay Helm 8:08
one of the things I think that comes across in your podcast. It’s very conversational. You have folks on and you pick up on that.

Jodi 8:19
Oh, thanks. I know, people have a lot to say. And it’s amazing when you just give someone space. What comes out?

Kay Helm 8:29
So this is true. Yeah, yeah. And in this past year, where we’ve all been so separated distance, whatever you want to call it, isolated, all of these the feelings that come with that, we need that connection. And we’re having to be creative about new ways to create that connection.

Jodi 8:54
Right? Well, some of us are a little bit more open to maybe it depends on where you live, like if you can, if you some churches are open some, you know, coffee shops, so I’m realizing when I talk with friends all over the country in the world, everyone’s in a different place. My husband has co workers in Ireland now and they’re completely shut down. But then we have other friends say in Florida, who are able to go out right now. So I think wherever you’re at making the effort, and initiating is the big thing I learned that when I was little is just don’t be afraid to initiate. Because usually, I would say 80% of the time, you’ll get a positive interaction with someone they really do want someone to listen, they want every one of us wants to be seen and heard. And I think that when we make time for somebody else, that starts happening, and then it’s just kind of a ripple effect. So I would say, you know, to people don’t be afraid to initiate something. Yeah, that’s

Kay Helm 9:57
true around Christmas. I I was having a good hair day and decided to videotape some just some, hey, I love you, I appreciate you messages and send them out to some people. And the result was people called me people texted people sent him there was just this response of want to have a conversation, it was just this connection. I think delight is probably the word that I heard most or the feeling that I got that the reaction from that just trying something a little out of the box, it was a hard, you know, pick up the phone and point it and say what, what’s on your mind. And it’s more of a connection than if I had just sent a text or call even called I mean, the calling actually is more intimate, because it’s two way. But the video really helps to initiate a call that jumped immediately into a really great conversation.

Jodi 11:06
I’m so glad you did. That was a great idea. So you were you were bringing others delight, but in turn, it probably made you so happy that you could do this right?

Kay Helm 11:19
It did it did. It just sparked like I said it sparked a response, there was a response from most of the people that got these videos.

Unknown Speaker 11:26
I bet.

Kay Helm 11:28
It’s just a neat, really neat experiences something I probably need. It’s been three months since I did that I probably need to do it again.

Jodi 11:36
My my word for the year K is delight. So when you said that just now I thought oh, yeah, delight comes in so many different forms. But I think it’s a word, we just have to keep pulling into 2021 with us to, to make it through some continued dark times right now. And that’s why we need each other. That’s why we need community.

Kay Helm 11:56
Well, it’s kind of like, you know, you said pulling it in and creating it right there where we’re at, even in the situations, kind of like what you’ve done with our island in the city. So you’re in a city. So what you said Raleigh, so my first when I found out that’s where you were, I thought there’s no islands there.

Jodi 12:18
Right, we we bought our little bungalow when we feel like this is kind of our little sanctuary. And so it’s been fun to just talk to people over the months. And it’s been almost three years now. And just find out. Why are we so drawn to having, you know, an island in the city. And I think it’s just this respite from the noise, the buisiness of the world, it might not be as evident today, because life seems quieter all in so many of our cities. But one thing I tried to pull in is just the quietness and nature that I experienced on the island. So it was very small, small island, I think 24 miles long by, by 15 across. And it was just this beautiful nature area from snorkeling to bike rides and cactus. And so I feel like if we can pull in something that has to do with Island living, then it helps and community was a really big thing there. Actually everybody knew each other. And what a funny story is if you know, the roads are small, and so if you’re behind somebody in your car, and they get out to talk to someone, if there’s not a good way to go around them, then you just need to sit for a few minutes and let them have their conversation. We don’t do that in Raleigh ticket. But that’s just a funny story. But really, in even whether you’re live on a farm or you live in a big city, I think we can find pockets where we live, whether it’s a park nearby, I encourage people just you know call someone and see if they’ll go have coffee with you. You know, sometimes you have to sit outside or other times you can go on upstairs, but those are just little ways. So yeah, can I ask you Hey, where is your island in the city?

Kay Helm 14:19
Oh, well, I’m looking forward to getting back to my island in the city. I’ve just had foot surgery in January. So it’s been as we’re recording this, we’re in the middle of March and I’m just learning to walk again. But when I’m comfortable walking on uneven surfaces, I’m going to go to Colonial Williamsburg and walk down Duke of Gloucester Street. And that’s my I just relax when I’m down there. Oh, so that’s the colonial you know, it’s a it’s a colonial street used to be the colonial capital and You know, it’s just a really nice environment there.

Jodi 15:03
That is so nice. Yeah. It’s been years and years since we visited, but it’s it’s beautiful. I can see how you would feel that there. Yeah.

Kay Helm 15:12
Yeah. Water around too. And so sometimes I just go park my car and one of the little, little pull offs and sit and look at the water. Yeah, even in the winter, and you can’t even get out.

Jodi 15:28
Right? Well, in some people who don’t have water nearby, or a park nearby, you know, what I encourage people to do is you can also mentally go there, where’s your island in the city. So for instance, if you have a special memory, from when you were in college, a trip you took somewhere and you came across this beautiful waterfall, go back there in your mind, let that be your island in the city. And I’ve had to do that. Maybe at a dentist appointment or something like that, where I’ve just tried to relax myself or I’ve had a really busy week. And I just need to sit in my sunroom and say, Okay, let’s go there. So mine is this yellow raft that was anchored out in the ocean, on the island. And so we can always find our island in the city.

Kay Helm 16:18
That’s great. I really liked that idea. It reminds me of I listened to your podcast episode where you had a friend, read your children’s book that you wrote about the island. And it was it was really great, because you describe the water and the reflections of the sun on the sea glass and different things. And just, you could picture it happening. And it was it was relaxing. It was it was really cool. Sorry.

Jodi 16:46
Thank you. I yeah, there was a cove of sea glass, that it’s not there anymore. But I would play there. And you could literally just kind of take your hands and scoop up breakup glass and stones. So is there a crackly sounding? And it was gorgeous. So yeah, that’s another one of my island in the city. places I can escape to.

