The Evolving Faith Podcast


This is a podcast for the wounded, the misfits, and the spiritual refugees to let you know you are not alone. We're here to cultivate love and hope in the wilderness. We believe the story of God is bigger, wider, more inclusive and welcoming, filled with more love, than we could ever imagine. There's room here for everyone. There's room here for you.

Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • B Lyttle
    Love it!
    I love this podcast. I listen at night while I’m stretching before bed. It is fresh, hopeful and renewing. The speakers are brilliant.
  • Dontbanancy
    I feel renewed
    I was wandering all alone and then I stumbled upon this podcast. Now I have a tribe who are wandering with me and I don’t feel alone. Thank you!
  • Crystal Freie
    Always Evolving
    As we continue to evolve, one thing that never changes (and never fails) is the love of God. Thank you, Sarah and Jeff, for continuing to hold a space where that love is always present.
  • Hap권
    A podcast I turn to for respite in all my wildernesses, to recognize the cloud of witnesses that surround me even when I’m physically alone. Thank you Jeff and Sarah and all our poets, prophets, and guides!
  • SquareBearAir
    Love in the wilderness
    So appreciate this crew for making a space to gather in the wilderness. Feels nice to wander together!
  • Aimott
    A balm for my soul
    This podcast leaves me changed every single time.
  • LeeLee Lauree
    holy moly
    i have listened to several but today i started the wilderness...barbara taylor has overwhelmed me with words i have been writing to myself. thank you. edit: jesus chose the wilderness...
  • Laura from California
    New member of the podcast
    It has only taken me a couple “sermons” to know I belong in this group of “weirdos”! My heart and soul are being fed once again by so many wonderful people in your community. Keep doing this necessary good work. I will be a life long supporter and share to whomever I can.
  • Hayley.Reese
    Need New Content, Actual Conversations
    I LOVE the Evolving Faith community and went to the 2019 conference! I wish the podcast though had episodes of actual conversations with Jeff and Sarah and their guests, rather than just repeated talks from previous conferences. I think this will make it much more engaging and make the podcast unique from other aspects of the Evolving Faith franchise. Hoping this can happen cuz I love what they’re about!❤️😊
  • thequietgoat
    Wilderness Christian
    The first episode of season two was so good I listened to it twice. And I’m saving the episode. Thank you Jeff Chu and Sarah Bessey for sharing this and your gifts. 💕
  • lburch27
    Thank you
    Thank you for this life-giving podcast for those of us who love Jesus but are deeply wounded by the mega churches of the world. My soul needed this and needed to know I wasn’t alone in the journey for justice and love.
  • JamieMarie77
    Authentic and hope-filled
    I appreciate your honest and life-giving content! Thank you for addressing the hard stuff too.
  • Kris Dawn 0261
    Thought provoking and reassuring
    I have just finished season one. The variety of guests who each represent a unique view of his/her/their faith journey is informative for anyone who wants to expand experience and genuinely learn from others. Yet, there is a common thread of how each person comes from a place of order and certainty to disruption and challenge in the faith journey and ultimately to a new place of richness, freshness, and exhilaration—but also judgment, isolation, and uncertainty. This is a needed community and solidarity for many who have felt disenfranchised and wandering. Thank you for these conversations.
  • Robinw_PT
    Love Evolving Faith podcast
    I love this podcast. It’s like going to church for me- being challenged and loved each episode, sometimes more often. Thank you fir what you do, please keep them coming!
  • lovethyneighborasthyself
    Beautifully done and such a gift
    I feel so grateful to have access to the sermons of the evolving faith conference! This podcast takes it a step further by including wonderful commentary from the hosts, Sarah and Jeff. They bring such great questions and feedback to the discussion. One of the things I most appreciate is that they don’t just automatically agree with what the other has said. They each bring their own personality, experiences, and thoughts to the table. I think they both have such calming voices and this show just makes me feel cozy listening to it. Important topics and intelligent discussion. I’m hoping for a season 2!
  • Claire-Mil22
    Just the best
    This podcast regularly makes me weep. I love hearing sermons from such a variety of people. I have been challenged and comforted all at once. Thank you to everyone involved who makes this podcast happen!!
