Eddie Kaufholz joins me on the Thrive with Asbury Seminary Podcast today. He is the producer and host of The New Activist Podcast, on staff with International Justice Mission, and is an Asbury Seminary alum. We talked about his journey to become an activist, his work with International Justice Mission, ways we can look at gift-giving this Christmas season with a heart to help others, and how we can develop a lifestyle of generosity and joy throughout the year.
Eddie Kaufholz, Producer & Host, The New Activist
Staff Member, International Justice Mission
Eddie Kaufholz is the producer and host of The New Activist, a podcast dedicated to hearing from activists and world changers who are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. In addition, he is on staff with International Justice Mission, an N.G.O. dedicated to ending slavery around the globe.
Eddie regularly speaks about justice issues and writes on topics of faith and counseling.
He lives in Gainesville, Florida with Brianne (his wife) and Eve and Lucy (his daughters).
Heidi Wilcox, host of the Thrive Podcast
Writer, podcaster, and social media manager, Heidi Wilcox shares stories of truth, justice, healing and hope. She is best known as the host of Spotlight, (especially her blooper reel) highlighting news, events, culturally relevant topics and stories of the ways alumni, current students and faculty are attempting something big for God. If you can’t find her, she’s probably cheering on her Kentucky Wildcats, enjoying a cup of coffee, reading or spending time with her husband, Wes.
Heidi Wilcox: Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of the Thrive with Asbury Seminary podcast where we bring you conversations with authors, thought leaders and people just like you, who help you connect with where your passion meets the world’s deep need. I’m very excited about our guest on the podcast today Eddie Kaufholz. Eddie’s conversation is our first surprise episode of this podcast season. And y’all, this conversation is just the best. I loved it so much. Let me tell you a little bit about Eddie. Eddie is the producer and host of the New Activist. It’s a podcast dedicated to hearing from activist and world changers who are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems.
Heidi Wilcox: So if you haven’t already done so, you really must go and subscribe to The New Activist podcast. Listening to it has changed my life and I know it will do the same for yours. In addition, Eddie is also on staff with International Justice Mission, a non-government organization dedicated to ending slavery around the globe. And he also happens to be an Absury Seminary alum. In today’s conversation, Eddie and I talk about his work with International Justice Mission, of course. But we also talked about how he first got started and became aware of the need and moved his current role of being an activist. And since it’s Christmas, it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about how we can look at giving this Christmas, whether to our friends, family, or to organizations who would benefit from our gift with a heart for social justice. So now let’s listen to my conversation with Eddie Kaufholz.
Heidi Wilcox: First of all, Eddie, I’m just so grateful that you took the time to chat with me today. I’ve been looking forward to our conversation ever since I emailed you.
Eddie Kaufholz: Heidi, you’re so kind. I love being on this show, and I love Asbury and you and your husband. People don’t know this background, Heidi before she was married to Wesley… Am I allowed to share personal information about your life on this podcast? Sorry.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, go ahead.
Eddie Kaufholz: When you emailed me I’m like, “Wilcox. I played guitar with a Wilcox back in the Asbury days.” And I was like what are the chances they’re related. And not only they related, but they are married. So it was just so fun to meet you finally, because I love Wesley, and love Asbury and your podcast. I think it’s really neat to be here. So thank you.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Well, thank you for saying yes, I appreciate it.
Eddie Kaufholz: Of course.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. And let me tell you, I am loving the series you’re doing right now on Esther for the New Activist podcast like seriously and it’s changing my life.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh my.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: Well, that’s a high praise. Thank you. It has been a privilege to get to tell Esther’s story and to share it a bit with the world. But you also know making a podcast, we just create these MP3s and you just kind of send it into the cloud and you’re like, “Well, I guess people are listening.” And so to hear you echo back that you’ve heard it and been moved by it means a lot. So thank you.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, I look forward to it every Monday and Monday is my day to run on the elliptical. It came out on this past Monday and I was like, “Oh, yay, my run is seriously going to be so much better.” And then, this past episode, I was like, I mean, I’m not literally crying on the elliptical because that would be awkward. But I’m almost crying because this story is just so moving. And I’m like, “I want to do something.”
Eddie Kaufholz: That is very sweet.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. So how did you first find out about Esther and tell us just a little nutshell about how you got started telling her story?
Eddie Kaufholz: Well, yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, with IJM, and we can talk more about IJM later, but this organization I get to work for it’s called International Justice Mission. And as a longtime supporter of IJM and a volunteer and just a fan of IJM and now on staff, we hear these stories over and over again of people who were in slavery and are not and then we hear the circumstances that brought them in and brought them out. We’ve been doing this activist podcast for a couple of years but really hadn’t turned the microphone on ourselves and I really wanted to tell a client IJM’s story well, and so the way we were able to do that was we contacted our Ghana field office and just said, “Hey, here’s this crazy idea. We want to do a real in depth podcast, we want to have unprecedented access to a client and the clients’ life. Is there anybody that you feel could be honored by this process that is old enough to understand this process because there’s all the pieces to it that you’re going to be exposing some of this person’s life? Do they understand that? Is it safe for their development and everything.