Kay Helm 17:13
Yeah. So yeah. So think about that. Where Where is your? Where’s your island place? That’s good. I love the idea of recreating that in our minds. And I was thinking it’s something I do as a writer, sometimes what if I can’t think of what to write about? It’s something I do to get over writer’s block and not trying to slide into productivity mode here. But you can do this to relax to just think about a scene and describe it in detail.

Unknown Speaker 17:45

Kay Helm 17:46
what’s the water? Like? What’s it like when it comes over the rocks? What sound does it make? Does that make you feel that all of that you just interview yourself?

Jodi 17:58
That’s a great exercise, Kay, because that is completely slowing down. Letting your heart and your mind and your soul just pause for a little bit. So pausing and reflecting

Kay Helm 18:10
is so important. It really is it’s it’s life giving to slow down like that. But how do we resist making slowing down another item on our to do list?

Jodi 18:24
Oh, that’s a good question, Kay. And I know that’s come up in conversations that I’ve had with people. So I think going from doing to being is a really good way to think of that transition in our minds. And probably not writing down on your to do list slow down, right. But just when you have something done and take a break is it sounds crazy, but I think most of us don’t take enough breaks. And so you and I talked about this before we recorded you know even if we have a big project, if we get some raster even just put it away and get up earlier the next day, or put it away and maybe we have a burst of thought at night and we can keep going. It’s amazing how things come together. And so I think that our mind needs more rest than we realize. But going back to just your question of not having it be on our to do list. I think you’ve heard of rhythms people just adopt rhythms of slow living that help so for me sitting down often during the day for five or 10 minutes and I don’t set my phone. I don’t say eight minutes but little little rhythms. So for instance at our bungalow, we don’t have a dishwasher. We are the dishwashers. So even just taking that time and it is productivity but warm water soapy water over my hands looking out my window I have a window at my kitchen sink and just slowing down to do that. out and not multitasking. So not say, Okay, I’m gonna have something in the microwave, I’m gonna have my coffee going, I’m gonna be listening to a podcast, like, maybe just one thing at a time helps you be present. So I think just being present to whatever you’re you’re doing, whether it’s a task or whether it’s on a break, we’ll just really help you through the rest of your day.

Kay Helm 20:24
It’s the small things that make huge differences for us.

Unknown Speaker 20:28
It really is.

Kay Helm 20:29
Yeah, I was thinking about taking a break. When you’re just putting that into a rhythm. I have a rhythm of gal finish something, I’ll get up and I’ll go grab, I’d like to snack on little chocolate chips. Oh, go grab a few chocolate chips. It’s just, but you could do that. With go look out the window.

Jodi 20:49
Yeah, I have a little patio outside of my sunroom here. And two or three times a day, on pretty days. I’ll just go out there and sit in my wrought iron rocker. Just for five or 10 minutes, I’ll just listen to the birds. Another thing I do often is I’ll try and pause. So if I’m working on something on my laptop, now I have nine windows here in my son room. So it is a little different. But I’ll notice a bird just flitting around. And you know, something in us wants to say Nope, I gotta keep working. But I’ve pushed through that, and just paused and watched. And I have had so much to light. And I think a lot of that started, not just when we bought the bond cola three years ago, but I’d have to say during quarantine, that really started for me because things just came alive because it was quieter. So I’ve tried to pull that in into my every day. And if I noticed the squirrel or a bird, I’ll just stop what I’m doing. And that’s, that’s when my break is even though it’s not on my to do list.

Kay Helm 21:55
Yeah, you know, it really helped me I started last year with my desk facing the wall, trying to get more floor space in my room and everything’s kind of in a small space here. But I just was really struggling with getting things done and feeling tired and just a lot and I turned my desk so that I can see out the window while I work. Okay, and it made all the difference. It changed everything, just being able to lift my head up and focus my eyes instead of on the computer to just focus further out at the trees. It’s not I don’t have a particularly lovely view. But there are some trees back there. And there’s a little blue bird that sits on the corner of my neighbor’s roof. And I’m on the second floor so I can see this little blue bird sometimes a nice little surprise out there. It’s beautiful. It’s it brings beauty into the day.

Jodi 22:59
Yeah, right. Sounds delightful. But it’s also neat that you you took the time to see it.

Unknown Speaker 23:08
We had what we have to do you have to Yeah, just oh, I said had to that makes it a to do thing, doesn’t it? Yeah. Oh.

Kay Helm 23:18
Such a habit.

Unknown Speaker 23:23
Oh, God, where can we find you? Oh, well,

Jodi 23:28
I spend a lot of time over on Instagram. I love interacting with people there. So I’m at Jody j ODI dot grubz Let’s Gru BBs. And I I’d love for any of your listeners to join me there. And then my podcast, which is our island in the city podcast and I’m on most platforms, so you can just type that in especially on Apple.

Kay Helm 23:54
And check her out that the podcast is really great conversations. And I’ve enjoyed your you’re wonderful at interviewing people and it’s very conversational. And just it’s I won’t say slow because that sounds that doesn’t that’s not the right. It’s not the right message. But you know, it’s it’s more relaxing than a lot of the things that are out there. It’s it’s a good it’s good for your soul. I was that’s what that’s what it is. Oh, I’m

Jodi 24:25
so glad you said that. Because the whole idea of the podcast is just it’s conversations surrounding the idea that ordinary soul care and deep community come through a shift just lower loving. So that’s what you get from it.

Kay Helm 24:41
Okay. Exactly. See you nailed it. Thank you. Awesome. Thank you so much for being on. Thank you.

Jodi 24:51
I enjoyed the time with you so much. Thank you for asking me. Okay,

Kay Helm 24:54
that’s it for this week of the life and mission podcast and next time, two weeks. From now, I’ll be interviewing Jennifer Harshman about imposter syndrome. So you don’t want to miss that. Hey, if you really enjoy this podcast, one way you can help is to share it with just one other person. If you can think of one person who would really enjoy today’s show, would you share it? There’s usually a little share symbol up there in your podcast app, just hit that thing and send it on head. I would really appreciate it and your friend will do. This is Kay Helm for a life and mission podcast. Find your voice tell your story. Change the world.


