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Join Jesse and the Love Thy Neighborhood staff: Hear updates about our urban missions program, latest developments in the podcast, and our vision for LTN in the coming year. Also, we’ll share a story from one of our alumni about her transformative journey through the LTN Intensive.



Passing Our Faith Onto the Next Generation

Note: The Love Thy Neighborhood podcast is made for the ear, and not the eye. We would encourage you to listen to the audio for the full emotional emphasis of this episode. The following transcription may contain errors. Please refer to the audio before quoting any content from this episode. 

AUDIO CLIPS: Love Thy Neighborhood… Discipleship and missions for modern times.

JESSE EUBANKS: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Jesse Eubanks. 

KIANA BROWN: And I’m Kiana Brown. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Today’s episode – “Passing Our Faith Onto the Next Generation.” Welcome to our corner of the urban universe.


JESSE EUBANKS: Alright. Hey, everybody. It is Jesse. I am here with our executive director, Kiana Brown. Hi, Kiana. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so, you know, you were with us last year for this episode as well, and, uh –


JESSE EUBANKS: – it’s a bit of our end-of-year State of the Union conversation. 

KIANA BROWN: Mm-hmm. So, let’s start things off. Jesse, tell us why the work we do is important.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so back in 2019, there was this private foundation that was exploring why young adults raised in Christian homes were leaving the faith and what the data predicted that the impact was going to be. So using the best available data of past and present religious affiliation in the U.S., their team created some data models to find out what’s in store for Christianity in America over the next 30 years. So, big question – what’s gonna happen with all these young adults that are currently being raised in Christian homes over the next 30 years? And what they found was actually really shocking. 

KIANA BROWN: What did they find? 

JESSE EUBANKS: So, their data actually estimates that over 40 million young people who were raised in Christian homes could walk away from a life with Jesus by 2050.

KIANA BROWN: Wow, that is a significant number.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. 80 percent of young adults will actually make this decision by the time that they’re 25 years old, and most of the remaining 20 percent are going to make that decision by the time that they’re 35. 



KIANA BROWN: So what are some of the reasons that they’re walking away?

JESSE EUBANKS: So, according to one set of data, some of the key categorical reasons that young adults are walking away from the Christian faith include – Christianity is shallow, churches ignore the problems of the real world, and they feel that they can’t ask their most pressing life questions in church. But their study also found this other thing, which is that if the church can help young adults engage with Christ at rates from just two decades ago, over 20 million will come to know a life with him. In other words, we can cut that number of people walking away from the faith – we can cut that in half. And they called this report “The Great Opportunity.”

KIANA BROWN: Did they say how we can change this, how we can get those 20 million people back?

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, okay, so they identified five areas. Uh, the first two I’m just gonna, like, breeze over. But two of those areas – one was starting more churches, and the second one was actually Christians serving as professors on secular college campuses. So both really, really important, but we can’t do much about that in the line of work that we do. So, here are the other three areas, and as I say these, it’ll probably sound familiar to our listeners. First one – modern approaches to discipleship. We have to realize that young adults – there’s a cultural shift that has happened and that we need to modernize the way that we approach young adults with discipleship. Second thing – caring for the poor through service. Huge thing, as young adults have said that they don’t believe that churches are actually making a real impact in the real world on people’s lives that are in need. And then finally – engaging young adults through digital media. I mean, hang out with teenagers. Where are they? Like, what’s occupying their time? It’s a ton of digital space. And so there’s a real need for innovative, interesting digital media. So these other three approaches – modern approaches to discipleship, caring for the poor through service, engaging young adults through digital media.

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, those three things sound like something we can actually do something about here at Love Thy Neighborhood. 

JESSE EUBANKS: We do. We believe that at Love Thy Neighborhood if we can engage those three things in particular that we can begin to help to shape the lives of these young adults. And so that, of course, leads us to this big question, which is, “How are we going to pass our faith onto the next generation?” And for you and I, that leads to, like, “the big idea.”

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, so our big idea is a program for young adults built around service, community, and discipleship. There are several different ways that these three pillars show up in our program. So three days a week, these young adults are helping with nonprofits in the area. They’re helping, and they’re serving. Other times they are in their neighborhood getting to know people. Sometimes they are coming to the office, we’re bringing in speakers and teachers to teach on a variety of topics that are very relevant today. Other times they’re practicing Sabbath. So all of these elements and more are a part of the LTN lifestyle.

