Panel Discussion From the 2022 Verity Conference

Christian Life & Theology, Podcast Episodes

This week’s episode is the audio from the Verity Conference 2022 Q/A Panel with Phylicia Masonheimer, Pricelis Perreaux-Dominguez, and Jeremy Jenkins. Next year’s conference will be in October 2022 in Petoskey, Michigan! Recordings of the full conference will be available for sale on


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Phylicia: Welcome to Verity podcast. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonheimer. I’m here to teach you how to know what you believe, to live it boldly, and to communicate it graciously to the world around you. I believe that women are ready to go deeper in their faith than ever before and they don’t have to go to seminary to do it. I am so glad you’re here. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey because every woman is a theologian.

Hello, friends. Welcome back to Verity Podcast. We’re doing something so fun this week. We are actually sharing with you the recording of the Q&A panel from Verity Conference 2022. This past weekend, November 4th and 5th was the Third Annual Verity Conference located in Petoskey, Michigan, 250 women came from all around the United States to join us in person and over 200 women watched online around the world. We were so excited to celebrate Jesus with you, to talk about theology and Evangelism and Apologetics, and so far, your feedback has been amazing. So, thank you for making Verity Conference 2022 an amazing experience for everyone. This recording is from the question-and-answer panel with myself, Pricelis Perreaux-Dominguez of Full Collective, and Jeremy Jenkins, of All Things All People. It was emceed by Johnny Whitcomb, the next generation pastor of Genesis Petoskey. I hope that you enjoy listening in. And if you would like the full recording of the conference including all of the keynotes, you can grab that on my website, for $29 for the entire conference recording. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the Verity Conference Q&A panel. 

John: First of all, let’s welcome to stage Jeremy Jenkins, the Executive Director for All Things All People, which explores the darkest places and worldviews and equips Christians on how to best engage with such worldviews. They get that pretty close. All right, awesome, awesome. Now we’re going to have Pricelis come on up. She is the founder and CEO of the, oh my goodness, The Collective.

Pricelis: Full Collective.

John: Full Collective.

Pricelis: You almost nailed that one.

John: I almost nailed that one. 

Pricelis: All right. 

John: I am so sorry. And then last but not least, certainly, Phylicia Masonheimer.

[applause & cheers] 

John: Who wants you all to be theologians? We’ll just leave it at that. 

Pricelis: And our panel question asker will be Johnny, today.

John: I’ll ask the question. Pricelis, can you please pray over? It’s a hot mic situation. 

Pricelis: [laughs] Absolutely.

John: So, we prefer for some grace-ansible.

Pricelis: Yes, yes. Thank you, Father. I’m just really grateful, Lord. I’m grateful that you have placed questions in our hearts and in our minds, or that we are willing to acknowledge how big you are. And that this journey of knowing you and getting to know you is endless. It keeps going and so I pray that you would continue to ignite curiosity in us that we will continue to be people who ask questions, I pray that you would cover us as we minister and communicate and that there would be receptive ears and hearts here today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

John: Amen. Okay, panelists, question numero uno. What?


John: Let’s get into it. Um, first of all, how do you keep from the mentality of making someone or a relationship with someone a project? So that makes sense. Is that helpful.

Pricelis: Well, they’re not a project? 

John: No.

Pricelis: [laughs] So I think, I talked a little bit about this in mind, but the idea is that we are not saviors. So, when we acknowledge that we’re not, then we let Jesus do his thing. And we serve people and love people to the capacity and to the extent we can. I think we pass our own boundaries, sometimes trying to help people. And we need to take a pause and be like, “All right, Lord, you got the rest of the road.” Because there’re just certain things, we can do but to treat people as project is actually not giving them dignity, because you’re saying that, yeah, that they’re less than in some way or that they need to be fixed. We all need to be fixed. That’s why we need Jesus 

John: Yeah. Absolutely, anything anybody else would want to add to that? Yeah, go ahead. This would be an enthusiastic time.

Phylicia: I think anytime we fall into this savior complex, it’s evident you’re not relying on the Holy Spirit, because He is the one who’s doing the work, I’m just repeating basically what Pri, said it. So, if you are sensing that urgency or the anxiety, I’ve got to be the one to do this. The I use that as a cue to go, “Oh, I’m relying on my own strength in this situation.”

Jeremy: Pri, in her key note talked about remember your testimony and I would encourage anybody who maybe struggles with this idea of like, I think about when I was in high school and I grew up in a really Christian community. And you’d hear the term like missionary dating. Maybe many of you participated in that in some form or fashion, I don’t know. But we have a tendency to do that even in our friendships and those of us who are in ministry, whether vocational or just a calling, and I would encourage you, we said, to remember your testimony. I remember coming to faith because Dane and Jade Lundgren, who are my youth pastors at my church, they just seem to have a genuine interest in me. And most of the impactful moments were not moments that they manufactured, but when I would be like out on a run and I would stop by their apartment. And I would interrupt their life, and they would welcome me into their house. And if they were eating a meal, they would let me sit down, and I never realized as a 14-year-old kid, I’m really messing up their life, but [laughter] so I just think about that. And Pri, said, remember your testimony, and remember how good it felt that someone just genuinely was interested in you. And do unto others as you would have done to yourself and so, don’t missionary date, don’t missionary minister. I mean, be a missionary, but don’t manufacture relationship, so that you can make somebody look more like you.

John: I love it. Okay, so this is kind of the inverse on that a little bit, because I’m sure you guys all do feel the conviction for discipleship for holy living. So, then what do you do if there’s somebody in your life who thinks like acknowledging God. Trying to be a virtuous good person means that, “Hey, I’m a Christian.” How do you speak to somebody who’s like, “I think I get it,” and you’re like, “I don’t know if you do.”


John: You know what I mean? I don’t know if you’re ready to serve in middle school yet.

Phylicia: I think, well, this goes back to the story of my bus driver friend. That was totally his perspective. I think that’s most people’s perspective in this world is like, I try to be a good person. And my sister and I are talking about this recently. And its honestly kind of astonishing how work based the world is. That they say, I just have to be a good person and then I’ll get to heaven or default is workspace. We often say that with Christians, but even the world is workspace. And so, when someone says, I have to be a good person, there’s a lot of– I’m sure, Jeremy and Pri will have other answers for this, there’re a lot of angles you can take there. But I try to go back to one of two things, either talking about the effort they have to put in to get there. And the fact that you can’t ever perfectly be good, like what’s the standard for good? And how can you get there.? 