Our Island in the City Podcast
Connect with Jodi on Instagram @jodi.grubbs

Let’s Connect

Telling Stories Well, with Chris Staron

Telling Stories Well, with Chris Staron

Chris Staron is an award-winning filmmaker, an author, comedian, and podcaster. As host of the Truce Podcast, Chris uses journalistic tools to provide history and context to better understand the Christian church today. He gives us an inside look into his storytelling process, and why the stories we tell are so important.

Chris Staron Ep 60

Kay 0:00
Welcome to Episode 60 of the Life and Mission podcast. My name is Kay Helm. And today My guest is Chris Staron, host of the Truce Podcast. Chris is an exceptional storyteller, and we’re going to talk about why he does what he does and how he does what he does.

Kay 0:21
My guest today is Chris Staron, an award winning filmmaker, author, comedian, and podcaster. His heart is for people who are on the outside edges of popular Christianity. Hi, Chris, how you doing?

Chris 0:33
All right, Kay. Yourself?

Unknown Speaker 0:35
Wonderful. It’s a nice sunny day here in Virginia.

Chris 0:38
Well, it’s it’s a nice clear day here in Wyoming.

Kay 0:41
Want to get started? We would love to hear a little about you. I know that obviously, you’re a storyteller. But tell us a little more.

Chris 0:49
Yeah, so I’m an identical twins. So you’ll sometimes hear me refer to myself as we, because my brother and I end up doing things all the time. And I just lump it all together, because I’m always with him. That’s cool. Like, really great guy. And yeah, so I produced Ron directed and produced two feature length films, two DVDs of shorts, one of which was animated, one of which was live action. I wrote Christian novels. And I’ve now I’m doing this podcast called truce, which is a history show, about how the Christian Church has interacted with the world and how history impacts us and how we impact history. So I’m just wrapping up a series about how the rise of communism in Russia impacted the American Christian church, which sounds like a snooze fest, but actually is really fascinating when you get into it all the ways that modern Christianity and in the United States has come out of our fear of communism. And when I’m not doing that, I also have, I have to sell fund all of those things.

So I almost have always had a second job. And so now I am a school bus driver as well, to help finance the podcast. It’s obviously a passion of yours. I don’t think I could stop if I wanted to, as far as truus. Because there’s, every time I think I’m done with a story, there’s there’s like four other stories behind that, like, it inspires for more stories. And so I just keep going and going and going, Oh, man. Yeah, that’s how it works. Yeah. And even I, I had scheduled out how I was going to end season three, which is about communism, and I now have over a year’s worth of topics coming up already listed out. So it’s like, yep, I guess I’m gonna keep doing this for a while. Wow. Yeah, storytelling is obviously a big part of who you are, is, yeah, well, I find that it helps me understand how we work as people, which is really important if you have a sort of missions heart and your desire to see people grow in the Lord. But it’s also important if you want to understand this kind of wacky time that we’re in right now. how we got to where we are, and how we can do better. And it helps if you can understand why we are the way we are and those steps that came in. So I found myself a lot in. I was teaching high school boy, Sunday school, I was involved in adult ministries and stuff, constantly explaining things to folks. And they’re like, yeah, nobody’s ever told me about the curse of Ham or something like that. And I’m like, what, how am I the only person you know, who knows about this? And I’m,

Chris 3:25
I’m medium intelligence. But I can be a real Dumb Dumb about a lot of stuff. And so it’s been a joy for me to learn these things. And they come back and teach them and it’s like, oh, I guess maybe I should do a podcast, taking those stories and and trying to tell them to people.

Kay 3:42
And this stories, even those stories, like you said that we don’t really think about a lot you gave the example of the curse of Ham. Yeah. So a little story about when we first started the nonprofit that I’m a part of. And so this would be 2006. And I became the leader of this organization that was taking care of education for some kids in Uganda. And Sara, the woman in charge of that program there. She said, I have one question for you. And this was her question to see if she wanted to work with me. And she said, What do you believe about the curse of Ham?

Chris 4:19
Yeah, and hopefully you said it doesn’t exist.

Kay 3:42
Exactly. And God is good. He had prepared me for this. He did actually He’d really drawn me into that whole story and I had studied it and that’s exactly what my response was. It does not exist. Ham was never cursed. In fact, he was blessed! Canaan was the one cursed. Yeah, that was gonna impact everything that we did. What she was really asking is Do you believe that we are cursed?

Kay 4:48
You know, when somebody has to ask you that. It’s really a wake up moment.

Chris 4:52
It is it’s it’s sad. But for those of those listening who don’t know what the curse of Ham is, when Noah goes through the whole flood and the flood recedes. And they go on to dry land. He has three sons, one of which is named Ham. And there’s that whole weird story that everybody skips over in the Bible about him being covered up with his nakedness and then placing a curse. And he’s like, we’ll just skip that we don’t know what that’s about. It’s actually a very important story, not just in the Bible, but also in real life. So Noah gets up and he curses somebody and says, Your people will be the servants of your brothers. And so then those sons of Noah go in different directions. And Ham is not cursed, his I think it’s his son, Canaan that’s cursed. And so Canaan ends up being cursed, which is why later in the Bible, the Canaanites are the ones who are killed when the people of Israel come back into Israel, right? everybody’s like, Well, why did that happen? It’s because of the curse of Canaan.

But what got turned into was people pretended, because it’s not in the text. It’s not there in the text that Ham was cursed. But people pretended that Ham was cursed. And therefore, Ham went down to Africa, and he his people, became Africans, who would then quote, you know, as the theory would go, would then become the servant of all people. And so it was a justification for slavery, especially in the United States, was the story that was, quote unquote, biblical, but is actually not in the Bible and goes a completely different direction if you read the text. So I ended up doing several stories about this and untruths and I, every time I thought I was done, it would come back. I’m like, Okay, fine. We’ll talk about the curse of Ham again.

It’s one of those little weird stories in the Bible that has a tremendous amount of impact, and apparently is still felt today that it has so many repercussions when that one little twist of God’s Word. And I think it really demonstrates a lot. And one of my desires in life is always to say, read the Bible, like yes, and read it for yourself. And it’s great to get good teaching and stuff, but always read before the story, read after the story, actually read the whole thing, read the whole Bible, because there’s all sorts of stuff like this, that we get taught in popular Christianity that is just not there. It’s a real shame that something is so easily disproven comes up time and time and time again.