Eddie Kaufholz: And they came back and just said, “Oh, we know exactly. You got to tell Esther story.” And in finally getting to meet Esther, they were right. She is about telling the world, the journey that she went through and the recovery that she’s a part of.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah, for sure. It’s very moving. So if you haven’t listened to it, I really encourage you to go check out the New Activist Podcast. It’s Amazing.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, Thank you.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Yeah. So on your podcast, you frequently ask your guests to define activist. And this was several episodes ago with Jenny Yang who’s with World relief, or he was at the time.
Eddie Kaufholz: She’s the best.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, totally.
Eddie Kaufholz: She’s an incredible human being. Anyhow, I interrupted your question. I’m sorry. Yes. So Jenny Yang was on.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. And she gave a definition that stuck with me. She said that you move from apathy to awareness to action to advocacy. So I wanted to turn that question back around on you. Can you walk us through the journey that you went through to become an activist?
Eddie Kaufholz: What a great question. I know it’s so hacky to say what a great question every time but that is a really thoughtful question. I’ll stop saying it, but just know inside my head, I’m saying, “Great question.”
Heidi Wilcox: Thank you. I appreciate the encouragement.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah. So I was a pastor at a church in Orlando and we’re kind of in the apathy stage right now. I was a pastor in a church, loved being a pastor in a church, privileged, called to do that, felt well sent by Asbury to do that work. And one day we just had a guest speaker come, and the guest speaker was from IJM and I had heard of IJM sort of in the periphery, but I didn’t know much about the work. And this guest speaker came up, and it’s one of the big old churches where we have like five services. So I wasn’t paying attention during the first service or second service, maybe I was floating around the lobby chatting with people.
Eddie Kaufholz: But somewhere during the fourth service, I finally heard what the guest speaker was saying, and it was that there were slaves in the world, like actual people in slavery, and there are more slaves now than there have ever been. And IJM knows about this and has a solution, and is working to end slavery. And so it was in that moment that I both realized my apathy was like, “I did not know this, how is this possible? How is this pandemic of slavery happening and they didn’t know?” And then just kind of like immediately clicked to awareness, where it was like, “Okay, I understand this. This is not okay.” Everybody has things that ring their bell when they hear about it. I mean, some people, they experience, like youth ministry or young life and they’re like, “That’s it my whole life is going to be about helping with this.”
Eddie Kaufholz: So addiction recovery and there’s so many different ways that God uses people to go and do the work. But there was something about this particular moment of awareness where I was like, “Man, I have got to help. We’re going to try to help out.” So Breanne, my wife and I, we became freedom partners. That was just like the way to give monthly, just start giving money. It’s like one of those easy first steps, you start to give money, but then I started to volunteer with IJM a bit and started to try to introduce them to other churches and tried to just get the word out there. And so then we’re kind of moving from the action piece of it like now I’m starting to like, “All right, I’m taking the IJM steps and I’m really engaged in this,” working with them, I got a job with them. But I think the advocacy piece came with starting The New Activist.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, for sure.
Eddie Kaufholz: Because for me, the show was… I’ve been doing the journey of IJM and really been involved in working with the action, but there was a moment where it was like, “Okay, what can I do with this little world of podcasting that I’m involved in that would actually help? What can I do with my pocket of abilities to help and serve this cause that I care deeply about?” And that was the kind of advocacy moment, that’s when I started to try to do something that was more tailored to my abilities and what I felt like I could best do by serving and that’s why we started the podcast and why I’ve kind of pushed that along and still do that because we are hopefully giving voice to a lot of people to go and change the world. And so it was kind of like that was the advocacy moment for me.
Heidi Wilcox: Wow.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. So then, when did you start the podcast? For sure.
Eddie Kaufholz: 16 I think.
Heidi Wilcox: Wow. Okay. So three years ago?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah, it’s been rolling. The whole purpose of the show has always been really oddly, not to fully tell people… It’s not an IJM podcast. I mean, the guests on the show every week are very rarely IJM people. But the idea was to launch people into their own apathy, awareness, action, advocacy moments by just exposing them to the world because it was so… I thought to myself, “What if I hadn’t been in that church that day and heard about IJM?” I may have still never known about this. And I just thought, “Man, obviously, it’s in the sovereignty of God, we show up in the right places at the right time, and it’s all beyond us,” but also, we’ve got to build those spaces and IJM really was like, “We want to be a part of not only being that space for people and helping to end slavery, but we want to build those spaces.”
Eddie Kaufholz: We want to build places where we can talk about food equality and racial inequality and things that are all over the justice sphere that matter a great deal because we’ve really firmly believed that when people hear about it, they understand the road that they’re now on. When they go from apathy to awareness, you’ve pushed them hard enough, and now they’re on autopilot, now they’re running. That’s the theory we’re running under. That’s why we started the show. It was to expose people to these different justice issues.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah. And so it’s sponsored by IJM thought? Is that right?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yep, yep. It is.