Then secondly, the rift between us and God, that separation, and that’s the angle that I took, when I talked with Darren, the bus driver. Was, I understand that you want to know God and be with him after death. There’s a longing within you for that but there’s a rift there. And that’s because of the brokenness of this world and the sin that affects you. But there’s good news, the rift can be close. So going from that angle of either we think we’re better than we are or we think we can get there when we can’t and concentrating on that existing rift have been two angles that I’ve used. What about you? 

Pricelis: I would walk people or that person together through scriptures that describe what a Christian actually is and would be. I think that question it’s very much saying in general, like, yeah, God is just looking for us to be good and nice. Where’s the verse that says that and so whenever we’re trying to think about what it means to be, I mean to be Christian is to be a follower of Christ. This used to be called the way right like there’s a historical understanding of what a Christian is and a biblical understanding. And so, we can have our opinions, right because also the word Christian can mean a lot of different things today. And so, it’s like, well what does the Bible say is a Christian, let’s go from there. And okay maybe you’re not living out some of these parts. Maybe I’m not living out either. Let’s work on that together but it should be the Bible that defines that for us. 

Jeremy: Yeah. And to tack on to that to, on the front end, we have a historic orthodox definition of what it means to be a follower, but then too you know I pastor in the Bible Belt. And so much of my experience has been pastoring people who’ve been a Christian longer than I’ve been alive. And so sometimes when you ask really self-evaluative questions about, “Is your faith alive and active.” Like, I use the example of like, a ball of dough, it might not seem like that’s alive, but the yeast in there is going to be what makes it rise. And so, calling people and calling ourselves to self-evaluation to say like, yeah, you observed doctrine and you’re willing to say creeds, but do you have a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. If you don’t, I don’t know that it’s our room to say, this isn’t the diagnosis. When you walk that aisle, it wasn’t legitimate. I don’t know that we always need to be the people. But we do need to call people to say if you don’t meet that definition, then automatically, we know the diagnosis. But if you do and nothing in your life looks kingdom.

I think we just need to be willing, starting with ourselves to call that person to self-evaluation that might lead to life-changing repentance. And so, I think from the front end to the backend, there are things that are going to de facto happen. It always going to look different but if you are a believer and if you are part of a community of believers, there are some things that no matter what culture, part of the country, part of the world, if it’s a men’s conference, a women’s conference, there should be some things that are always present. And if they’re not, then there’s a problem.

John: Yeah. Good. You guys think this is good? Let them know.

[laughter & applause]

John: Yeah. I want to unpack just one more– when you said, it’s crazy how unbelievable, even the secular world is very workspace. Where do you see unpack some of the language that maybe we can use to– if I’m hearing this, I’m hearing workspace language. In our church, outside of our church, how can we be self-diagnostic as to what we’re hearing? And what that really at the heart of it is? Does that make sense as a question? 

Phylicia: Yeah. I think so. I think when I’m talking to and discipling someone who’s completely not a believer, they’re not in the church or maybe even have never been in the church, in person, not online. I’m listening for their idea of their value first of all as a human-

John: Where they find value? 

Phylicia: -where’s my value coming from? And a lot of times its, if I’m kind, I feel peace with the universe, if I do good things. And in a lot of times, I’ll let them talk for a bit and then I’ll ask, “Well, what defines good to you? Or What does peace feel like?” There’s a ministry associated with Genesis church called Start to Stir in the United Kingdom. And they do amazing work asking great questions like this. And in asking those questions, kind of figuring out where are you getting your value? And how do you think your actions have eternal significance. And once I can nail that down. Then I can kind of say, okay, there’s another perspective on this. There’s a freeing perspective where you don’t have to be the one to do the work.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Phylicia: God has already done the work for you and you rest in it. Does that answer the question? 

John: Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you. 

Pricelis: If I can, I wanted to say it also in the in the world of justice, because I think that shows up in protests. And in different ways, while I’ve protested, I’ve done something good. I’ve stood up for people. But if you don’t actually believe that every person your “standing up for has dignity” that you love them that. They can have access to Christ that they should be loved and seen, then your protest doesn’t matter. 

John: Yeah.

Pricelis: So, the works of the world– We can be Christians and protest and do whatever we want, all these different kinds of things. But if it’s work based to be some ways performative and it’s not biblically based, then it really has no purpose. [laughs] And it has no use in some ways, although we could see that some seemingly be effective in some ways, but it shows up in so many different areas of the world where people think they’re doing good.

John: Doing good. Yeah. I think it’s absolutely right because we’re balancing orthodoxy, right thinking, right doctrine, and then orthopraxy, what we’re actually putting into practice with our lives. And I’ve spent about four years here in Petoskey. But then, I spent the previous four years in Chicago, and it’s similar I hear, a pure a lot of good orthodoxy but there’s not a lot of orthopraxy, we’re pretty comfortable. Whereas I would say, in Chicago what I saw is lots of good practice, but without any firm faith underneath of it. And so, it was really just striving to keep up with, okay, what are they angry about? Okay, I want to be angry about that. Okay, what are they concerned about? I want to be concerned about that. It was interesting to kind of see both sides of that spectrum, kind of what you’re talking about last time. Okay, let’s dig into the next one. Who has God placed on your hearts as individuals, as people that you want to advocate for? And then what does that advocacy look like? Because this is coming from you and I love that question or that statement that I want to be an advocate. How do we do it? You go first.


John: [crosstalk]

Pricelis: Yeah, I think this is, oh my gosh, this question is so powerful and this one that we should ask ourselves. Because we can’t be All Things for All People, we’re not called to all the things because then nothing will get done. So, for me specifically, I’m called to those who have been wounded by the church. And I also feel called to those who, for Christians who really care about the justice God communicates, but perhaps are confused by worldly justice versus biblical justice. And then I’m also called to women, who want to grow in their calling, and are just unsure what that looks like and perhaps are stuck in it. So those are kind of the three groups that I like to advocate for support, help and create resources for.