Yeah, and it drives just some really important bad behavior. It really does. It’s just it’s done a lot of harm and and that’s what happens, right? I mean, it’s it was the original lie in the garden with the snake asked that question and Eve twisted what God had said, just a little bit, just a little bit off. Did God really say this, that Yeah. Are you find Satan in the New Testament talking to Jesus as being tempted? Did you through using the scripture out of context to try to back his positions? It happens, it really does. So it’s one of those things that I found myself actually telling the curse of Ham over and over again, before I started the podcast. And I was like, okay, fine, I guess I need to talk about this on the show.

Chris 8:07
Because we, there’s so much freedom and getting around those things and understanding what’s going on and where our little hang ups come from. And if you can understand the history behind it, you can make a much more informed decision, and I think be much better equipped in your ministry. The truth is, is so true, and and, you know, when we have these things that we’ve kind of just heard and absorbed, all our lives, there’s doctrine, but then there’s culture.

Kay 8:41
And we call it doctrine. Sometimes we sometimes we will say we justify our culture, by our doctrine when it’s actually not. Or it may even be contrary to the actual doctrine, but we won’t examine is close enough.

Chris 8:56
When if you want proof of that, just go into the Sermon on the Mount. And Jesus is saying, you know, love your enemy has turned the other cheek and how many of us in that church we hear our pastors actually not saying turn the other cheek, but get what’s yours.

Chris 9:12
And it’s all over Christian media and culture, that you’re supposed to thrive and all that kind of stuff. But when Jesus is constantly saying, No, no, give give your brother your cloak. Get give your stuff away. If you want even want a subversive message, just just read the Bible for yourself read read the books about Jesus and probably be surprised.

Kay 9:33
Yes, yes. Yeah, sticking with what he actually says and does is, I think the best policy but not always the easiest way for you.

Chris 9:43
Of course not. I mean, especially turn the other cheek and we, anytime I’m wrong, I get really angry and you know, I drive a school bus. I am constantly in traffic with people doing ridiculous things because nobody wants to be behind a school bus. Right and the things that people do to get around a school bus unbelievable. So it’s been a constant challenge for me just to try to love people from the bus.

Kay 10:07
Wow, love people from the bus. That sounds like a great book, does it? Yeah.

Chris 10:15
I’ve got too many things to do something else to do now, I don’t know.

Kay 10:21
Well, on this show on this podcast, we say find your voice, tell your story, change the world. And one of the reasons that I wanted to have you on is that in your podcast, we’ve talked a little bit about the subject matter. And I do want to come back to talking about expectations, kind of in Christian media, there’s almost a formulaic thing that we expect, and what you don’t really do. And that’s one of the reasons that I love your show.

Chris: Oh, praise God.

But the other reason is that your podcast is really more produced than the average podcast mean, my show I have a guest on, we just have a conversation, and I record it. And so that’s a really simple production process. still a lot of work. It is but not nearly what in what you do.

And so if you’ve never heard the Truce podcast, what Chris does his he crafts, these stories, I mean, you you do research, and then you might have other people come do voiceovers and play parts, as you kind of recreate some things you may I’ve seen heard you use recordings of actual historical things. Yeah, you bring all in a sound effects and some music. I mean, it’s really highly produced and done with excellence, too. And you could just sit down and riff on these topics, right? You could search and just sit down and talk about it. But how did you make that decision to produce truce the way that you do?

Chris 11:53
Yeah, well, I have done some episodes that are just interviews. And I’m totally fine with that when it’s appropriate. That part of the hard thing in the market that we’re in is that we’re not used to getting context. It’s usually, you know, this is good, this is bad. follow what’s good, don’t do this. But you don’t often find context in the Christian media, or in media in general. And so part of that is I don’t want to put people to sleep if I’m talking about the Ad Council, which is actually a profoundly important organization in the United States and in the world. But none of us know who they are, except Oh, well, they created Smokey Bear, or mcgruff, the crime dog. But the goal is always to be like, I need you to be interested long enough that you understand why this thing is important. And so as part of a storyteller, the goal is always to find a way to make it interesting.

Chris 12:45
I think it was Albert Einstein, I may, I may be misquoting this completely, but said that basically, anybody, any average person can understand pretty much anything as long as they have a good teacher. I really do believe that it’s true that most any topic can be explained to a person of average intelligence, if they just have somebody who’s willing to explain it to them well. And so my goal is always to take this information and a story that generally I think is very exciting, and make it interesting to other people. Like I even did a little bit about the importance of shipping containers.

Kay 13:20
I heard that one.

Chris 13:21
Yeah. And we don’t think of them as being really important, but they’re super important. And they played this huge role in history and in the way that our economics work in this country. So I had to devise a way to make people get interested in shipping containers.

Kay 13:36
Wow. Yeah. The thoughts that run through my head when I’m listening to the truce podcast are things like, wow, I never thought of that, or I never saw it that way. Those are constant. That’s my response all the time.

Chris 13:52
Yeah. That’s the hope. And that’s, I mean, it’s a tough way to go. In the Christian market, especially I find that people search for topics that they’re interested in, they don’t really want to be surprised by Oh, wow, this is really interesting. We’re just not used to that. And so that’s one of the battles I’ve been facing, as I titled an episode, the Ad Council, the CIA and Christian America, it’s like when people may not want to listen to that. It might not be interesting, or the American coup in Guatemala, a very important episode, one of my favorites, but it’s hard to get people interested if that’s not what they’re already looking for. But the shows that I love the most are the ones that you walk away, like, I had no idea that the shipping container was so important, you know, or that 10 commandments, monuments haven’t been around forever. I’d like a sense of wonder. I just think it’s such a vital way to learn, you know, you continue to learn you got your masters and stuff. You know how important it is as an adult to continue to learn things. And wonder is a great way to do that. To keep people focused. Learning.

Kay 14:54
Yeah, that’s good. You know, like we say, storytelling, it’s that you have developed these skills. Have storytelling, you’re going through a lot of work to produce something to hold our interest.

Chris 15:06

Kay 15:06
What’s the process for you to produce a typical episode?