JESSE EUBANKS: And then we offer two different programs. 

KIANA BROWN: Yep. So we have two programs here. The LTN Institute – that’s our urban missions gap year for young adults – and our LTN Intensive is our urban missions summer program for young adults. 

JESSE EUBANKS: How many folks total have we had through the years? 

KIANA BROWN: So since 2014, we have had over 350 young adults come and serve with us, and they’ve given over 150,000 hours of volunteer service. That is a value of 3.5 million dollars given at no cost to nonprofits. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So what are, what are some of the areas where our missionaries are making an impact? 

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, we have – some of our urban missionaries are serving in the areas of homelessness, unplanned pregnancies, serving with refugees and immigrants, the arts, healthcare, and so much more.

JESSE EUBANKS: So with all of that being said, I think that we need to talk a little bit about some of the specifics within our program. Let’s pivot. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the specific changes that have actually happened over the last year, and I think the best way to do that is actually gonna be to talk with our program director, Anna Johnson. Hey, Anna. 


JESSE EUBANKS: So, I actually started working with young adults 18 years ago. We started Love Thy Neighborhood almost 10 years ago. Things have changed. Uh, Gen Z is different. 

ANNA JOHNSON: This is very, very true. We need to actually think of young adult discipleship as cross-cultural discipleship now. We have to contextualize our methods for this generation of young adults. It’s different than it was when it was 2014, huh? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, yeah, quite a bit. 

ANNA JOHNSON: So, last year we told you that we were re-imagining and re-launching our programs with this in mind, right? We spent a lot of time thinking and praying and made some really cool changes, and I’m super excited to share.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so tell us a little bit about some of those changes.

ANNA JOHNSON: Yeah, so young adults had been asking for more discipleship and more mentoring, and so we asked ourselves, “How can we, you know, give more guidance and more care in these ways that they’re asking for?” So every week in our program, we’re doing teaching sessions with our urban missionaries. Previously, we had one session every other Friday. Now, we’re doing one to two sessions of teaching every single Friday with our year-long and summer team members. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, another big change that has happened has been related to mentoring, and you mentioned, like, young adults specifically have been asking for more guidance, more mentoring. 

ANNA JOHNSON: Yeah, so in the past, for the year-long participants in our LTN Institute, they would be meeting with their mentor every two to four weeks. Now, we have our LTN Institute urban missionaries meeting with their mentors once a week, and mentors are receiving even more training and guidance. 

KIANA BROWN: So we’ve heard young adults asking for mentorship, but we also see the need to invest in young adults because they are our future leaders. Tell us how you’re implementing that into the program.

ANNA JOHNSON: Yeah, this is exactly why we are now actually training up all urban missionaries who do the LTN Institute to actually lead the summer team in the summer, as well as incoming teams of LTN Institute folks. So they’re going through leadership development training and are actually helping me lead the program, which is really, really neat.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, I, like, I love all these changes. I think that, uh, you know, we are just constantly trying to recontextualize ourselves for what Gen Z needs the most. So, um, so we made these changes. What has the impact actually been? 

ANNA JOHNSON: Summer 2023 missionaries ranked the following statements on a scale of 1 to 5 at the beginning and end of their term of service, with 1 being, “Oh no,” and 5 being, “I got this.” (laugh) So, we saw significant growth in all four areas measured. One – “I can clearly articulate the gospel” went from 3.4 to 4.2. Two – “I’m comfortable sharing the gospel or a faith experience with others” – so basically, “I’m comfortable talking about my faith” – went from 3.4 to 4.1. Three – “I’m comfortable talking to strangers” went from 3.6 to 4.2 by the end of the summer. Finally, four -“I’m comfortable resolving conflict” went from 2.6 to 3.7. That was the biggest growth actually.

KIANA BROWN: So when I look at these four areas, I see each of these as life skills that these young adults are gonna take with them. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, you know, the beginning of the episode we talked about, you know, this mass exodus that is happening of young adults being raised in Christian homes walking away from their faith. And then I look at these four areas – it’s just super encouraging. I mean, some of the reasons they’re walking away is this idea that “Faith doesn’t feel relevant to my life. It’s not really, you know, making a difference.” And here it’s a scenario where people can clearly articulate the gospel. They are, uh, more comfortable sharing about their faith with other people. Talking to strangers – I mean, social anxiety is so high among young adults, and so to see so much growth in that category alone – and then finally, this issue of resolving conflict. This just bodes well. Like, it’s just very, very encouraging that we are seeing young adults formed and mature in a way that’s going to be essential to them in the decades to come. Well, Anna, thank you. 