Jeremy: So, for me, it’s such a unique question, because I’ve never classified what I do as advocacy with All Things All People ATAP, but I do find myself growing very frustrated with the church, and how they talk about non-believers. And it’s interesting, how often I find myself advocating for lost people to Christians, and just sort of kind of like, no, no, no, you can’t. You can’t reduce them. You can’t trivialize their concerns. We’re all in the world of social media. And just a couple days ago, I made a reel about a question that really antagonistic nonbeliever had asked me, and I felt prompted to say, hey, this is a really important question. So, advocating for at least the use of some sort of sympathy for people who don’t believe in Jesus.

Can you think of any reasons why they might not and Pri talks extensively about church– as a pastor, I look at that advocacy work. And I kind of for the same thing go. Can I think of any reasons, why we have a generation of young men and women who have walked away from the church? And so trying to push the church to say, “Yeah, I guess I can understand it a little bit.” All of a sudden, your ministry is a lot more fruitful. And so yeah, weirdly enough by no means advocating for worldviews or things like that. But just for the treat like the listening aspect of, hey, why don’t you actually give them a minute to try and understand where they’re coming from? But I’ve never thought about it as advocacy by any means but that’s yeah, that’s interesting.

Phylicia: Well. Obviously, I’m an advocate for every woman to be a theologian.


Phylicia: But more specifically, because that is really broad and it could actually mean a whole lot of things. There’re a couple things. I believe personally that I can’t teach what I’m not doing. So, I’ve encouraged you all to go be in your local communities and be doing this in real life and that’s something that I really am an advocate for is, am I involved in my community, do I know people in my community that I’m actively discipling who don’t know Jesus. Am I friends with people who are not believers. When you’re when you’re in ministry in a church or like in parachurch, it can be so easy to become insulated from the very people that you’re supposed to be reaching. And I end up just being ministering to you and sending you out to do the work I’m not doing anymore. And I don’t want that to ever be the case so that’s one. But then the second one is kind of a subgroup within every woman a theologian are people coming out of legalism. And the reason I’m passionate about this is that legalism is the farm team for deconstruction. And when you have a legalistic, oppressive church environment, you probably have heard me say this, but it creates perpetual lifelong baby believers who have been spoon fed all of this information and then when they suddenly get out there, they’re hurt. And then Pri is ministering to them down the road, when they’re crushed and hurt and wounded. But if we can way back here, when they’re just leaving legalism, walk with them on that road, then we can oftentimes prevent them or the Lord can prevent them completely falling apart later on. So, people coming out of legalism is they have my heart.

John: Wow, good. Okay, this is kind of on that, you said, “Let’s do this in the context of community.” So, we’re going to shift gears for this next question. Hard, hang a uey. Do they use that everywhere or is that just the Midwest?


John: I don’t know. I’m going to read this whole question because I want to make sure that we’re covering all the bases on it, it’s kind of an involved one, but it says I’m new to an area and struggling to make friends. Many people are in established groups already. So as people, they’ve got their crew. Two years in and I’m struggling to stay encouraged and keep trying. What are practical tips do you have to keep persisting and finding and building relationships? What should I be examining myself to consider what might make me seem unapproachable, unavailable, or something else.

Phylicia: Well, it kind of goes back to what Mikayla said last night, which is like married people are weird. They like to do things together. I don’t know if this person is married or single, but I think we do get comfortable in our groups. 

John: Yes. 

Phylicia: And we’re like, I don’t need more friends. So, I’m just not going to open up the group-

John: Yup.

Phylicia: -to other people and during the church greeting time, we just go to the people we know, we don’t like open it up. And I think for this person in this situation, you can’t change those people. And this is going to sound super like, “Oh, Phylicia, the spiritual trump card.” But I really truly I have been in this season and for years been in this season, and have prayed faithfully. God, please bring me community, bring me people who share my values, who share the life that I want to live. And He has answered that. But it takes time, it sounds like this person’s already been so faithful to try and open their home. But I would also say practically speaking, if these are the people in their church who are acting this way, you may want to maybe try a Bible study from another church or community Bible study detached from that church. Or any activities or clubs or anything that you’re in inviting people over who maybe are not in these particular circles. Be maybe open to working with other circles or combining circles.

So up here in Petoskey, I would say we have a lot of smaller groups of Christians and non-Christians who get together, but they crosspollinate if you will [laughs], where we’re like, “Well, we work with this person, in this group and this one.” So, we all kind of know each other and yes you have your deeper friends but you’re still connecting across those groups. So having that person who’s willing to, who’s not– well you are part of the group that goes to that church or that church. This is just being above the clique and being like, I’m going to have all of you over and we’re all just going to make it work. But praying for that and letting Him do that for you has been really pivotal for me. 

John: Yeah. Absolutely, I think Jeremy, you said this in your talk, but you were like, stay fascinated with people. 

Jeremy: Yeah.

John: Ask good questions. Maybe? 

Jeremy: Yeah. So, I’m probably the worst person to ask this question, I’m horrible making friends. 


Jeremy: And my wife will tell you that and I’ve been at the same church for 12 years. My best friends are the guys that I serve with and they’re like family. So, I probably can address this from the other side of those of you who are maybe clicked up. My wife Courtney is extremely hospitable and I’ve seen a lot of fruit from what Phylicia talks about which is hospitality’s ministry. And so, I have a really small social battery. I get wore out pretty easy but that thing that I shared, that you just mentioned is when I’m struggling, I want to learn people. And in so, Courtney, laughs about it is like, I had a really great friend who for 10 years was an insurance salesman and so, I know as much about insurance as him, because when we would sit and I didn’t feel the urge to be friendly. I didn’t feel the urge to, man I can’t do right now. It’s just like, I want to learn as much as I possibly can about you. So, I probably can’t approach this from the questioner’s side, I’ve been there. I’ll say this to many of you in some form of fashion or in church leadership, you have to combat. Clicking this in your churches, and it goes from the children’s ministry, to the senior adult Sunday school. And that’s something that I’ve become painfully aware as a pastor too. Our church actually in the last few years has really started to fight against this because for a long time we weren’t really good at welcoming new people into true genuine fellowship.