  • BRobs20
    Can’t wait for more
    I miss hearing from my new best friends each week. The authenticity, big questions, and gifted speakers brought me so much hope and refreshment this year.
  • EpiscopalMe
    I wanted to like this podcast but the patronization and the humble brags are just more than one can take. It also feels really awkard to benefit from the death of someone and use that as a platform to promote your own work. The hosts just ooze "look at us" we've arrived. Give me humility any day over pseudo-intellectual hosts who seem to turn every conversation into a promotion of themselves.
  • Jak_e_mcg27
    Just what I need every week
    I’m so glad you guys decided to do this! Getting to hear previous Evolving Faith sessions as well as the new conversations you’ve brought in has been just what I needed. Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness
  • LetaJune
    Its wonderful and real
    I am still early in the podcast, but this is an amazing set of talks/sermons/witnessing from real people who are inclusive, loving and so inspiring. It has given me a renewed desire to learn more and love all my perps in the wilderness.
  • jensenfam5
    In the sea of podcasts, this is a refreshing place to land. Sarah and Jeff are unapologetically themselves in a very inviting way. Cannot wait for season 2 (sorry Jeff and Sarah, but the please don’t quit).
  • Pharmz
    Each episode is like nourishment to my heart- listening to other people’s voices as they share their journeys, as they let me know that I’m not alone out here in my wandering, has been profound. Thank you!
  • AmandaH3
    My Source of Hope
    For years (if not my entire life), I have felt out of place in the traditional church. I have never been okay with just accepting men’s interpretations of the Bible which often seem to exclude so many people. After forming close friendships with and suffering a terrible loss of a friend in the LGBTQ+ community, my issues with the church and Christians’ interpretation of homosexuality in scripture furthered my disenchantment with “church”. I found this podcast through an Instagram post of HRC who I follow and feel that it was a divine intervention. Listening to this podcast, especially during a tumultuous time of a pandemic and a crucial election, has brought me so much hope and peace. Opening the news was something that I felt needed to be done to remain informed but also caused so much anxiety. I found that if I browsed the news but then listened to Evolving Faith afterwards, I could take a breath and know that there are others like me in “the wilderness” loving God and loving others in a way that might not fit the traditional mold but is still okay because as Jeff reminded listeners, we are the church. Thank you Sarah and Jeff for welcoming me to the wilderness and making me feel like I do belong. If any of this review rings true for you, I encourage you to listen. You will become hooked and happily so.
  • Dawn Larae
    Words and stories that walk with me
    I listen to this podcast when I go walking. It fuels me: the questions, the unapologetic wrestling, the openness and pull-no-punches honesty, couched in love and acceptance. These are the type of conversations that remind and reassure me that I am not alone. And bolstered by that, I keep moving forward.
  • unc84
    Finding a glimmer of hope
    Thanks to the evolving faith family for the feast they have prepared and shared with each of us.
  • living.beloved
    Not Alone
    Food for my soul, nourishment for my mind. What a joyous surprise to find I am not alone out here in the wilderness.
  • WornTraveler
    Finding Hope
    I have been so disillusioned by many churches. I feel that they are not following Jesus because it seems they are more about excluding people. Listening to this podcast is a balm to my soul, and yet challenges me to think and evolve in my faith! ;)
  • just murry
    The Church at its Best
    This is the one podcast I never miss. These voices. The stories. They break me. And then they rebuild me. Thank you Sarah and Jeff for your faithfulness to Jesus and to all who are created in His image. All. Of. Us.
  • RisFish
    This is my church
    I have been struggling for years to find an inclusive body of Christ with an intersectional world view that allowed space for my political and social beliefs and for my love of Jesus. This podcast is it. Forever blessed to be listening and always learning.
  • 2 ashamed
    I am welcomed here. I am challenged here There is beauty here There is truth here There is sacred space here, to be sure Thank you for new breath and permission to embrace wildness and to become a warrior to face God and dance and cry and be angry. And to believe, again, in God’s mercy in its sparkling and colorful and magnificent love. This podcast is so important and wonderful!