Chris 15:11
Yeah, well, I generally come up with the idea months and months and months in advance. So I’ve just got lists of, of ideas, and I try to order them in a spreadsheet. So I get kind of an idea of a logical progression of this leads to that, that leads to that, that leads to that, which can be confusing for the audience, because they’ll see me covering things like the New Deal. And they’ll be like, Why in the world? Would you talk about the New Deal? Well, in three or four episodes, it’s gonna like start featuring and every single thing we talk about, so you really need to understand what it is, or why did we talk about Russia for like six episodes, what’s because I don’t want you to just judge those people and be like, those ridiculous Russians fell into communism, and there’s no logic to how they got there. It’s faulty logic. But there is logic. And so it helps us have compassion to see like, Oh, this is how they got there. These are the circumstances and things.

And so I’m always kind of looking for a progression in stories so that they try to build on each other. And so once I’ve gotten that, I just start reading books and listening to podcasts and watching documentaries, get some ideas. And oftentimes, it’s too much to give people a lot of what things to walk away with. So I’m trying to generally start the episode with the takeaway, then I work through the story. And about halfway through you reencounter, the thing we talked at the beginning that you thought had nothing to do with the show, at the topic at all, yeah, that comes that comes back up. And then I kind of end with that same takeaway idea. So that during countering that a few different times, and a lot of times I’m interviewing experts in the field who aren’t may not even be Christians. And then that, to me is really fascinating and has been exciting, it does impact the download numbers, because a lot of people go like, Oh, you know, my favorite Christian celebrity is on this podcast, I’m gonna go listen to it, you don’t get that on my show very.

Chris 19:18
There was an episode I released over Thanksgiving that I released two weeks early, and I had to write the audience like I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing to put in its place in two weeks. Let’s just pretend this is coming out when it’s supposed this because you know it’s funny because even a simple podcast has a lot of backend stuff that nobody knows about. That’s right writing the show notes and uploading it and making graphics and those kinds of things building your website. And so that all that other stuff goes in and I make mistakes, but I i it gives me a lot of hope. I’m so excited for the day that God willing, I can have a staff that would be so great to be able to say you go research this thing. That would be the greatest but I’m kind of a long ways away from that right now.

Kay 20:02
I for one will be cheering you on. Because I think of truce. I mean, so if you haven’t heard Truce, and I know I’ve tried to describe it, but if you have heard like an NPR podcast, you know, the way they produce things BBC kind of does the same. The there. I mean, there’s so like, they have a whole newsroom doing that. So you’re doing that solo? Right?

Chris 20:26
Yeah. Yeah. So they’re gonna, you know, that’s why the show comes out only every two weeks. And there are some times where I have to have an interview with somebody. I just had an interview with Skye Jethani that came out and I have a few coming up to try and buy myself time. Yeah, yeah, the nice thing about him is he just let him go.

Chris 20:43
I didn’t have to be brilliant. He just kind of went and it was great. So it was actually kind of easy. But I do kind of buffer sometimes when I need to buy time. And I’ll have to replace them episodes coming up, as well to buy myself some time, because it does take a tremendous amount of time for me to make these episodes. It’s hard for me not to do a story in this manner. Because I really love the shows I love to listen to are generally told in this sort of public radio style. And I find them to be really engaging. And it’s something that not many people are doing in the Christian market. So there’s kind of this, this great opportunity to fill that need.

Kay 21:20
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. What you just mentioned the Christian market. And before we started recording, we talked we were talking a little bit about there are all these expectations. There’s kind of when you say, Christian radio, christian movie, Christian TV, right. There’s a there’s a particular type of program that comes to mind.

Chris 21:45
Yeah, yeah, for each of those. Yeah. And they’re all kind of run by different folks. And the top thing, I did some episodes on this in season two on the Christian film market, and why it is the way it is. And once you kind of understand the back end, the front end makes total sense.

For the Christian film world specifically. What’s interesting about it is that it is very underfunded, and it has been underfunded basically forever. All of its existence, even though some of them the very first films ever made at all moving pictures were Christian films, going back to the Lumiere brothers, but they’ve always been underfunded. So part of the problem is how do I make money on this underfunded thing? And movies? Unlike podcasts, a movie is incredibly expensive. No matter what level you make it at. You can’t make a cheap film that looks good. And right or sounds good. So how do you pay that back?

Chris 22:38
And the trouble is that in the Christian market, especially now in the world of streaming, it’s really really hard to make money because like Amazon Prime, which my films run, we get six cents per hour watched. So if somebody watches my films all the way through, I get nine cents. Wow. Which is terrible. You can’t do anything with Wow, do the math and do the math and figure out how many views it would take me to make a one day living wage. And also remember, I had to split that again, across me and my brother. It would be an insane number, like every single person in my state would have to watch the film for me.

Kay: All right, people get on it.

Well, yeah, or to send me 10 cents. So you got that issue, especially now. But in the DVD world back when no Hollywood video or blockbuster were going, I think it was Hollywood video paid you per download hour per viewing when somebody would take the DVD out of the store. Got basically $1 it was a little less than that. But we’ll just say it was $1. And so here we are 20 years later, and we’re getting nine cents.

Kay: Wow.

Despite all the inflation and the growth. So the market is changing to where are the people who are actually paying money because the streaming, we can’t make the money on streaming. So the money is made in rentals. And it was before but now it is becoming more important. Well, it was before COVID Yeah, but the problem with theater rentals is you need a film that will grab bull T and get them in the seats. So I can’t remember the one that was about Abby Johnson and oh, unplanned that one was about a pro life movie that came out like two or three years ago, that one got butts in the seats, because it was a pro life film, and it wasn’t getting get mainstream stuff. And Fox news was pushing it pretty hard as well. It still did really poorly compared to a normal film, you know, like a Hollywood film. But that kind of sensationalism got it out there. Because it was controversial. They could get the butts in the seats, and they could pay for the thing.