Heidi Wilcox: Okay.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, yeah. It’s like, I don’t know, IJM show. And really, I mean, this is inside baseball, but we wanted to do an IJM podcast so that people would learn a bunch about IJM and really come to trust the work that IJM is doing. But part of the work that we do is that we’re a bridge building organization. Our work is open source, we hope that people around the world, take the model, take the work that we’ve done, take the organizational structure that we’ve come up with and go start their own great thing. And so part of it was just, if we’re going to be bridge building, if we’re going to really be about doing the work of justice, we’re going to lean in hard to ending slavery, but we’re also going to make sure that people who have come to trust IJM are also getting great exposure to other areas of justice around…
Eddie Kaufholz: And so really, no organization is perfect at all, but I just so deeply respect that they were like, “Yeah, we’re going to make sure that everybody gets a microphone here. We’re going to make sure that everybody who’s caring about the work of justice, and ultimately is really being called by God to go and do this work, knows at least all that we can share with them about doing this well.”
Heidi Wilcox: So have you always had a heart for justice?
Eddie Kaufholz: I don’t know. I don’t think so. No.
Heidi Wilcox: Okay.
Eddie Kaufholz: I want to be one of those people that was like, “Yeah, when I was a kid, I just stood up for myself or not stood for myself but stood up for other kids that were being bullied.” And that was always my story, but I don’t think so. I think i grew up fairly motivated by self, there really wasn’t understanding of God or any of that until I was 18 ish, 19 ish. And so my world was basically about me and mine and my little world. So I say that because that’s just a product of how I was raised, but once I sort of exploded into the world as an adult, and went to college and thankfully to Young Life, prayed for the very first time, understood who Jesus was like is, and continue to grow in faith, definitely the lens of what mattered became significantly less about me and more about the realities of the world.
Eddie Kaufholz: And then I had just opportunities to go and see parts of the world and I went on a couple of those missions’ trips that now, people goof on, because everybody’s read When Helping Hurts, and things like that, and they’re like, “This isn’t actually helpful.” I went on a few of those extremely unhelpful mission trips. However, it was exposure therapy, it just kind of blew my worldview wide open, and it was just like, “Oh, there’s need around the world that I was really sheltered from as a child, I’ve been sheltered from the fact that the world is broken.” We parent differently than I was parented. And I’m not blaming anything on my parents, but I’m just saying, I would have liked to have known earlier but once I started to see and experience, then I think it became just really triggered by the fact that it was like, we have got to go and be the hands and feet of Jesus. We’ve got to go out and do this work. And so for me, it really came from a theological place.
Eddie Kaufholz: So I’m not sure if it was anything in my character, but it was just definitely something of understanding the life of Jesus that was pretty much like, undeniably had to go and serve in whatever way I could. I had no intention. I don’t really think doing anything extremely special, but I’m going to take what little things I can do and go and try to use it, like leverage my money, leverage time, leverage whatever. Like, just leverage them.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. That’s awesome. So you said, when you first turned to IJM, you started getting money?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah.
Heidi Wilcox: Walk us through how you continue to get involved with International Justice Mission. And for those who don’t know, can you tell us a little bit about what IJM does?
Eddie Kaufholz: Well, yeah. So IJM is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. I mean, that’s the most basic. We partner with local authorities and we have I think, like 19 program offices in 11 different countries. We’re basically all around the world.
Heidi Wilcox: Wow.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah. And we combat slavery, violence against women and children and other forms of abuse of people who are poor. And so in that, we work to rescue and restore victims. We hold perpetrators accountable and we help strengthen the public justice systems that already exists. That’s the work of IJM. We’re really working to take a justice system in a country that has rusted to a halt and oil it and get it moving again, so that the country is about the work that they want to be about, which is ending slavery. And so we help bring resources so the countries can go into that work.
Eddie Kaufholz: For me, the IJM path was exactly that. I mean, the pastor said, the guy that came and spoke at our church was like, “The first step is becoming a freedom partner. These are people that are really committed to the work, we’re going to send you a bunch of prayer updates. We need you to pray. We need money to go and do the work.” They talked about money in a way that was remarkably not gross. It was super cool. It was like, “We have to be funded to do this. We know where slaves are, we need your help.” And I was like, “Well, that’s a very practical way of asking, yes, we will help.” So we’re giving like $24 a month and doing what they asked.
Eddie Kaufholz: So it was all the small steps and I love that because every organization… The people within the organizations are really smart and have thought about this, an incredible amount. And so when they say, “Here’s a great first step.” They’re not trying to market you or to trick you. They’re praying that you take that step, because it’s huge. And so for us, every time somebody is a freedom partner, we breathe a little sigh of relief, because really, we are able to fund rescues. We are able to do the work, we’re able to expand and we’re able to help countries end slavery.
Eddie Kaufholz: That was kind of the path is I started on doing that and then started volunteering a little bit and I just talked to our local volunteer coordinator and said, “How can I help?” And then one day, kind of the big turning point in our life was that the guy that came and spoke at the church called me and said that he was retiring, and would I like to apply for his job. And it wasn’t a given. It wasn’t one of those, wink wink, you got the job things, IJM didn’t play like that. So I had to go through a very rigorous interview process. I’m wearing a suit in Washington, D.C. And I’m like, “What am I… I’m staying in a Hampton Inn. What is going on? This is so intense.” So I went through the interview process, and then ended up getting the role.