It starts by just getting– like Courtney, leads our women’s ministry, this is all about Courtney now. And our women’s ministry, all the guys on our staff joke, they do this thing called table groups, and it’s basically just a woman opens her home and there’s no Bible study. So many people are intimidated by Bible study, and people are intimidated by leading Bible Studies. There’re like two or three questions I think that each week they ask and for a particular season at table groups. And so that’s not just like a programming mentioned, but also to just like our church has been changed by that. Every single woman in our church knows each other and so guess what, their husbands are changed now. We have two guys in our church that are like me, they don’t make friends really easy like most men and but they’re like brothers now. The other day I said, “Hey, how did they become so close?” Courtney, kind of smiled and she said, their wives were in table groups with each other and so looking out and realizing we probably have a lot people leading in some form or fashion. You really have to contend against that because questions like this are, they have generational impacts. That person’s children feel disenfranchised too and so as leaders, we have to be keenly aware of that.

John: Yeah. I think when you arrive in a church, it’s not like, oh, it’s all about me. If I’m establishing the church, I’m looking out towards other people. We have a thing here at Genesis that Mikayla actually helped start, my wonderful sister, Mikayla [unintelligible [00:25:29]. I led you guys last night called LED, which is, Look, be on the lookout for people who are new. Engage them. So, L-E, Engage them, strike up a conversation, extend that hand, give that hug, and then direct them. So, as you engage them, ask them questions. What are you about? Who are you? What do you do? Are you new here? Have you been coming for two months, and I just spaced out and didn’t see you yet. I’m so sorry. And then direct them to like other people. It’s like, “oh, my goodness, you homeschool?” Let me introduce you to Phylicia. So, LED, Look, Engage, Direct, whatever it is. And we actually did, we have two new families come last week. And it’s like, okay, let me learn about you. You’re a young couple don’t have kids yet, let me introduce you to me and my wife. Oh, your single young lady, let me introduce you to Mikayla. That kind of a thing.

Phylicia:  Yeah.

John: Okay, New York City.


John: Break it down. 

Pricelis: I was going to mention until 2020 happened to all of us. And in New York City, so many of my close friends left. There’re like, “It’s expensive. We can’t do anything. Bye.” I was like, “Hey, I’m here. Stay. ” So, some of my closest friends left New York in 2020. I thought it was going to be temporary. Now they’re gone and I’m glad for them where they are living.

John: Are they in Michigan now? 

Pricelis: No, California– like far away California and North Carolina all these places. So, I really learned and I mean, I’m still connected with them. But in regard to closeness those who are in person around me, I’ve learned to really just value the quality over the quantity. So, it was several people but I didn’t have to go out and essentially search for new people. I was like, “Oh, Lord, I got two. I still got two. We’ll see each other as much as we can.” Another thing I think about especially, that I’ve witnessed through my ministry is that so many women have literally become best friends, through coming to my retreats, through coming to things. It’s not things I have done, I’ve just created the space. They’ve connected in that space and from there, they’ve built a relationship. So, you’re here, this is a space that this can exist, last night you all had introductions to get to know each other. But these kinds of spaces if you’re intentional, I know, you can’t go on every conference, they’re all expensive or far away or just time away. But being able to be intentional when you do show up in these spaces on creating community and making friends. There’re so many of you all that I’ve been chatting that literally live 10 minutes from each other, or half an hour from each other. So, find one another and if you hear about someone, I met two Donna’s, I connected them, I was like, hey, Donna, you know Donna, like he said connect one another with each other. That’s we get to help one another in that way too.


John: Amen. Okay, so just to lean in, Full Collective. Is that a full-time thing? Or do you do okay, social work a little bit or not anymore? 

Pricelis: I just finished working full time social work, home with my baby. So, we’ll see if I pick it up again.

John: Pick it up again. Okay, this is a question for you. And then you know how many of you raise your hand if you’re like bivocational, you’ve got something and then probably like, Ministry of some sort as well.

Jeremy: Okay. So, there’re lots of areas of our life where we’re not sure how to bring our faith into it. And my wife, this is a selfish question, honestly. My wife is like wondering, how do I engage the people that I’m sitting down with, who have no interest in the gospel, but in my own head, I’m screaming, this is what you need is Jesus, how do I stir those spiritual conversations for them [ laughs].

Pricelis: This is really hard because it depends where you work. So, I was a social worker for seven years working with human trafficking survivors. It was a Christian nonprofit, though. So, I can say all the Jesus I want whenever I want.

John: Praise the Lord.

Pricelis:  The people we served didn’t have to be Christian, but they knew that we were. But even there, I had to be very mindful of when I say Jesus or speak the gospel, because these are human trafficking survivors. They’re like sis right now is not the time for the gospel. Like I’m disassociating, I’m triggered, it’s all these different things. So, there’s this huge wisdom we need and being able to communicate the gospel in spaces that are either not allowed, not permitted or just maybe not the best approach appropriate in the moment. So, we need the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. Like Phy said, the opportunity, be mindful of the opportunity. And just be prayerful around that person. I can be around someone not tell them anything about Jesus, and pray for them Like literally, I see them just like, okay, I’m praying for them right now. Like that is ministering to that person. And then I did work in an organization that I couldn’t say Jesus, at all and so I just had to show up like Jesus. I had to communicate the way I talk, the way I treated my employees, the way I did it in integrity, all my administrative work, all of those things show with Jesus, even when I couldn’t actually say his name. 

John: Praise God. All right, anybody else have anything to add to that? Spaces where it’s like, okay, so you said, sis now is not the time, which I like. Because that’s going to lead us to our next question. How do Christians make following Jesus harder, or understanding Jesus harder than it needs to be? That makes sense, how do we overcomplicate?


Phylicia: We all obviously have opinions. [laughs]

Jeremy: Well.

John: I work for a church, so be gentle.

Jeremy: Well, I mean, there’s a lot we could say. But I think I’ll start. I’m new to being a Christian social media person. I don’t like the word influencer, [John, laughs] but it is a poisonous and toxic world, where now like, Phy went through, first tier, second tier, third tier and all that stuff. And now we have made being a Christian, so much more about the things that trend in the things that will get follows and likes. I’ve been so glad to have really, I mean, Phy was really one of the first people that I could sort of look at and kind of go, “Well, how does she do this social media thing.” And so, watching her in that, she didn’t call out other Christians, that she didn’t take stands on things because she knew that was going to get traffic. And so, I wonder if we do that sometimes, even outside of social media that, I’m not going to call anybody out but I see so many. For me, people just make their faith about one theological tenant. So, whether it be Calvin, I’m defined by my Calvinistic belief or my Arminian belief. And so, we make second and third issues, not just first issues, but the one issue and also two.