If you get a film that’s just a nice romantic comedy or something, it’s much harder to market. So they’re almost there is a there’s a temptation to build something that is going to make people angry, so that they will show up. Or the other thing is that you’re seeing a lot more building on existing properties. So they’ll take an existing book or a movie or song even and they’ll make a whole movie based on that existing property. So by

Chris 25:00
So that that person’s existing audience will come in and support it. And that sounds like it’s really benign, but it actually is to a creative market. It is kind of a death knell. Because if you’re being incentivized to only tell stories based on a true story, you’re seeing the end of creative stories, original thought. And so yeah, I can go on and on about that. But like the Christian book world is written in a very similar way, it operates off of who is buying stuff. And the people who buy books are generally people who want to be angry, or you’re looking at very conservative people, or very charismatic people. Those are your markets.

If you’re not angry, charismatic, or conservative, and exactly like they want, people aren’t buying the book, so you won’t find a publisher. And and that’s, that’s just sort of the realities of the market. If we wanted to change things, as consumers, we would support the people who are making different materials. But those people are often lower budget. Yeah, because they don’t have the big publishing houses and things behind them.

Kay 26:03
Yeah. So that we there’s, you know, at the same time, all that’s happening, we got self publishing, is exploding, but then that’s kind of like, you never really know what you’re going to get.

Chris 26:12
Yeah, you don’t Yeah, and yeah, there’s a there’s a beauty of the gatekeepers is they kind of thinned the hurt a little bit. Now anybody can get out there. But it also, as an author, having done this myself, part of the problem is that I not only have to be a good writer, and I’m okay. I also have to be a really good graphic designer for the cover. And I have to be a really great proofreader. Because I’ve got nobody overseeing the the, there’s no editorial staff looking at this stuff to it is yeah, and then then you also have to be amazing at marketing your book, which you know, you can’t be amazing at all those things. It was kind of the same in the Christian film world. Like I could be a pretty good writer, director, but I’m a terrible marketer.

Chris 26:57
Because I feel like marketing is sleazy. I just don’t like doing it. And I shouldn’t say all marketers is sleazy. That does, that’s not what I meant to say, but I feel sleazy doing it. But we as like independent creators are called on to be all those things, and we’re not going to be able to be all of them. Well,

Kay 27:14
yeah, you can’t wear all the hats. You don’t get that one thing if we could work in our gifts and bring the people around. And of course, bringing people around to be a part of your project often requires a budget.

Chris 27:29
It does. Yeah, cuz we got to eat, you know,

Kay 27:31

Chris 27:34
You know, people have contacted me about being a part of their shows, but I can’t, I can’t take on yet another. I have three jobs right now. I can’t take on another one. So

Kay 27:44
yeah, we talked a little bit about the expectations of the Christian market and the content that you explore on truce and the way that you give context to things that we don’t always think all the way through that really affect our Christian culture. Yeah. And and then you’re talking about the gatekeepers, and all these different influences that affect who we’re hearing and, and you touched on something I want to go back to where you said, you have to be angry, to get your book published, or your piece out there. When I first started working in the nonprofit world. I had subscribed to a magazine, I don’t know if anybody remembers print magazines, but magazine on fundraising. And there’s this one episode, this one episode, see, this one issue of this magazine that came in in the cover was about how to raise funds from religious people.

Kay 28:42
And by religious they really meant Christian, it was pretty obvious. And they said that the way to raise money was polarize the issue and to push people toward whatever end, and that that’s how you would motivate them to part with their money. And it and like you were talking about marketing, feeling sleazy. That felt really sleazy. I thought, Oh, my gosh, that’s not like, that’s not what we are called to as Christians is not to go be polarized and angry all the time. And all of these these things, and I really grieved that.

Chris 29:21
Yeah. Yeah, I do, too.

Chris 30:00
Our greatest inhibitors for sharing the gospel right now is that we’re so focused on creating an enemy. What I like to say is those people, if those people didn’t exist, then this whole country would be great, and the church would be wonderful. And that’s not true. The reality is that Jesus died for us, and then died for them as well. So I had a guest on a few years ago, who said, even if you believe that Muslims are your enemy, Jesus commanded you to love your enemy. So there’s no way that you can get out of saying, Oh, well, I don’t have to pay attention to those people. I don’t have to share the gospel.

There’s no secret door, there’s no loophole out of this. You are to love all of the people. And you are to share the gospel to all nations, regardless of who you think those people are. Fact I would say, be if you have those people in your life, maybe that’s who you need to be focusing on. Maybe that’s who God has called you to minister to? I don’t know. I’ll get off that soapbox. But I think that’s, that’s really valuable in this time, when so many people, I’m not a great evangelist, I’m actually pretty bad at it. But I try. And when I do end up talking to non Christians, a lot of the times it ends up coming around to politics and economics and those kinds of things and not having to do with Jesus at all.

My goal is generally to be exception to what they think a Christian is, because they think of Christians as being these bullies and these jerks. And if I can be the exception and be like, No, I’m, I’m a human being. I’m a flawed human being, by I’m a human being who has a relationship with the Creator. And that’s a pretty cool thing. I think that’s way better than me just listing all of their sins. I don’t think that’s as effective.

Kay 31:52
Yeah, it’s, I don’t think it’s ever helpful to get into those they conversations. I mean, when we turn somebody into the other, or into they know that other group, have spent time with genocide survivors, I’ve studied it a bit, not not an expert, but I’ve been around it in the end the work that we do, and it always starts with making those divisions and polarizing people and scapegoating. And the name, just the dehumanization, in the language that we use. When we start calling names. When we don’t refer we don’t have a real relationship. And we teach it’s not ours, but it’s used in reconciliation programs around the world is this journey of journey of healed trauma journey of unhealed trauma, the only the The main difference between the two models is the storytelling. Yeah, that just tells you how important that is, like literally people live and die on our stories that we tell, really do.

Chris 33:01
They really do. And that’s a scary thing. I mean, you look at our political situation. Now, people believe the story that the election was stolen in the United States, and it was clearly disproven, easily, easily disproven. And what it did on January 6, will storming the Capitol was based on the power of a story. Not backed by facts, but it aligned with what they wanted to believe and created a day that those people, those democrats or whatever, are, are bringing this country down and there and the reason I am I No, don’t have the job I want or I’m not as wealthy as I want to be, or the world doesn’t look like it did when my grandparents were alive is because of those people. And so I’m going to go storm and capital stories have a real impact, which is, again, it’s one of the reasons I think that teachers are going to be judged harsher.