ANNA JOHNSON: Yeah, you’re welcome. 

KIANA BROWN: So to get a sense of the impact that this program made for young adults, we interviewed some of our alumni.

ALUMNI CLIPS: One thing I learned during my summer at LTN was how to have gospel conversations with people that I had never met. Meeting people that you don’t know is almost an everyday occurrence, whether you’re at LTN or not. So, I still get to have these gospel conversations, and having this experience has given me, um, confidence in knowing that I can do that just by asking the simple question of, “Where do you find your hope?” to people who want to be numb.

The ways I’m, I’m seeking to live my life have really been shaped by Love Thy Neighborhood. From where I live to how I live to how I engage with church and work and relationships in my neighborhood and local community action – it’s, it’s all been really informed by Love Thy Neighborhood. 

I learned that the gospel moves at the speed of relationship, and now I know that there is always an invitation to engage in the ministry of friendship. 

One thing I learned at LTN is that God always provides for his children. It’s just not always how or what we expect. This was super obvious at my service site where I got to see God provide time and time again for a ministry that really couldn’t survive without His blessings.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so then, of course, there’s this question – like, what if you can’t do the program? You know, is there a way for us to disciple young adults outside of our program, but also just help everybody else? And that, of course, leads us to the LTN Podcast. And, uh, we are here with our producer, Anna Tran. Hi, Anna.


JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so we always say that the LTN Podcast is a podcast of true stories to help you follow Jesus in modern culture. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. So if you’re listening to this podcast, you already know what we’re all about. So, we’re like a movie for your ears. You know, if you baptize NPR, you’d get our show. We’re narrative storytelling with high audio production. And it’s been a great year. We’ve covered a lot of really awesome topics – where the gospel meets teenagers, artificial intelligence, church hurt, gun violence, discernment, friendship. We’ve also covered topical episodes like the Asbury Revival, the truth about the Enneagram, young adult missions. So it’s been a really great year so far.

JESSE EUBANKS: We actually did an audit this year to try to figure out about how much time goes into a single storytelling episode. Uh, what did you find? 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, so I tracked all my hours, and for myself alone as, you know, producer, um, audio editor, it takes me on an average about 120 hours to work on a single narrative podcast episode.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, and then you throw in additional staff, uh, support, and we, we get up to over 140 hours per episode. 

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Each episode is like – I mean, it’s just a major, major endeavor, you know, to do all of the, the research, the framing, make sure that we’re looking at all of the cultural angles as well as the theological angles. Um, and so, super, super complex.

KIANA BROWN: But you guys also launched a new type of episode this year. Tell us about that. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. So, Jesse and I – you know, at the end of each storytelling episode, um, we realized there’s always just so much content that doesn’t make it into the episode. So our answer to that was to come up with a different format, and we called it “Things We Couldn’t Say.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, and we initially started it off just for our Patreon supporters, but, uh, we eventually realized that, um, we had enough folks asking for it that we were like, “Well, let’s, let’s actually kind of come up with something that we can do on the main show.”

ANNA TRAN: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and so in this new format, each episode has four different segments.

KIANA BROWN: What are those four segments? 

ANNA TRAN: Right. So first – Things We Couldn’t Say. Second – an interview with an expert. Third – Beyond Left or Right. And then fourth – What Are You Doing? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, and if you wanna get a sense of, like, what those episodes sound like, what that content sounds like, just go back and find, uh, one of our “Things We Couldn’t Say” episodes. I will say one of my favorite elements in those new episodes is the, the segment, uh, Beyond Left or Right. Uh, that is something we talk about all the time around the office is this idea of, “Well, how are conservatives thinking about this? Well, how are liberals thinking about this? But, gosh, is this the way Jesus would think about this? And then, is everybody totally wrong? Okay, what parts are right? What parts are wrong? How does the Christian view surpass all of that?” Like, and that segment in these new episodes has become an opportunity for us to hear from experts, you know, unpacking that, and it’s really, really been a fascinating thing to see people give charitable but also confrontational, uh, you know, views of things.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, it’s been really interesting because we put our topics through that framework all the time during the writing process, during the table reads. So when you and I had talked about it, we were like, “Why don’t we just put on an episode and share it with our listeners?” 