  • CassieH90
    Hope Lives Here
    I didn’t learn who Rachel Held-Evans was until someone I know posted on Instagram that she had died. The words she spoke about her influence, fueled a curiosity to learn more. I was raised a Christ follower, kind of, with no church background outside of the occasional youth group in which I spent time with my boyfriends, not Jesus. Over the years I have formed what I would call a strong faith, but, not necessarily an educated one. I always wondered what it would have been like to have a church background; I felt like that missing piece must be why I was so lost as a Christian and why I just didn’t understand or fit in when I finally spent my Sundays at church. For 15 years I tried to make friends and find a place among other Christians and really continued to feel more lost. I read books that I threw away before I could finish, I was deeply convicted about social justice and couldn’t understand why my church was silent. This lead me to therapy, and talk about a God-send. This woman not only helped fuel my interest for RHE, but introduced me to Sarah Bessey, which obviously lead me down a wonderful rabbit hole only to discover I wasn’t in fact on an island all alone, even though I do still feel that way in my physical community. So far, I’ve listened to just the first episode of the Evolving Faith Podcast and I’m so hungry for more. I cried, I laughed out loud, and I felt like I could breathe. I felt hope. I often question if I’m doing anything right. Would I know what to do if someone had taught me how to read the Bible? Would I be a better mother? Could I raise children with deeper faith if I didn’t have the background I have? I’ve asked my previous church the hard questions and got answers that broke my heart, but didn’t surprise me. I felt like I have been pulling at threads to find a new place, but they lead to dead ends. I think I’ve found the right thread, here, in this podcast. Without speaking or writing a word to anyone in this community, I feel like I’m finding my way home. After ONE episode. So thank you, for making a sad, lost, confused but hungry Christ follower feel like they are welcome. Thank you.
  • Pastor Nana
    I LOVE this Podcast!!
    I’m so grateful that Sarah and Jeff are sharing not only their words of wisdom, seeking, belonging, peace and faith but also the beautiful, insightful, stop me in my tracks and make me listen again wisdom and faith of the previous speakers of Evolving Faith conferences. Listening to this podcast while I am walking through a season of questioning my role as pastor in the United Methodist Church and struggling with where I fit in, has blessed my soul. Thank you!!
  • andbabymade4
    These voices and stories are such a healing balm.
  • RMMcDowell
    The Evolving Faith Podcast feels like home. It’s a gathering of hope and being seen and known and safe. I’m so grateful for a seat at this wide, wide table where there is room for all of us.
  • MrsNAW
    Love this Sacred Table
    I’m so grateful I have a seat at the table and this podcast to highlight the blessings I can receive and give because I belong.
  • Max_Thrust
    You are loved
    A wonderful source of hope for all who need to be reminded that they are loved. For anyone who is questioning faith, God, church and what they believe about any and all of it, Sarah and Jeff and the speakers offer much helpful insight.
  • Sweeney Kid
    Grateful for this
    The Evolving Faith podcast is a phenomenal tool for exploring life in the wilderness of spiritual things. I am so grateful to have these podcasts that open up my world to mant different perspectivesOn all things spiritual.
  • FIFA app
    Thank you for helping me see I’m not alone
    Thank you for helping me see my left leaning self isn’t so rare in the Christian world.
  • Judi M!
    Keep them coming!
    Am so grateful to have discovered your podcast episodes. Love the curated topics that speak to an evolving faith. Also loved Jeff’s analogy in one episode of how we are kind of gathering around a virtual campfire when we hear and tell our stories (via your podcast or elsewhere—telling our important.)
  • Alicia M!
    Love this podcast
    For someone leaving the religion of their childhood, (Mormonism) this podcast has helped me navigate my shifting faith. Sarah and Jeff are relevant, thoughtful and delightful guides through the wilderness. Thank you, thank you.
  • clburks
    On repeat
    I look forward to Wednesday every week. But when it’s not Wednesday, I just re-listen over and over again. I’ve been in the desert for awhile, and am starting to find the courage to re-construct my faith. I’m on my way to the wilderness. It’s been super healing to cry my eyes out every week and listen to brilliant, powerful, and wonderful people talk about their faith journeys. For years people told me I wasn’t alone, but I hadn’t felt that way until I found the Evolving Faith community. I feel like I finally have my people. Can’t wait to see you in October, y’all. Thank you so much Sarah and Jeff for carving space for my brokenness. Thank you for having a diverse group of speakers; representation is so important. Thanks for telling us we’re loved.