Right now, there’s so much identity politicking going on, and we have made– I am as prolife as they come. But our faith is so much bigger than our one stance on that issue. We need to approach our faith as first being a follower of Jesus, not a one particular byproduct of following Jesus. And so, if you belong to a Reformed Church, don’t hear me say that you can’t be Calvinist or you can’t be Armenian, but that can’t be all that you be. I mean there’s a billion answers to this question but that’s one that’s been on my heart a lot. And I know too, if is somebody who’s creating content, if you follow me on Instagram, like, I didn’t post anything for three weeks because I didn’t have anything to say. But every single day, man, I had anxiety just going, I got to post, I got to say something. And what happens when you live your life that way? What happens if every time you’re in small group or if every time you’re in conversation. Well, I can tell you what happens, you end up dying on the wrong hills, and you end up taking stands for things that they’re probably worthy, but they’re not worthy of everything you have. And so, yeah, and I mean, as a pastor too, I’d say, I’ve seen that my own life in my church’s life, in the churches that I work around, we become defined by something other than what really should be defining us. And yeah, that for me–, now I could go on and on about that. But I’m sure these ladies have.

Phylicia: I just think you should just drop the mic. 

John: Yeah. Clapable answer right there.


John: All right. Now, who wants to really follow up with that? 

Phylicia: I think he said it better than I could even say it, but I will add one thing that I think of often. My words for that, that might in person friends have heard me say, I always ask into what am I discipling them? Am I discipling them? What do they think they’re supposed to be believing in? Or Who do they think they’re supposed to be believing it? Am I discipling them into that one issue. Like if I take someone who doesn’t know anything about Jesus, am I showing them well, the thing you need to put your faith in his Calvinism, a thing you need to put your faith in is the pro-life movement, the thing you need to put your faith in is X, Y and Z. If I am saying this is the core issue, instead of this is flowing out of your relationship with Christ, then I have actually given them, this is going to sound really, maybe mean, because I’ve given them a false gospel. Because I haven’t given them the true gospel priority. I haven’t given them Christ first and then sanctity of life. Christ first and then taking my theology seriously. I’m raising it up above that and so when I’m on social media, I just think there’re some people who I agree completely theologically. I can’t recommend them or share their work because I can see what they’re discipling people into. I can see even the spiritual formation, the character that these followers are being discipled into. And when I’m on social media, my first thought is not just, am I giving them correct theology and a gracious theology, but am I showing them to the best of my flawed ability what it looks like to follow Christ in character? Because we make it harder for Christians, I think, to walk with Jesus, when we show them a character that is arrogant and rude and unloving and unkind or passive or weak or compromised, like any of those things. So, it’s like that theology and character orthopraxy and orthodoxy like you said.

John: I see the fruit.

Phylicia: Yeah. 

John: Nope. 

Pricelis: They got it.


John: All right, clap for them. Good job. [laughs] All right, on a lighter note, are you all familiar with the works of J. R. R Tolkien.

Pricelis: [laughs] Oh, my God. He is going to do it again.

John: I mean, it was hard so we’re going to do it. If you were a character in Lord of the Rings, who would you be and why? These are the hard-hitting questions. I know you wanted answers.

Jeremy: So, I’m going to–

Phylicia: Is this a specific character or is this a race of being.

Jeremy: You could be a race of beings like, oh, [crosstalk], I am all elves.

John: All right, go ahead.

Jeremy: I’m going to go ahead and get ahead of this because people are shocked to find this out. Because I am a Tim Keller fanatic and I have never actually read Lord of the Rings. 

Pricelis: Same.

Phylicia: Get off my stage.


John: Wait, wait.

Jeremy: It’s been on my to-read list since I was a teenager–

John:  Okay.

Jeremy: –and I have just never done it. And I fear saying that in front of certain–

John: Yeah, raise your hand, on this couch, raise your hand if you were homeschooled. 


Jeremy: Oh, man. [laughs]

John: That’s why he’s saying, that’s why is saying. That’s what that’s code for.

Jeremy: [laughs] Great.

Phylicia: So that leaves me being the only one answering this question. 

John: Yeah. Go ahead answer. Go ahead.

Phylicia: No. I will say when I saw this question, I laughed very hard. But then I was debating would I be an Elf? Oh, and on the list of options, it said, would you be an Elf? Would you be a Dwarf, a Human or an Orc? Who would choose an Orc? Oh, rude.

John: An honest person. 

Phylicia: I feel so honored because Josh said, “I would be a high Elf.

Pricelis: Cool Josh.

John: Clap for Josh. 


Phylicia:  Yeah.

John: That is the nerdiest question I’ve ever asked.

Phylicia: In spirit, I’m probably a Dwarf though.


John: Yeah. If you’re a fan of Tim Keller, you’d be a fan. It’s good stuff. 

Phylicia: Yeah. You will love it. Yeah, that’s your assignment when you go.

John: Okay, this is a question for Jeremy specifically. This person recently moved into an area with a large Hindu population, is there a resource that you would recommend to help learn their beliefs and culture better?

Jeremy: Well. First and foremost, there’s this Instagram account, @allthings.allpeople.


John: Imma plug it.

Jeremy: And I spend a lot of time talking about Hinduism. Hinduism is near and dear to my heart and I recommended this to at least a couple of people out there. First and foremost, I recommend this for everybody. Even if you have no interest in cross-cultural ministry or anything like that, there’s a very small book by Jason Georges, named 3D Gospel. And it is a tremendous resource, talking about different cultures and learning how they perceive reality. So specifically, within a south Asian context, and actually far larger than just south Asia into east Asia and much of even South America and Africa, they exhibit a belief in something called an honor-shame society, where the idea that what is to be accrued is honor and what is to be avoided is shame and so they’re collectivist. And so that wasn’t what they asked but this is just me kind of talking now. So along with that there is a great– and this is the professor in me because it’s actually a textbook. But the best Christian resource that I’ve ever come away from for just general world religions, education is a textbook called Neighboring Faiths. And if you went to a Christian college and took a world religions class, you very likely use that. There’s also a narrative nonfiction called Death of a Guru, and it’s a story of a young man who was being groomed and raised up to be a Hindu guru who came to Christ. And so, he wrote his story about that. But yeah, and then honestly and this is just kind of me talking, I find that the best thing to do because with Hinduism specifically in most Asian faiths is that if there’s a billion Hindus on the planet, which there are, there’s around a billion Hinduisms.