KIANA BROWN: So we’ve heard from people how the podcast is making an impact. Just the other day, I had a meeting with a local pastor, and he said that when he first became a Christian in college that the LTN Podcast was his most listened to media, it had one of the biggest impacts on his faith, and it’s also the reason that he is a pastor today. He was going to school to be an engineer, but after listening to the LTN Podcast, he felt called to connect the church with the community that they are in and with vulnerable populations. So it’s always encouraging to hear that the show is making an impact on people’s lives. 

ANNA TRAN: So, yeah, this podcast is just a great opportunity for us to also disciple Christians in their culture and context, but from a distance. And I think about engaging young adults in digital media as well – those points that you had talked about earlier – and the podcast is our response to some of that.

JESSE EUBANKS: Awesome. Thank you, Anna. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. Good to be here.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so, Kiana, another thing that we wanted to talk about today was that we have a new venture this year. 

KIANA BROWN: Yeah. So why don’t you tell us where that venture came from? 

JESSE EUBANKS: So for a long time there was like – all things LTN was like, uh, our urban missions programs, the LTN Podcast, but we were also were doing, like, all this relational stuff, like Enneagram workshops and the Say More cards and The EnneaCast. And this last year, like, it just became apparent LTN needs to be, like, the old school original version. Like when people think of LTN, we want them to think the Peace Corps with Bibles, and we want them to think a baptized NPR. Program, podcast. But at the same time, we knew there was also still this other big issue.

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, the number one reason that missionaries leave the field is conflict with other Christians. We see in Christendom that relationships are a big deal and that we have to learn how to relate better to each other. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, there are so many ministries all over the world that are just falling apart all the time, and it’s just because we can’t do relationships well. So we had all these relational tools, right? We had our Enneagram workshops, Say More cards, The EnneaCast, other stuff we were working on. And there’s this big question mark of like, “What do we do with all that stuff?” And so we spun it off into its own thing, its own brand, called RelateBetter. RelateBetter exists to provide tools to build better relationships. We launched our website in April. We rebranded The EnneaCast, as now it is RelateBetter Presents: The EnneaCast. And, uh, we had a bunch of really wonderful guests on the show this year. 

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, also in January, Jesse, you had a book come out. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, so Zondervan released my first book this year, which is called How We Relate: Understanding God, Yourself, and Others through The Enneagram, and it was a book really written to help people grow in self-awareness, understand their relational style, and understand how to build better relationships. Uh, so that’s been out since January, and that’s been a really great experience. 

Okay, real fast, let’s do just a couple of ministry updates for folks as well, just in general. Uh, a couple of key things. You were appointed as executive director this year, so you now run this ship on a daily basis, all of the day to day operations around here. You, Kiana Brown, are the one calling the shots.

KIANA BROWN: That’s true. I am the captain of this ship. 

JESSE EUBANKS: That is absolutely true. (laugh) And so you were appointed executive director. 

KIANA BROWN: Yes, and you, Jesse, are now the president of LTN. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah. So I’m out of all the day to day stuff, and now I’m doing a lot more of, uh, communications, so podcasting, live speaking, writing, teaching classes, those sorts of things. And it’s been a good transition for both of us. 


JESSE EUBANKS: Uh, good job so far as executive director. You’re doing great. 

KIANA BROWN: Thank you. Yeah, so part of your role as president is that you’re out more speaking. You just developed a new class for churches. Tell us about that.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, so in partnership with our friends at Seed to Oaks, we developed a four-week series called “Just Show Up: A Four-Week Series about Poverty, Louisville, and The Art of Neighboring.” So, if you’re in the Louisville area, this might interest you. Week one is a theology of God’s relationship to the poor. Week two is an overview of poverty in Louisville. It is stunning. The data is really striking. Week three is an exploration of how we have addressed those two issues. And then week four is about how local churches can actually get involved in their communities in very specific ways. So if you’re listening to this and you’re in the Louisville area, we would love to come and teach this at your church. Reach out and let us know.

So, I wanna tell you one last story. This is Bekah. 