Because what we do, has a huge impact on people. So I think it’s, it’s vitally important that we as teachers, encourage folks to look deep. Like what I like to say is, oftentimes the problem that you’re having with somebody is not the real problem. So it’s like, if you get an argument with a loved one, we argue with our loved ones the most, because we love them, and they’re close to us. So you may be upset that somebody didn’t, you know, do the dishes. But what in reality, what’s behind that is you’re upset that they forgot your birthday, you know, and so maybe your reaction about the dishes is way over the top, because it’s not really the main issue. There’s something behind that. But I think what we, as Christian teachers can do is try to encourage people to look for that issue that’s behind something, rather than seeing the symptoms of that thing.

So, you know, if you’re, you know, the Bible does call homosexuality a sin, for example, but in the Christian world, that that sin, and there’s a lot of sins that all of us fall into, that sin has been elevated above all the other ones to be like the mark of the beast and that when it’s not, you know, and so we should be doing is seeing what’s behind that, that thing that sin and trying to minister the people, rather than to just be able to write them off as like, Oh, I can’t talk to you because you have this one sin that I don’t struggle with that.

Kay 35:23
Oh, yeah, you know gossip isn’t that same list?

Chris 35:25
I think it is. Yeah. When you look at you look at the words of Jesus and and then the Pharisees are all proud of themselves because they they haven’t committed adultery. And what does Jesus say? Well, if you have lusted after a woman in your heart, then you have committed adultery with her and honest to goodness, that’s going to put all of us into those categories. All of us are adulterers, if you’ve ever seen somebody who’s good looking, probably committed adultery in your heart. And so we, we forget that that levels, the playing field, and that’s a scary thing to think that I am on the same level as every other sinner.

But it’s also very freeing as a believer to be like, Okay, well, now I no longer have to be all judgy I can just go out there and be Christ to people. And there’s so much freedom. I don’t know, I got the soapbox in a second. But I feel like one of the things that should bind us together as Christians is that we have all admitted that we are sinners, that we we pray, but then we pretend like we aren’t, or we haven’t been centered. And that’s really dangerous. You know, we have to remember that Christ has saved all of us. And if but for the grace of God, we would all be lost in our sin. So we have no reason to be as high and mighty as we are. So anyway, end up end of soapbox.

Kay 36:49
Well, it’s it’s truth, right? And that’s, that’s what we’re responsible to do is to tell the truth, and people don’t always want to hear that. But like you said, as teacher that’s, that’s our responsibility. And so thank you for doing that. I want to encourage people check out truce, sit down and enjoy a few. It’s, it’s great for binge listening. You don’t have binge Listen, I mean, the episodes are, what, 20-30 minutes.

Chris 37:15
They’re between 20 and 40 minutes.

Kay 37:17
Yeah, okay. They’re not so long and heavy that you know, and there’s they’re really interesting, but go in with it with an open mind and ready to learn something. And context and context is so important, especially in this day and age, it’s hard to find. So thank you for doing that hard work. There’s one episode that I recently listened to, that I loved that you were using material from a book that you’d use to research the topic. But in rather than just quoting the book, or even reading from the book, or having somebody voice over what the author had said, you went and found the author and interviewed him. And so we got to hear what he had to say, and just those extra steps in a lot. I know, I’m thankful for that effort. And I hope that that does pay off for you sooner rather than later. It’s so good quality work like this good quality storytelling, and I’m talking to all yell, all you content creators out there, do the good work, and also realize that it that that is work that you should be getting paid for. And it’s okay to get paid.

Chris 38:28
And it’s Yeah, it’s important because as we were talking in the pre interview, I recently realized that I’m kind of poor, and it can be a really scary thing. I think a lot of content creators live in that space. And we all know what it’s like to have somebody come up and say, oh, would you do this thing for me for free, and they try to guilt you into it, but you deserve to be paid. And I think there’s a lot of backup in Scripture for that. Yeah. You know, the ox should not be muzzled while it reaps, you know, yeah.

Kay 38:56
in ministry and nonprofit we get the it’s kind of the same. Same type of thing. I’m right there with you.

Chris 39:01
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think it’s thing that’s so unfortunate, because we like, we like to have missionaries look sufficiently happy and also sufficiently poor. And like, the worst possible thing we can imagine is a is a missionary who’s well funded, because we love those stories of like, Oh, I got down to my last dollar, and then God sent a check. Well, I think those stories are actually really sad. Because it’s like, well, imagine what they could do if they didn’t have to go from check to check. It’s kind of a dehumanizing thing.

Kay 39:30
I love the stories where the missionary has, what they need to get where they’re going and do what God’s called them to do. And then we get to see God moving and providing in somebody else’s life, you know, and think that the stories we get then.

Chris 39:44
Yeah, I know, they’re not as dramatic. But, you know, it’s what we could do if our missionaries were well funded. I guess we could talk about that forever.

Kay 39:52
But yeah, well, for those of you interested in that conversation, the show before this one is my interview with Mary Valloni who is a fundraising coach for missionaries,

Chris 40:03
That’s it. Yeah. Good plug. Good cross promotion there.

Kay 40:07
That’s right. Chris, thank you so much for being on all the links are gonna be in the show notes. And so you’ll be able to find the truce podcast and connect with Chris on the different social media areas and do go give that a listen. And let us both know what you think.

Chris 40:24
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. Kay, this has been great.

Kay 40:28
As always, the show notes are at This is Episode 60. So you’ll find the notes at Hey, if you enjoyed this show, and if especially if you check out Chris’s podcast, why don’t you go on and review both of them? That would really be awesome. And it would help us both out. That’s how podcasts grow is when you share it with your friends and when you write a review. So that’s why we talk about this thing so much. And that wraps it up until two weeks from now when we’ll be back with another episode. This has been the life and mission podcast I’m Kay Helm. Find your voice. Tell your story. Chang the world.


Listen to Truce Podcast

Let’s Connect

Replay: Fundraising Freedom, with Mary Valloni

Replay: Fundraising Freedom, with Mary Valloni

What’s keeping your nonprofit or ministry from being fully funded?
Mary Valloni lays down some truth to help us overcome the lies we believe about money and fundraising. Plus, simple things you can do today to start your journey to Fully Funded.