Heidi Wilcox: That’s awesome.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah. So it was a real progression of just following, I just really wanted to follow the path that kind of they had prescribed, because the work is just so complex, that I knew that they had boiled down the steps for me. Does that make sense?
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: It was like, “I’m not going to try to insert my own narrative into this work. I’m going to just do what they’re asking.”
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, for sure.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah. That was kind of the progress to being a part of the IJM staff.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Eddie, I love that. And I love what IJM does, working with people within the country not coming in from the outside and doing it but supporting people who are in the country do what they want to do and end slavery.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, yeah. Yeah, when you see pictures of our field office staff, you’re like, “Oh, look, it’s all people from the field,” because the model just works better that way. I mean, granted, there are some interns and some employees that are from other places around the world. But a majority of the staff is in country because it takes people in country to be able to understand the nuance of the justice system, to understand that all of the little pieces and the complexities, you can’t really successfully export someone from the other side of the world and expect them to know how to best thrive in Ghana, you need Ghanaians. And our field office staff are the best. They are the coolest, greatest people. They’re so fun and funny and wonderful. So I love them.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve only met them through your podcast, but they sound like everything you just said they were.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, they’re the sweetest. Oh, they’re sweetest. You know Leo who’s been on the podcast?
Heidi Wilcox: Uh-huh.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, he is the funniest, sweetest man with a huge laugh. He’s just a good, good dude. Yeah, I love that guy. So anyway, yeah, they are amazing. And they’re fierce. They are firmly committed to their work and they don’t play, so it’s awesome to watch them.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So as I mentioned before, I kind of want to talk about Christmas a little bit. In Christmas and giving and how we can look at Christmas with a heart for social justice and without guilt, because I’ve been kind of struggling with the guilt aspect of I have so much so why should I get more presents? I can be really legalistic about things sometimes and that is not the place I want to be. So I want to talk about all of that, too. Yeah, so here’s your question, Eddie.
Eddie Kaufholz: I’m hearing it. I’m ready.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah. How can we look at giving with a heart for social justice this Christmas?
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh…
Heidi Wilcox: And you can’t say great question.
Eddie Kaufholz: No, no, no. Well, I’m as curious about your answer as I am with mine. So I’ll be curious, if you don’t mind, what you have to say about it. I think first of all, and this is… I actually went to Asbury and studied counseling, so I never can get far away from my counseling training at ATS. So part of it is releasing yourself a little bit from the guilt of it all, because it just is unjust. And you’ll never be able to fix that. The moment you were born into the United States, the moment you are able to pick up the phone and call 911 and a police officer is there in theory to help you within a minute, the moment you have access to an emergency room, you have access to clean water, you have already tipped the balance deeply to a place that you can never un-tip it.
Eddie Kaufholz: So it’s already done. You can’t outpace the injustice of poverty and the people that have. I think, for me, the healthier place a little bit to land, and this is broadly, is recognizing that and also really keeping just tabs on when you feel like where you are participating in that, it’s just getting past to a place where it kind of bumps against your own ethic. So I think there is a compass inside of us that we just know this feels extravagant. This feels a little unnecessary. But then there’s also that place inside of us that goes, “I’m excited to get this person this gift. This is joyful and lovely.” And this helps us celebrate and remember and understand and look forward to the birth of Christ. This comes from that place versus this is kind of a lot.
Heidi Wilcox: Oh, yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: I think that that’s oriented by really… I don’t want to get… Well, I guess I do. I think that gets oriented by a deeper understanding of the person of Jesus. And I think that we’ve got to be able to be cultivating our personal pursuit of holiness really, if we’re not cultivating that I think our compass gets off pretty wildly. And so I do think, and this is very broad, but I think part of it is just giving ourselves permission to understand that we are born here.
Eddie Kaufholz: God give gives us all of these things [inaudible 00:23:02] ours, God gives us this life to delight in, but at the same time, we have got a massive amount of work to do. For me, I sit in like, “Okay, if I just sit in, in this Christmas season, the story of Jesus’s birth, I can’t party hard enough.” I can’t celebrate harder because you can never possibly out give, out gift, out Christmas party, out eggnog, you cannot possibly out celebrate the bigness of what we are anticipating and moving towards in Christmas.
Heidi Wilcox: Yes.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yet at the same time, there is Matthew five, you are the light of the hill. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. There is still at the same time we live in the reality that Jesus tells us, “Okay, I brought light into a very dark world. I was there and there was an explosion of light into the sin that had encompassed the world.” Now we’re getting real preachy here.
Heidi Wilcox: No, go.