BEKAH DELK: My name is Bekah Delk. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So, our story begins when Bekah was in college. At the time, she was an underclassman at Concordia University, Wisconsin.

BEKAH DELK: Near, like, Milwaukee area.

JESSE EUBANKS: And Bekah was wrestling with the common issues of collegiate life – you know, things like, “What does it look like for me to truly follow Jesus?” And long story short, the answer to that question comes in the form of Bekah relocating to Louisville to serve with Love Thy Neighborhood. 

BEKAH DELK: I was nervous. I had never been away from home, (laughs) like, for longer than, I guess, like, three weeks. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And so, Bekah comes to serve for a summer. And shortly after arriving, she begins to serve at her nonprofit, Scarlet Hope. They’re a ministry that cares for women in the adult entertainment industry, and she is enthralled with the staff and volunteers. She feels like she’s found her people. 

BEKAH DELK: Oh my goodness. These are people that aren’t living the apathetic Christian life but are living it day to day and are wanting to do service, are wanting to not live in just a bubble of comfort. It was, it was kind of just like a, a breath of fresh air when I, when I walked in.

JESSE EUBANKS: Along with the staff and volunteers, Bekah begins to meet some of the women that she’s going to be working with – former strip club dancers on the road to recovery. And she decides very clearly how things are gonna go. 

BEKAH DELK: I’m thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna go in. I’m gonna save all these girls. I’m going to share the gospel. There’s gonna be three people that come to Christ during the summer.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Bekah actually ends up working for the ministry’s social enterprise, a bakery. But, when she arrives, Bekah finds out that she doesn’t know how to do any of the front of house stuff in the bakery – taking orders, making drinks, working the register. And this is when the first crack in Bekah’s dream shows up. 

BEKAH DELK: And so I kind of fell to the back and I ended up in the dish room doing the dishes a lot. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And the rest of her life, Bekah was known for being ambitious, talented, an achiever. This, this did not feel right. 

BEKAH DELK: All my other friends were going to, like, corporate internships, working at a marketing firm or anything like that. Man, like, they’re sticking me in the dish room?

JESSE EUBANKS: Her friends are making money and advancing their careers, while Bekah is washing dishes every day with former strippers. This was not exactly the dream. But, over the next several weeks of washing dishes and talking with the women who surrounded her every day, Bekah realized something. She was building relationships. 

BEKAH DELK: I was working with women that were in Scarlet Hope’s program, getting to know their stories, getting to know their family members’ names. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And eventually, Bekah’s attitude changed.

BEKAH DELK: Those one on one relationships in the dish room – looking back, it’s like, no, that was where the true roots of ministry were being grown. 

JESSE EUBANKS: She felt like she was exactly where she was called to be. Maybe this whole summer was going to be amazing after all. But six weeks into her summer, something started creeping up inside of Bekah.

BEKAH DELK: During the day, I felt like I wanted to be on. I felt very loved by everyone I was around, but I felt like I had to keep up this performance mentality of, like, being a relational individual, of being like an extrovert. So on the outside, I kept acting like I was doing okay, but on the inside, I was like, “Man, like, you are about to collapse.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Eventually, this started bleeding into her evenings.

BEKAH DELK: I started getting so anxious. I started dealing with intense insomnia, then having panic attacks that I couldn’t fall asleep because I wasn’t going to perform well at, like, my internship at Scarlet Hope. 

JESSE EUBANKS: She couldn’t shake the idea that she was going to fail at her internship and that everyone was going to watch her fail at her internship. And the thoughts? They wouldn’t go away. And that’s when things went from bad to worse. Because the anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks – they reopened an old wound. Just a few years earlier, when Bekah was a teenager, she had struggled with an eating disorder.

BEKAH DELK: I had been struggling with it for seven years, and I had gone to a, um, inpatient program when I was in high school.

JESSE EUBANKS: She hadn’t relapsed in years. But now, it’s back. 

BEKAH DELK: Feeling like I had to control what went into my body in order to have stability on the outside within my life. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Bekah isn’t eating. She isn’t sleeping. She’s not doing well. 

BEKAH DELK: It was hard ’cause I felt like I was living an oxymoron of living this quote unquote, like, “Christian life” but on the inside feeling like “What is going on, Lord? Like, I’m doing all the right things, or I feel like I’m doing all the right things, but I still feel so fragmented and broken.”