It’s not individualistic at all, but it changes from region to region, from family to family. And so, ask them questions. What do you believe? Why do you believe that? Don’t assume you know anything and you’d be surprised how much time I spend studying these types of things. And how stupid I sound when I talk to people because people will be like, I thought you knew all this stuff. Why do you ask such stupid questions? It’s like because I have a pretty good guess and especially on some of these older religions, I might actually know more textbook stuff than them about their own faith. I don’t know their faith and I don’t know what they genuinely individually believe. So, if you’re in a large area with that population and as you make friends, which inevitably you will just ask them. What is it that you believe. And actually, one thing too, I’ll say this is we are one of the few cultures on the planet that excuse talking about our own faith, it is hugely uncomfortable for us. But most other non-western, so anywhere outside of Western Europe, the United States, and Canada. They’re kind of fine with it largely because we divide our culture and our religion, but for a Hindu or a Buddhist, somebody from more of an indigenous background, what have you, their culture and their religious identity are the same. And so, in the same way that we have a very easy time.

Like, when you meet somebody, especially men what’s the first thing they talk about is their jobs. What do you do, we train our children that the most important question they can answer is, what do you want to be when you grow up. We place our value on is our vocation, Hindus, Buddhists, South Asians, they place their value on their culture identity, which is intrinsically tied to their religion, so don’t be afraid of offending them just by simply asking questions about them. And as I said earlier, I promise you, depending on the part of the world or part of the country you’re from, there’s like a 75% chance you’ll be the first person not of their various tribe that takes an interest in them in that way. And so, the mere fact that you’re willing to ask those questions, so Neighboring Faiths, Death of a Guru, 3D Gospel, read up, study up, and then go be a good anthropologist. Go listen and you talk about active listening.

John: Yeah.

Jeremy: Listen and don’t listen and go, okay, what parable can I share? Like, what Frank Turek argument can I use to befuddle them. No, just listen and go, wow, that’s really interesting. I don’t understand that at all. 

John: Yeah.

Jeremy: Can you unpack that and they probably will. So, ATAP is a good one too.

John: Yeah. I love– you’re rural North Carolina and staying fascinated.

Jeremy: Yeah.

John: It was easy for me when I was in Chicago, but now I’m mayonnaise white Northern Michigan.

Jeremy: Yeah. 

John: So, it’s harder, but you’re still finding those people. 

Jeremy: Yeah. So, if you go to Pew Research, you got to Barna, not everyone in this room is the same ethnicity, the same background, but every single one of us has probably been tricked into thinking that the way we see the world, is the way the world is. And I remember the first time I was telling Pri, about this last night. The first time I got on a plane, in the first time I ever left the country was actually to India not recommended. And I got on a plane in Canada to fly direct to Delhi. And I realized that everyone was staring at me. It was because for the first time of my life, I all of a sudden was a minority. It made me automatically question just the way I had operated, for the 30 years before that, or whatever it was. Because we are all tricked into thinking that the tribe we run in makes up the whole of our reality. We are tricked into thinking that the way that we see the world, is the way not only that the world is but the way everyone else sees the world. And so, I promise you can look on the census, I say this a lot with the work I do with ATAP is like, I’ll tell stories about running into somebody who’s bought into Wicca or Neopaganism or the Hindu.

I live right across the street from a gas station, and like I am good friends with the guys there and in the censuses and in the Pew research stuff, and Barna, they all are telling us that if I can find those people in Forest City, North Carolina on the sign when you drive in and it’s a small town friendly. So, if I have them, if I can look into, it’s not just about reaching people of other nations, if I talked about like your first nation is your family and the group that you run in, but if you walk away somehow from this conference, and still think that it would be hard to find people, that have a very different worldview than you down your street then you were not listening this entire time. And so, I grew up right outside Chicago. I covet living in areas where I’m surrounded by different cultures. Yeah, I have to work a little bit harder to find them, but not that hard. 

John: Yeah. 

Jeremy: And so yeah, if you don’t ever see anybody who doesn’t look, if you’re never around anybody who doesn’t look the same as you, dress the same as you, talk the same as you, listen to the same music, then you are whether you realize it or not intentionally surrounding yourself with people who are just like you. And so, there’s an intentional aspect to this.

John: Amen. Okay, so this is springboarding off of that. Can you expound on how loving, respecting and seeing your neighbor who’s different than you is different than affirming or agreeing with them? Does that make sense. And then, I’m going to go secondary. How can you see somebody as an image bearer if they’re the ones who are causing the injustice or harm? So, you’re ministering to the church [00:47:15 unintelligible]

Pricelis: First part of the question. So, I think we misunderstand respect as if it is something that is meant for particular people in particular situations and circumstances. This respect goes across the board. It is me honoring the human being that is in front of me and whether that respect is through manners, or how I talk to that person, or how I listen to them, but it has to do with the person, not what they believe, not who they are, none of that. It goes across the board. So, if we misunderstand respect as affirmation and we don’t know what respect means, so affirmation is different and the thing is lot of people especially in the world would mistake affirmation to be love. Like, if you’re not my ally and if you don’t affirm, you actually don’t love me, you’re actually a homophobe, you’re actually racist, you’re actually all these things. And they can say all that, but we get to know and understand what does the Bible say? The Bible says, “I will not be an ally with certain ideologies and ways of living, I will not affirm certain things that the world is doing.” So, respect and affirmation are not the same thing and we don’t need to mix them up. 

The second part of seeing the image, seeing the person causing injustice as an image bearer, and I talked with a friend earlier, I think she’s Carly or Katie, about– yes, hey girl. [laughs] We’re talking about the idea of calling someone who has abused us, a neighbor. So, every person right now in the world causing an injustice is your neighbor. I’m not going to mention a certain person causing a certain war in a certain part of the world right now. He is a neighbor. I don’t want to admit that or say that, but he is a neighbor. And so, I get to see him as image bearer first, and then I see yes, he is causing destruction, he is causing injustice. What can I do about this? Is it who I vote for, is it what I stand for, it’s what I communicate, it’s how I pray, it’s too I donate to. But the first way I need to see him, because if I don’t see him as image bearer first, and I see him as evil first or destructive first, then there will be, what I try to do then afterwards will probably be less effective. So first, he’s my neighbor, first he’s an image bearer. And trust me, I don’t want to say, you don’t have to be all the time saying like, “They’re all my neighbors.” Like, we don’t have to emphasize it all the time but it’s to know it. To know it. You don’t have to proclaim it out loud but know it. Know that they’re your neighbor, even when they’re causing injustice. This does not mean you accept what they’re doing. It’s the fact that you see who they are in Christ.