Eddie Kaufholz: At the same time, we can’t forget that there is still this directive where Jesus is looking at us and say, “Now, you go, you go be a light into a very dark world.” And so we sit in that tension, where we both can’t celebrate enough, we can’t be happy enough, but at the same time, we’re still under this decree to go and do the work that Jesus came to do. And that hasn’t disappeared this Christmas season, we still got to be about the work. So I think part of it is just like, it’s okay. It’s okay to buy a gift. It’s okay to be excited about it. It’s okay to be excited about getting a gift. It’s just okay. But at the same time, listen to the still voice inside of you. That tells you, “Okay, this feels like one that we could do without, and this person would be just as happy if you went on and use the IJM gift catalog and bought them a gift, they would be so excited about that.”
Eddie Kaufholz: A five year old may not be so fine, get them Legos, it’s fine. Everybody gets… It’s okay. But for some people they will be as excited and for you, you may be just as excited. And I also think that there’s this point of conviction where it’s like, if you’re really struggling with this, that’s probably saying more about you in this moment than anything else, and I feel you’ve listened to that. If it’s a real point of like, “I’m struggling with this,” well, maybe this is the Christmas where it’s all holiday gift catalogs from great nonprofits, and that’s what you by everybody, and everybody will be excited and you will feel resolved in whatever it is that you’re struggling with. But I don’t know that there is like a, this is bad. This is good. But I think that there’s a sense that we know what is right and what is too right.
Heidi Wilcox: No, I totally get that. And if we were together in person while you were recording, you would have seen my shoulders visibly relax that like buying gifts. It’s okay. I love what you said about there’s not a right way or wrong way to do it, but to just celebrate with joy and delight and do good in your celebration at the same time.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, because I just cannot imagine God is furious with us for buying a gift for our spouse, by buying them these earrings they’ve always wanted. I just can’t imagine that God is furious with that because we didn’t take that $20 and send it to some organization that’s doing good work or something like that. That does not feel in line with how I understand it. But for some people who are listening to this right now they’re like, “I disagree strongly.” And so for people, I’m like, “Good, go for it. Don’t buy the earrings and go spend the 20…” That is true for you and I feel like that is where God is uniquely moving you and so go to it.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. Yeah, I love that because I’m realizing more and more how God wants us to live our lives with joy.
Eddie Kaufholz: You’re right.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, with joy, there’s enough sadness we should be the happiest people ever.
Eddie Kaufholz: Right. And there’s a part to it that it’s just like you can’t sit and wallow all the time in the fact that we do live a disproportionately fortunate life as a US citizen. There are times when that is hard to reconcile. And there are times even within our own country’s narrative where it is, we can read the news every single day. We’re like, “Man, this country is in a lot of complex conversations right now.” But I also think that there’s a part of it that’s just like, I have got to make sure that I don’t just wallow in the sadness that others don’t have, but I’m also as equally appreciative that I have access to clean water, that my children are not in fear of being taken on the way to school and being enslaved. This is just not our story and I am exceedingly grateful for it, but at the same time, right on the other side of the coin, there is that much responsibility to help others not be in that as well. So it’s like, what is it? Great power comes with great responsibility?
Heidi Wilcox: Yes, yes, yes.
Eddie Kaufholz: What is that from? It’s not the Bible.
Heidi Wilcox: I think it’s Superman.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, okay. I’m glad I didn’t think it was the Bible. No, Superman, that feels better.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. So if we’re going for the earrings or whatever, this Christmas, because it feels right to us to give gifts to people. How can we know that what we’re buying isn’t contributing to slavery?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah. The truth is, we can’t and that’s what’s hard, is that we can’t always, let me say that. I don’t know how to walk through Target and pick out a shirt that is or is not contributing to slavery. I trust these organizations, I trust that they’re working really hard. I’m not putting Target on blast, but any large company, like any place, Amazon, that you do your shopping at, I trust that they’re working really hard to make sure that their supply chain is slavery free. But at the same time, we still know that there are slaves all around the world that are making gifts that we buy.
Eddie Kaufholz: So the way I do it is, a couple years ago, we didn’t really have a great answer for this, but now we’ve got a bunch of organizations that put out buying guides. What is it? Endslaverynow.org, they’re a great resource, and they give you great organizations and there are no shortage of online companies that we can go and if we’re really excited to buy XYZ for someone, then we go earrings, go to Noonday, they’ll direct you over to Noonday. Noonday makes beautiful earrings. So we know that Noonday’s entire supply chain is known and transparent. It’s awesome. Also, dressember.org, that’s another great one. Dressember just came out with a directory, a buying directory. I’m just giving out websites here.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, I know. And we’ll link it all in the show notes too. So everybody listening, we will have it for you.
Eddie Kaufholz: It’s just one of those things that like 10, 15 years ago, we just didn’t have the access to this we have now, but one of the good things about the internet is that we really don’t have as much of an excuse as we used to. We can look up our pair of shoes that we’re excited about, and we can see how that supply chain was affected just by googling it. And so I think that we’re just at the tipping point where people can just blindly go like, “I honestly didn’t know,” like, “Yeah, you did.” I think there was a point in time where people did not know that smoking was bad for you, but then there was about two decades where everybody knew and just didn’t want to admit it.