JESSE EUBANKS: In all of this chaos, Bekah does not know how to make it stop. 

BEKAH DELK: I felt so out of control, and it freaked me out.

JESSE EUBANKS: So, she comes to us as the leaders of the program, and she tells us what’s going on. She does not look well. She doesn’t sound well. She tells us that she’s made a decision. 

BEKAH DELK: “I need to leave this internship. I need to focus on my mental health and my physical health and on getting deeper assistance with the actual struggle that I was dealing with.”

JESSE EUBANKS: And so she leaves. Her worst fear of failing at her internship and everyone seeing her fail at her internship – it just came true. 

BEKAH DELK: I was defeated. I was kind of angry at God. And like, quite frankly, I was like, “Man, this was a waste. Like, why did I go? Why did I waste like two and a half months of my life?” And I am completely humiliated.

JESSE EUBANKS: Shortly after she gets home, she ends up in a treatment program where she eventually gets some answers. 

BEKAH DELK: I was diagnosed with having obsessive compulsive disorder. 

JESSE EUBANKS: The doctors told her that she had OCD. It explained the obsessive thoughts, the anxiety, the insomnia. It gave her answers, but one person still wasn’t giving her answers – God.

BEKAH DELK: And now I’m going back to college, and I’m going to an intensive outpatient program. Like what is, what is the point of this? I felt a lot of regret and shame, and my big question at the end of it is, “God, why did you send me there?”

JESSE EUBANKS: Over the next few years, Bekah continues to heal. She develops a healthier relationship with food and her body. She graduates from college. She eventually gets a job. Actually, she gets a job in Ohio with an agency doing similar work to Scarlet Hope. 

BEKAH DELK: They work with survivors of sex trafficking, um, and exploitation, and they help them, um, in getting workforce development. Amazing mission, amazing organization. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Bekah ends up working there for three and a half years. But, even though she loves the work, something is missing.

BEKAH DELK: But I really wanted to have the freedom to share the gospel with women, and that just wasn’t necessarily an option. Still doing great work, but, yeah, just not necessarily explicitly faith-based. 

JESSE EUBANKS: One day, Bekah gets word that Scarlet Hope is looking to expand to Ohio and they’re looking to hire an area manager. So, she applies. A few weeks later, when she goes to the interview, she brings a couple of things with her. Actually, what she brings are from five years earlier when she served with Love Thy Neighborhood. 

BEKAH DELK: I brought some of my journals, two different notebooks that I wrote down everything that they did so that if they would ever expand to where I was I would love to assist in volunteering or helping them get it started. And so I brought those notebooks, um, those journals to my interview. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And fast forward just a bit. Bekah gets the job. 

BEKAH DELK: And so we started Scarlet Hope Ohio in January of this year, and it’s been such a blessing. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Today, Bekah is the Ohio area manager for Scarlet Hope. Every week, she leads volunteers as they minister to 45 women in four clubs in Ohio. She loves connecting with the women that they serve. 

BEKAH DELK: But then, most importantly, get them plugged in the church and get them plugged into individuals that will want to disciple them and walk with them.

JESSE EUBANKS: Bekah used to think that her experience at LTN was just a waste. But today?

BEKAH DELK: If I hadn’t gone on that internship, what I would have done in reality was accept a part-time marketing internship making 10 dollars an hour and being in an office and just making that checkmark for that summer versus really working on myself and who I am in Christ and stepping up from there.

JESSE EUBANKS: Today, Bekah looks back and sees that both LTN and having her struggles exposed were both gifts from God. 

BEKAH DELK: I was able to experience true Christian community, and it was kind of the grounds to bring up some things within my life that God knew that I needed to heal.

JESSE EUBANKS: God used her experience with LTN to give her a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. 

BEKAH DELK: It became so much more than an internship. It became kind of the catalyst to my faith growing into a deeper level and security in Christ, and that is worth more than any summer job.

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so we have talked about this big problem of the next 30 years in America. We have talked about the formation of LTN, why we exist. We have talked about the changes we have made to adapt to Gen Z, why the podcast is important. Uh, we have heard stories of people that are actually – you know, their lives have been shaped by all of this. And all of that is, like, backwards looking. Now, of course, last year, we looked forward, and this year did not turn out as we hoped that it would, but that doesn’t keep us from really wanting to continue to have a vision for where we’re going as a ministry. So, where are we going as a ministry? 