John: Yeah, clap for that. 

Pricelis: Oh, it’s good.

Phylicia: Can I ask. I want to ask you Pri, do you think that thinking in that way changes how you engage in spiritual warfare through prayer. Because that’s what I’m thinking, as you’re saying that if you see this person is an image bearer, who is walking in sin and working with the enemy, not with righteousness. I am more likely when I have that perspective to pray on that spiritual level. Like, I’m inviting God’s power, I hope that God does what he needs to do to get through to that person. I hope that God raises up the righteousness and the goodness to defeat the evil. And understanding that this, as Paul said, “Is a spiritual war manifesting through human people.” I think that helps me to be like, you’re saying. Like, this is an image bearer who’s partnering with evil. And if they repented tomorrow, I would rejoice with the angels that this person has come into the family of God. And there would still have to be restitution and all sorts of repentance but does that align with what your–

Pricelis: I think it’s also very healing to think that way. But again, this neighbor that isn’t a part of the world who is causing a war right now and killing people. If I were not to see him as neighbor first and I were to pray for him, I would probably pray differently. I would probably say, “Lord, he’s terrible, he’s trash, he shouldn’t exist.” It would be a very angry prayer where I remove the dignity of who he is. But because I see him as neighbor first and my prayer is, “Lord, clearly he’s broken, heal him.” Clearly, he’s surrounded by the wrong people, remove them, replace them. Clearly, he has wrong ideologies and an understanding, convict him. So, it’s a different prayer when I am able to see him as neighbor first.

Jeremy: Yeah. The one thing not that I almost hesitate to say anything else because what they’ve just said is so amazing. But I’ll just say, I’ve seen this hypothetical situation played out how many times, when we think of the hallmark of the worst people or the person who maybe has hurt us individually. And somebody says, but like I just said if they accepted Christ, we would address with the angels. Sometimes we recall that and we like to play hypothetical and what if it was this person? What if it was this person, this person causing a war, and what I think we have to be willing to say about ourselves, when we feel that way is that is us being willing to live salvation by grace and faith alone for us, but works for everyone else. And, and so, Pri, speaks so wonderfully about church hurt, and being a survivor of injustice, and all of these things. And I could never quite understand exactly everything that she has experienced and seen. But it’s such an encouragement to hear her share the idea that we can’t cast faulty theology on our enemies, because they’re our enemies. And really, the most Christian thing about Christianity that you’re going to see when you begin to interact with people who are enemies, is that we are called to love them. Like that’s a really unique Christian thing and so yeah, but no, that’s just us casting faulty theology onto our enemies because we hate them.

John: All right. I have a personal slogan in my life, “If we’re going to talk about it, we’re going to pray about it.” So, who wants to go ahead, Phylicia?

Phylicia: Yeah. Okay, let’s bow our heads. Father, thank you so much for just the truth that Jeremy and Pricelis have spoken, how convicting it is, how inspiring it is, how it draws us to the high standard that Jesus gave to love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. We forget that so often, it seems like something that we know. But like Jeremy said we often don’t live it, we live the theology for ourselves and we don’t offer that same theology to the lost and needy world. So, I just pray that we would allow your spirit to change that in us. That through everything that we have learned and heard, even if it’s convicting, or we still need to process it. That you would help us understand how you want to live that out through us in our communities into the people you’ve called us to serve in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jeremy: Amen.

John: All right. Guys, we are in the last little bit, homestretch here. So, we got I think, two of my favorite questions to close our time together sound good. 

Phylicia: Okay. 

John: We still in it, brains are still sharp. Does anybody want a coffee refill or anything. 


John: I ordered all the cookies in the greenroom. Can I have those. All right. This is the best one, personal opinion. “Hi, I am 11. Yeah, it’s really good. And I have really liked learning at this conference. I would like some tips for me as a kid to share the Bible and theology with my friends.”


John: Where are you? Are you here? 

Phylicia: Might be virtual.

John: Maybe virtual.


Phylicia: I love this question. Do you have anything you want to say?


John: Okay.

Pricelis: Honestly. Johnny is our next gen pastor here at Genesis, in case you didn’t say.

John: Yeah.

Pricelis: You have anything that you would say off the top of your head.

John: Yeah. So, this is actually– there’s a second question. It’s, “I’m a middle school teacher. In the context of Jeremy’s statement, all people are religious, what religion do you see Gen Z being attracted to?” So, it’s kind of in the same vein, because it’s like, “Okay, what are my friends living for?” And I think this is something I’m thinking through a lot lately just because I’m getting older.


John: I’m Next Gen, but I think when you’re young, it’s really easy to idolize so many different things in life whether it’s your freedom, whether it’s your community, whether it’s your beauty, or dashing good looks, there’re a lot of things. [laughs] And I get an amen. Like, my body’s ability to do things, whatever it is, it’s so easy to find these idols. But trying to figure out, “Okay, what is my heart ultimately longing for that will leave me eternally fulfilled and satisfied.” [unintelligible [00:56:52], but for real what at the end of the day, when I have nothing– And this is another chapter in my life that I’m going through, as I’m having grandparents who are getting very old, not just old, but like very old. And it’s like, what are they what still matters to them at the end of the day is so fascinating. And it brings me so much joy that my grandma goes, at the end of the day, it really is just Jesus. And I just look at my life and like what are all these stupid things I’m distracted by. You know what I mean, like what are all these things that I’m getting worked up about and striving after that, at the end of the day, it really is just Jesus. So, what’s your name?

Adelaide: Adelaide.

John: Be utterly convinced in your soul that Jesus is enough and just share Him. In the days that you have anxiety, that you’re anxious. How you turn to Jesus, is how you can turn others down. I’m praying over this test, what do you take it for math right now?

Adelaide: Pre-algebra or you’re smarter than I was?