Eddie Kaufholz: And then finally it becomes public awareness. We’re kind of in those two decades right now, where it’s a little bit on us. And I don’t say this is an indictment to people, but it is a Google stop away to go and find out where you can by any measure of awesome, ethically sourced, thoughtful gifts that also sometimes give back. I mean, it’s not just like the supply chain is clean. It’s also like they are raising incredibly important funds. So yeah, everyslaverynow, Dressember, Noonday, there’re more I’m sure I’m forgetting.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah. Like I said, we will list these. I’m really excited about this because it’s changing how I’m thinking about shopping this Christmas.
Eddie Kaufholz: Totally.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: That’s cool.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, but at Christmas I don’t know if other people are like this. I’m much more likely to think about giving money to other people. My husband and I are faithful and giving all year long because we’ve been realizing more and more in new ways, even just a couple weeks ago, how much we have and started thinking about living with an attitude of abundance instead of scarcity and that has changed everything for us. It’s been really great and we’re just kind of starting, I mean, we always gave, but just the mindset of how are giving and why has changed. And so I’m really excited to see where that journey goes.
Eddie Kaufholz: How does that work out practically, living in a mindset of abundance instead of scarcity? What changes does that make to your day to day spending?
Heidi Wilcox: I’m a worrier. And so instead of just being like, “Oh, well, I don’t think we can do that because it’s this amount,” it’s not overspending, even for us or in our giving because you have to balance the budget at the end of the day, but just to be like, we have enough and to give, I think, for me, it’s just an attitude of giving with joy. Like I have enough. It’s not giving because I have to and checking off the, “Oh, the 10% box over here and we tithe.” I think that’s a good place to start. So I’m not saying don’t do that, but it’s just like, okay, we have this and we can just give it freely without thinking about what does it keep us from doing. It’s just like, whatever it’s going to be okay.
Eddie Kaufholz: It’s going to be okay. And then that theory gets tested, and then it does work out, doesn’t it?
Heidi Wilcox: It does work out. I started thinking about this a couple weeks ago when something in our personal lives happened. And I’m like, “We have enough. We have more than enough and it’s gonna be okay.”
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, yeah. Now that’s a really good way to put it. Thanks for sharing that. That’s very thoughtful.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. But because it is Christmas time, I also have a tender heart for people that I hope other people have too. So I hope I’m not alone in this I’m more likely to give money, maybe even give some time too to volunteer. But then, January comes, and I know from things in my path, January comes, and I’m like, “Okay, Christmas is over, I still have a heart for giving,” but I don’t put it into action as much. So how can we how can I keep this from becoming a once a season thing, and it becomes something that we live into all year long?
Eddie Kaufholz: Well, it’s a really thoughtful question because it comes from a very good place of wanting to do that. I think first part of it is to go back to the permission giving part of it. It’s okay to give money once a year. It’s okay to feel extra generous in December. It’s the end of the tax season. Everybody’s generous. It’s like, it’s great. I can’t tell you how much support we receive at IJM and how grateful we are for people that write us $100 check once a year. Like, that matters a great deal. I always want to not disparage the people that are doing that because it’s-
Heidi Wilcox: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Eddie Kaufholz: And I know that’s not what you were doing at all. But I also am like, “Part of it is okay. This is a great time. We’re feeling extra givy, it’s exciting,” January just feels differently. It’s cold but not in a cute way anymore, the lights are down, we’re all back at work and it’s like the beginning of a whole entire year. It just doesn’t feel like that time of the year you want to give it just doesn’t feel that kind of fun. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give. But I’m also like, I get it because I feel the same way. This is a nice time of season to give. So first of all, keep doing it. But I also think from an organizational standpoint, we’re in this work, I mean, I can speak only for IJM, we’re in this work for the very long haul. And the work is slow and it’s systemic and it’s going to end slavery in the world.
Eddie Kaufholz: I truly believe that by the time my daughters are adults, and I believe this not just like some pie in the sky notion, but because I’m seeing the evidence, we’re seeing the model work. I believe that they are going to see an end to slavery. The dominoes are starting to fall on their own. And so part of it is we can’t go away. We can’t stop, we can’t stop. And so part of it is, what I encourage people to do this year is, give the one time gift but also while we’re in this special season to give the recurring gifts, because that just becomes so, it’s just easy. And I know some people are like, “Oh, I like to write a check every month,” and that’s great.
Eddie Kaufholz: I like things to come out of my account and I don’t think about it and then I just get the mailings, because I just write send me your mail things once a month telling us how the work is going. I will read that I’m excited by the work. I think that’s part of it is setting yourself up in the good times for the lean times. And when we’re feeling all generous, go and find the organization and it can be IJM, but anything, find that organization that has particularly rang your bell and say, “You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to give $30 a month in my dad’s name for the next year,” instead of… I cannot do podcast math in front of people, but 30 bucks a month times 12. I’m going to do that all year and I’m going to just let that come out of my bank account as a continual gift because it really just does help organizations. It helps them budget, it helps them plan.