  • MrsGillyW
    I love this
    I have loved listening and look forward to the new episodes every week! Thank you so much for providing water and sustenance in this quarantine desert.
  • nickname tara 🙄
    literally, thank God
    I really don’t even know where to start with this. After a life long relationship with white evangelicalism, I finally worked up the courage to step away when I fell in love with my best friend, whose also a woman. I was so deeply involved with the church that I literally thought the world would implode if and when I left. For years I was in disagreement with the churches stance on issues like sexuality, racism, classism, but I was so involved and honestly brainwashed, the thought of leaving was so scary. I didn’t know what was on the outside. Hell?! Silence?! SIN?! This podcast, these sermons, have been the needed encouragement that I didn’t know I needed. These episodes have given me words and phrases for things I’ve always felt but never could put my finger on. And in some cases, Sarah and Jeff and guests alike, have literally described things as I've described them before ever hearing anyone else agree. This podcast helped saved my walk with God and has been a tool and resource for me to give to others that I know are deconstructing. I love this podcast, I am so thankful for the work S and J are doing. THANK YALL!
  • KaraberaT
    finding the words
    I walked away from the American church in 2012. I would say, "I love God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but I don't agree with the church in America any more." I didn't have words to describe was was going on in my heart and spirit, and my wandering felt aimless. I discovered the works of RHE just before she died, and while I am sad that I missed so much from her, i am thankful that she led me to this podcast and this community. I have to be careful where I listen to the episodes, because I end up bawling my eyes out at some point each time. But it's been a healing, cleansing, affirming cry. You two, and the speakers, are giving me the words to describe my faith and the journey I am on: "wilderness," "wandering," "deconstruction," and hopefully some "reconstruction." Having the words has helped me feel less alone. Thank you for helping me find the table in the wilderness.
  • mcfamaroo
    Binge listened
    I binge listened to the first 5 episodes this weekend in August and it was like going to the most loving, encouraging, and strengthening conference. I needed to be reminded that I am loved particularly by God. I needed to be reminded that I am welcomed no matter where I am in my faith journey. And after a lifetime of feeling like I am the good Christian girl, I find myself an agnostic many days, which can translate into feeling like a bad person who is far from God. This podcast reminded me I am loved and welcomed in that space. NOTE- the opening song, “It Is Well With My Soul,” was triggering to hear. I was worried about what would be communicated after that. Hearing Jeff talk about how most days he is not sure he can sing that song reminded me again it’s ok for me to say the same. So, just a heads up for anyone who may react similarly to me.
  • HeathKnutson
    Thank you
    Thank you for saving a space for not only me but all. Your podcast & work confirms my belief & hope of the promise of the goodness of God. God bless & thank you for your work & the welcome to the wilderness!
  • Mkmdn
    A breath of fresh air
    Such a welcome relief each week. I laugh I cry I relate but mostly I have hope that Jesus is embodied and celebrated in these voices.
  • Sdkissycat
    I can’t tell you how much I look forward to Wednesday, and a new episode. Your podcast has literally been a lifeline in these last few weird crazy months. As I told someone I’m back at church on a regular basis. I love how diverse the speakers were at that first gathering in North Carolina. How I wish I’d been there in person! Carry on this loving and challenging podcast!
  • jenalsbrg
    A place for everyone.
    Jeff and Sarah shepherd and lead us with joy, somber reflection and bright, stubborn faith that humbly acknowledges doubt and despair while persistently naming the Good in the room and drawing it out of the shadows. You should listen if you’re weary of retrofitting a faith that doesn’t suit you like it did when things were simpler. You should listen if you feel like maybe the fellowship of believers you loved has left you behind. You should listen if you need a cup of water in the dessert. You should listen if you wonder if your hope in God is gone and if it’s dangerous to hope it isn’t.
  • Mommamader
    Smiling...inside and out!
    Every time I listen to an episode of this podcast, the message resonates so much that my heart wants to leap and I find myself smiling. THAT is what the love of God will do when you release spiritual baggage! Thank you for giving me the permission I needed to unload stinking thinking and reload with truth!
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