Mary Valloni - Episode 59

Mary Valloni has helped thousands of individuals and organizations overcome the lack and scarcity mindset to fund and fulfill their missions. Her award-winning book is Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build & Sustain Your Next Campaign.

This is a replay of an interview we recorded in May 2020. It’s one of the most popular episodes of Life & Mission, and I hope it helps you!

Talking about money

While many of us shy away from conversations about money, Mary tackles the money issue straight-on. How does she know the money problem can be overcome? She’s done it. In a recession.

“Let’s just start dreaming, because there’s no reason why money should ever stop anyone from fulfilling the vision that God has given to them… If money is your biggest problem right now, I’ve got something to tell you. That can be overcome. We can tackle that. That is easy on the scale of what to overcome.”

Mary Valloni

Mary’s enthusiasm and her joy are contagious. We need more people like her. One of the big problems for fundraisers, especially in ministry, is that we do it alone. So, Mary teamed up with Mike Kim, a top personal brand and marketing expert. They created Fully Funded Academy, which helps missionaries get – you guessed it – fully funded.

The process for missionaries or nonprofits of any size is similar, following the seven-step framework laid out in Mary’s Fundraising Freedom book. This process can help you get clear on your mission and message, and pull together a team of volunteers (an important step often overlooked in fundraising).

Our focus in this interview is on mindset, because during a crisis it’s easy to assume people aren’t going to give. But that’s not the case!

“This is not the time to freeze and to slow down. This is absolutely the time to innovate and to  figure out what is what, go back to the foundation of why you created this thing in the first place, and realize that your vision has not changed one bit. We are just going to do this a little bit differently.”

Mary Valloni

What can we do right now?

Mary’s top advice right now? Communicate frequently, “because that’s what friends do.” Now is the time to check in on our supporters, to see how they’re doing, and to ask for their advice. Share the wins, even the little wins. There is a lot of bad news these days, so your good news will get noticed. “We all need each other. Some people are going to have the finances; some people are going to have the passion, the time commitment to go and do the physical work. But we are all in this together.”


Connect with Mary at and at

Need a Certified Fully Funded Coach?

Get the book: Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build and Sustain Your Next Campaign

Faith, Calling, and Sparking Connections, with Misty Phillip

Faith, Calling, and Sparking Connections, with Misty Phillip

Misty Phillip is using her gifts and her calling to bring people together.

Misty Phillip - Episode 58

Misty Phillip is using her gifts and her calling to bring people together. In 2020, she hosted two events–one live, right before the lockdown–and the second as a virtual event. We talked about the differences and similarities between live and virtual events, Misty’s personal journey of faith, and cultivating community.

About Misty

Misty is a dreamer and a doer who believes we are all here for a reason and that we are created for a purpose. She encourages people to use their story to give God glory. Misty Phillip is a podcaster, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping you spark your soul message.

Founder of Spark Media which consists of the Spark Christian Podcast Conference, Spark Now Summit, and the Spark Collective. She is the host of the popular By His Grace podcast. Misty inspires others through her leadership, speaking, and mastermind groups. She currently serves as the Houston Connect Leader for Christian Women In Media. Misty is the author of the best-selling Bible Study, The Struggle is Real: But So is God and Spark Podcast Planner 2020. and SparkMedia.Ventures

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Lessons for Life and Ministry with Tom Lane

Lessons for Life and Ministry with Tom Lane

Tom Lane is the apostolic senior pastor at Gateway Church and author of Tested and Approved: 21 Lessons for Life and Ministry

Tom Lane


Tom Lane is the apostolic senior pastor at Gateway Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. As an elder, he provides spiritual governance for Gateway’s ministries. As a pastor to pastors, Tom is a long-term, trusted Christian leader. Tom has written many books including Heritage: A Father’s Influence to the Generations, Foundations of Healthy Church Government, and he coauthored Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them with his wife, Jan.

Get the book and the guide:

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Looking up at the end of 2020

Looking up at the end of 2020

Some thoughts on the hope of Christmas, and I share shorts from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

Several friends eager to run into the New Year have asked me, “Do you have your word for 2021?” Actually, I don’t have a single word. I have a phrase from the song O Holy Night. The soaring, triumphant anthem for a world so drained and exhausted that it knows our only hope is to look up.

I imagine us all on our knees, weak and heavy, turning just enough to catch a furtive glance of someone moving. Emmanuel, our Savior. God with us. But He’s not what we expected! What is this? He’s just a baby! We need a king! We run after the tangible but fleeting hope of humans and human systems that can only offer the illusion of security. The promise of rest never realized.


One night in a small town, a lonely couple with nowhere to go settles among the animals and lays their newborn in a manger. As the baby cries his first breaths, the sky grows bright over the hill country. Startled shepherds rise to investigate, then fall back to the ground in awe and wonder. The light and the sound of the angels’ song is nearly too much to bear. With their heads still pressed to the ground, they turn just enough to glimpse the heavenly choir. Gasping for breath, overwhelmed. Praises tumble from their lips as a thrill of hope invigorates their souls.

Through the years, the angels’ praise continues. But our jaded, impatient world, discontent and numb, marches on from season to season. Have we lost enough strength to fall to our knees? It’s the weary world that rejoices. The weary world suspects we were meant for more. The rest of Bethlehem went about its business that night. But the baby’s exhausted parents and the shepherds; they were the ones who noticed. It was the weary ones on their knees that gained that thrill of hope.

The truth of Christmas is that we cannot save ourselves.
The promise of Christmas is that God loved us so completely that He sent His son to save us.

“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” – O Holy Night

He wrapped us in a starry sky, calling us to look up. He gave His only son to us. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. The government shall be upon His shoulders, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end.

This year has been challenging, but not without hope. Weary ones, may this week of in-between be filled with the wonder of Christ’s birth and the thrill of hope that only He can bring.


I’m sharing short takes from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association. Here are the links to their podcasts:

Letters from Home Podcast, by Meg Glesener

Life, Repurposed Podcast, by Michelle Rayburn

Truce Podcast, by Chris Staron

Moments with Moni Podcast, by Monika Hardy

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