Eddie Kaufholz: But I also think it’s more than money. I think that one thing that is really good to do during the holiday season and this is probably the most important thing is to somehow find a personal connection to the work. And so if you’re particularly active in, what would be another good non-nonprofit, if you’re particularly active in serving… Well, we’ll just go with IJM.
Heidi Wilcox: Okay, yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: We’ll just go with IJM. If you’re particular you care about IJM, I feel like this is part of the season, part of the opportunity we have, part of some of the extra free time that we have because sometimes our work life slows down a bit in December is trying to find ways to connect personally into the work and to kind of remind yourself of why it is that you care about this. And so sometimes it’s like sitting down and watching the most recent film, reading a book, going if there are missions trips, going on those kinds of experiences, going to the local place, getting your hands dirty, because giving money is extremely important and it’s a great first step, but I also think we have to be like actually immersed in the process of going and serving. And that’s going to look different for every single person and the kind of organizations that they care about.
Eddie Kaufholz: But for me, I start to lose my true north pretty quickly if I’m not actually getting my hands and feet dirty, somehow in the work. And so, for IJM, I just need to go to a volunteer thing. I go to the advocacy day that happens every year. And we all go to Capitol Hill and go and speak to our elected officials. That kind of stuff re-grounds me to the work and reminds me, “Oh, yes, this matters. This is important. This is working,” because I’m just giving money and answering emails all day, it’s not enough to stay grounded. And so most of the organizations that anybody really cares about will give you those grounding opportunities. I just wouldn’t pretend that you’re above it. I’d lean into them and do it. If they’re like, “Hey, watch this film. It’ll shatter you.” Don’t just be like, “Yeah, okay, I’m sure I love you guys. I’m going to keep giving.” No, watch it because we need to be reminded of why it matters, because that can drift.
Heidi Wilcox: Yes, the why.
Eddie Kaufholz: Right. The why is exactly right.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. And like you, I need something tangible that I can be like, “This is why it matters. And I’m doing something hands on to help people.” Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: Because life is busy.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: We got a whole lot of stuff going on, and I’m not always thinking about ending slavery. Bring them out like everything else. And it is just good to be re-grounded and to remember that there’s great hope in this work and there’s also a great need. And the more I can remember that, yeah, I feel just more rooted to it, to have the opportunity and grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, and I really appreciate. You kind of answered my next question, but I’m going to ask it anyway incase there is something that you want to add to it because I can get really overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done and it’s hard for me to get started. Because you were talking about organizations that ring your bell, I can hear about an organization that needs help right now. And I’m like, “Oh, well, we should give to that. We could volunteer.” It’s all good. But it can be too much, you know what I mean? And then I end up doing nothing. So you kind of mentioned this earlier, but what is one step that people can take just to get started?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yes, I will hearken back to a former guest that you had, our mutual friend, Teddy Ray.
Heidi Wilcox: Oh, yes.
Eddie Kaufholz: I think he talked about it on the show about this idea that there’s going to be… He used to talk about this primary secondary calling deal. Did he talk about that on the podcast?
Heidi Wilcox: Yes. Yes.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah. Part of it is like, okay, I get the work of my whole life. I see what’s happening. I understand my connection to family and all those kinds of things, but the rest of it is like, what I’m doing as a parent, what I’m doing as a husband, what I’m doing to the work that God has called me to do vocationally, all of those things. Then there’s just all the other stuff that’s a little bit like you don’t have to strategize so hard. You don’t have to figure it out. We don’t have to fully wait on every whim of like, “God’s telling me or not telling me,” so I’m just going to not do anything.
Eddie Kaufholz: I think the first step is just go do anything, like anything, because I think generally, this might be wrong, but people get trapped in apathy, and really trapped in just either apathy or strategy. Like they’re trying to figure out, “Okay, if I do this, then I’m involved with this. And I’m going to try to do this.” And it’s like, “No, no, no, there’s a thing right in front of you.” Somebody at church said, “Hey, can you help count backpacks next week for a backpack drive?” And then you’re just thinking, “What do I want to get involved with the thing, and where’s my heart in this? Is God calling me to help kids in this area or am I more thinking internationally,” it doesn’t matter.
Heidi Wilcox: It’s the next right thing.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yes, it’s the next right thing. People need help counting backpacks this week. So just show up and count backpacks. I think that we over strategize our help a little too much. And I really respect people so much for being thoughtful about it. But part of it is, I believe that God has all of us at a geographic place, an emotional place, and time to for a reason. And so the fact that I am in Gainesville, Florida, right now, in these years going to the church that I go to, it matters. And so something is going to come across my path that I need to not ignore, because what are the chances? What are the chances that I’m here? What are the chances that I heard about that need? I mean, it’s like zero, but here I am. So let’s just dive in.
Eddie Kaufholz: And I think to the other end of it, and probably a little bit more what you were saying is I just want to do all of these things so you can end up overextending. I think it is to that, I’m like, “Good job. Good,” because you’re the opposite of most people is like the over-extending, the over-giving, the over-helping, over-needing, but what needs to not happen is for you to shut down and I’m not saying this is particularly you.