John: Took that in 9th or 10th grade. Pre-algebra, like you get anxiety to deal with those things, right. I want to do well on this. I want to turn it over to Jesus, Jesus may glorify you and honor you with how I study with, how I take this test, may point others to your glory, and show them who you are through the way that I conduct myself in the world. And let everything that you do as evangelism and sharing with your community, your generation just be an overflow of what Jesus is doing in your own heart and life. Is that helpful, maybe.

Pricelis: I have some thoughts. Hey, girl. So, I grew up in the church, I left the faith, the church, Jesus, at 17. And when I think back on why I was around a culture when I was younger that did not encourage questions. When I asked questions, it was always labeled as doubt. And so, I stopped asking questions, I stopped asking questions about my faith and where did that take me. I think kids are ready just naturally. I mean, we all should. But kids naturally ready, have questions. And so, I would ask– with your friends, it’s like encouraging that space of safety for questions. And to also say, I don’t know when you don’t have the answer. I read recently, statistically, right now in America 33%. So, one in every three teens identify a part of the LGBTQ plus community. And when I think about that I think of my cousin and I think of people who are asking questions. But some people are afraid to respond or to ask them a follow-up question to that. So, engaging in conversations around questions, I think would be really powerful and really ground your community of friends around, what you believe and what you know. 

Jeremy: Yeah. I’ll start with the second question, and then address Adelaide, I think it’s so tremendous that question is even being asked from that perspective. But I traveled to college campuses and I do the old school Q&A with college students believing and non-believing. So, my own personal experiences are also backed up by statistics that say Gen Z and actually Americans as a whole. While collective belief in Christianity is going down every single year, a collective grouping called the religious nones and N-O-N-E-S, not nuns like with the hood, but like the religious nones is rapidly growing. But what’s interesting in the misconception that Christians have hell a lot like Christians are typically 10 to 15 years behind what everyone else already knows popularly. Really, I mean, like we work with strawman until they are absolutely and utterly disproven. So maybe I’ll be the first one to tell you, of that group, religious nones, only 9% of them are atheists.

The rest of them are what I typically call spiritual agnostics. So many of them have walked away from institutionalized faith, or maybe they just never were part of it. But beliefs and things like an afterlife, belief in ghosts, belief in reincarnation and rebirth, belief in karma if you follow me on ATAP’s Instagram, I talk about those things all the time. So, most Gen Z has not bought into Wicca or Neopaganism but they’ve also not bought into those things. They bought into like these small things and it’s this kind of Golden Corral Old Country, Buffet of religion, that I like crystals. And then also I’ve shared this a lot of you out on the table is, we as Christians need to realize, we are just as materialist as the atheists, we think we’ve been debating for the last 25 years. Many Christians have a very undeveloped belief and view of a spiritual world that is actually very real. And it’s actually just as real as the material world, you can see, taste, touch and smell. And so, when we talk to whoever it might be, if it’s Gen Z or somebody else, we have to realize that those things that we see people buying into, those are effective. They work much of the time, some of it is fake, some of it’s a lie, but some of it works. And but we need to be ready to tell people that not everything that works is good, but everything that is good works. 

Adelaide to bring it to you, when I was a youth pastor, I had plenty of students who are as tremendous as you. So, it’s cool to see, I would just encourage you as I’ve said a few times today, don’t walk into the situations with your friends. Actually, this applies to all of us, thinking that they don’t want to hear from you. I was the worst version of myself, the years between 13 and 18. So I think about like what Pri, said like the people in my life that were willing to talk to me about the things that I wouldn’t tell anybody else. The ones whose outlet was the church, and let’s look at scripture and let’s pray together. They made a huge impact in my life and so I would just say, like, when you’re sitting at the lunch table, when you’re at youth group, wherever it might be, don’t automatically assume well, no one wants to hear from me because I’m a Christian. Now, if you ask them, do you want to hear from me because I’m a Christian? They might say, no, but when they need you. If you’re there, they’ll come to you. And so, you make yourself known, you don’t hide your faith, you very boldly proclaim that I’m following Jesus, and you will be blown away, I’ve seen it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that kid when I was in high school, in middle school. But I’ve seen so many young people that I’ve had in my own life as a pastor now who did that. I’m here because someone invited me to youth group, but I was a freshman in high school. That’s it. You know what I mean. So yeah, but I think you’re probably off to a good start. The fact that you asked that question, you’re here is an incredible thing.

Phylicia: Yeah.


John: Amen. I think that’s a great place to close.


John: Jeremy, can you pray for the next generation and for us as everybody here as a collective group that we would be bold witnesses with a gracious faith.

Jeremy: Yeah.

John: In the days to come.

Jeremy: Father, I hesitate to do the math on how many generations, future generations are represented by everybody in this room and online with so many mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and even the men in this room. We are representative of children and churches that we lead in, there are so many generations that we will never see with our own eyes who are going to be affected by what goes on in this room right now. And so, Lord, let not our desires and ambitions be selfish. Lord, let us leave a legacy of just generational blessing that we do not despise the next generation. That we do not ridicule them to the point where they’ll never listen to us. And Lord, for all the Adelaides that are represented by this room, we just pray that you would embolden them. And that you might use us to encourage them, to equip them, and to cheer them on. Our time is not over, but one day it will be. So, Lord, let us pass the baton well and just fill us with the Holy Spirit to the point where we can see what’s coming. And that we can speak prophetically to the younger generations who are drastically, I believe, going to outdo us in faithfulness. We see that in this room with Adelaide. So, I actually pray a specific blessing on her. That you would just fill her, that you would be with her, that she would be somebody that these friends that she’s around wherever she’s from. Would just look at her in say, “Man, there’s something about her that I really want to know more.” So, Lord, we pray for her and we pray for everything that we’ve done here. This weekend I believe that it was all pleasing to you. So, Lord, just use it, multiply it, like the fish and loaves, and just let it change us and then change the people that were around all pointing more towards you. Father, we give you everything we have to give and we do it in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and King. Amen.

John: Amen.


Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of Verity Podcast. If you enjoy this episode, would you take the time to leave us a review? It helps so many other women around the world find out about Verity and about Every Woman a Theologian, as a ministry and a shop. We appreciate you and I hope you’ll be back next week as we continue to go deeper into God’s Word and the heart of Jesus Christ.


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