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, we just heard Bekah’s story, and if that’s where the story had ended, the first half of her story, it would have sounded like a failure. And in many ways at LTN, that’s how we kind of felt this last year. Things felt like a failure. It was easy for us to focus on the gap of what we had hoped for and what actually happened. And if you’re a human being, you’ve probably felt this way as well. You’ve felt that pain of failure. But that wasn’t where Bekah’s story ended, and that isn’t where LTN’s story ended either. So what we see is that failure in Bekah’s story and so many other people’s story is what gives birth to faithfulness, and faithfulness is never a failure. So it hasn’t been the year we thought at LTN, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. Jesse, you’ve been working with young adults for 18 years, I’ve been working with them for over a decade now, and we’ve both said we have never felt like the work of working with young adults is as essential as it is now. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, absolutely. Like, I, I feel a level of conviction about the need for young adult discipleship that I don’t know that I’ve ever felt before.

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, so we see young adults asking for mentorship, for discipleship, for more one on one care. What we hear them asking for is for this program and for us to go deeper with them. We really felt the Lord calling us to go deeper and not wider. We really felt that, instead of spreading ourselves thin, that we would be a ministry that is just faithful to what he’s asking us to do, um, and in that season that is going deep. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So what does that mean? Like, what are we gonna do as a ministry? 

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, we’re gonna continue recruiting young adults to come and serve with Love Thy Neighborhood. We are gonna continue to equip them to go deeper in their faith. We’re gonna continue producing podcasts that help people from all walks of life go deeper in their faith, explore more topics.

JESSE EUBANKS: So in a lot of ways, we’re gonna keep on doing exactly what we have been doing and hopefully just do it in a way that’s really effective for 2024. But there is also a need. We have a specific need as well right now. 

KIANA BROWN: Yes. So there’s this quote from P.T. Barnum – “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing.” And over the last year and a half, we have been without a marketing and communications manager here at Love Thy Neighborhood. 

JESSE EUBANKS: The reality is, is that the majority of our recruitment efforts – they actually happen digitally at this point, not in person, and so a lot of our efforts are in the digital space.

KIANA BROWN: Yeah, social media, our website, graphic design, print materials – those are all duties that have been occupying about 30 to 50 percent or more of our leadership’s time, and this is – it’s just not sustainable for us. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, it, it is taking up just a massive amount of your and my time in particular. I mean, the reality is, is like, if you’re listening to this episode, everything that we do here – it’s five full-time staff and one part-time staff. It is a huge scope of work that we’re doing, and we are just kind of a skeleton crew right now. And the number one thing that we need is this marketing and communications manager. So that, of course, leads to this issue of need, and that leads to – we need your help. Here’s the deal. Brass tacks. Our ministry – we need to raise $125,000 by the end of the year. That is only a matter of a few weeks. We’ve had quite a few donors already step in to begin to help towards that goal, um, but we still have a ways to go. Now there is good news. The good news is that a donor has offered to match every gift given through December 31st all the way up to $50,000. That means that everything you give today will be automatically matched, and you can make a huge difference in helping us make our way towards that $125,000 goal. 

KIANA BROWN: Your donation is gonna be doubled no matter what amount you can give. 

JESSE EUBANKS: In order to give, you can actually just go into the show notes, click the link there. It will take you to our website where you can give. And, seriously, every gift that you give between now and December 31st – it’s gonna make a huge difference. 

KIANA BROWN: No gift is too small. 

JESSE EUBANKS: We could not do the work that we do without you, without your support. We are so grateful. People listening to the show, you know, so many donors stepping up and making sacrifices so that these young adults can come and serve as missionaries, the nonprofits all over our city that are being impacted and shaped on a daily basis – all of that stuff is happening because of ordinary, generous, sacrificial folks just like you stepping in, stepping up to make a difference. And so, on behalf of Kiana and I and everybody else here at Love Thy Neighborhood, we genuinely wanna say thank you and Merry Christmas. 

KIANA BROWN: Thanks everyone.


This podcast is only made possible by generous donors like you!


Senior producer and host is Jesse Eubanks. Co-host is Kiana Brown.
Anna Tran is our producer and audio editor.
Music for this episode comes from Murphy D.X.

Thank you to our staff: Anna Johnson and Anna Tran

A special thank you to our guest: Bekah Delk