Heidi Wilcox: No, it will be me if I don’t figure out the balance, though.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, the sympathy burnout does not need no organization, no group, no marginalized group of people need you to burn out, because then you’re doing nothing for everyone. And that’s just not helpful. But I think all of it comes from a place that, I’m not saying we have a savior complex, but it does come from a place where it’s like, if I don’t do this, who will? And that’s the place where I really have to sit back and go, “Okay, I can’t do nothing. I can’t be lazy. But I am going to trust God, that if I dig into volunteering with the Red Cross, and my local boys and girls club, that the other nine things that I know are super important are going to get figured out because I feel like that’s where I can devote my best time right now.” Instead of doing almost nothing for any of them or just overextending yourself.
Eddie Kaufholz: I think we’ve got to just trust that God has the resources and the people to be able to get it all done. But all of those people have to get up and say like, “Okay, I’ll take my next step.” If everybody just got up and took a single step, we’d be overwhelmed with help.
Heidi Wilcox: Yes, yes.
Eddie Kaufholz: If everybody that ever heard me preach a sermon about IJM became a freedom partner, we wouldn’t know what to do with all the money.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah that would be great, right?
Eddie Kaufholz: Right. We wouldn’t know what to do. I mean, we know this. Every pastor that’s listening, knows that when they’re calculating the budget for the next year, the way they have to figure it out is okay, what if this pretty small group of people tithe because everybody else isn’t going to do that? We have to do math based on the lowest common denominator. And that is always like, what if we were able to do the math of people leveraging their life, money, prayer, advocacy, time? What if we were able to do that math based on 75% of the people? We wouldn’t know what to do with it all. So I am always like, “Don’t strategize. Don’t think. Take a single step right now and do something.”
Heidi Wilcox: And you can’t get it wrong.
Eddie Kaufholz: You cannot get it wrong. No, you cannot get it wrong.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, yeah. And that’s the part that I love.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yes. That’s exactly right. You cannot get it wrong. So just do something.
Heidi Wilcox: I love how you end your podcasts with encouraging people to leverage your life for good. And I just love how you end that. Is that how you in just doing something is that what you mean when you say leverage your life for good?
Eddie Kaufholz: Okay, I have to tell you a real story. I got made fun of for about this, but now it’s working out in my favor. But when I was a pastor, I would get up at the benediction. And I would give the benediction, whether it was me preaching or someone else, kind of the way our church did the benediction was sort of like the typical liturgy, but also sort of like a recap, like, “Okay, you heard this thing. Now go do this thing.” It was sort of trying to summarize the day. I often would just kind of shut down during that time, because I would just end up saying something to the effect of like, “Just go do something. Just don’t sit there being apathetic, don’t just walk out of this place, just go do something. We’ve told you about nine things that are happening in the life of the church. We’ve told you a three point sermon. We have shown you signs on the way in for 10 other things that are happening in and around the community of the church. Please take any one of those 20 something opportunities and just do something.”
Eddie Kaufholz: The worship leader would pull me aside afterwards. He’s like, “Hey, can we just maybe pull off of the just do something language and maybe make it a little bit more like specific to what we’re actually asking.” And so I always got goofed on because it was like, just do something. But at the end of the day, I may be under estimating people, and maybe everybody is just doing something. And maybe this whole podcast and this whole thing is for myself to just break myself out of my own apathy. But I just feel like people are waiting to get pushed in a single direction. And I think if we just did something, just one thing, a single step, signed up to give, went and volunteered, if we all actually did that it would be a fairly overwhelming response.
Heidi Wilcox: Yes, for sure.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah.
Heidi Wilcox: For sure. Yeah. So I have one more question for you Eddie as we wrap up the podcast, unless there’s something else you want to touch on that we haven’t talked about yet?
Eddie Kaufholz: No, I’ve enjoyed this so much. You’re just such a good interviewer. You’re very engaged. Because you sent me questions, people don’t know this, you sent me questions beforehand. You didn’t ask a lot of them. You just kind of like rolled with it. You’re a good interviewer.
Heidi Wilcox: Thank you. I appreciate that so much.
Eddie Kaufholz: You’ve done a very good job.
Heidi Wilcox: You’re very kind.
Eddie Kaufholz: You too and great. Look at this.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah, thanks.
Eddie Kaufholz: Okay, what do you want to ask? I’m ready.
Heidi Wilcox: Okay, so our podcast is called the Thrive with Asbury Seminary podcast.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yes it is.
Heidi Wilcox: And so what is one practice spiritual or otherwise, that is helping you thrive in your life right now?
Eddie Kaufholz: Yes. I love that you ask people this question. I love hearing their answers because I’m usually not doing what they are doing. And so it’s like very helpful to know.
Heidi Wilcox: It is.
Eddie Kaufholz: I would say, in this season, and by this season, I mean, probably the last six months. I have been trying, and this is when you said practice spiritual or otherwise this definitely I think falls into the otherwise category.
Heidi Wilcox: I love it.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, yeah. And maybe it would fall into like Sabbath a little bit, but generally I have been trying to find things that are purely fun, and to try to do things that are fun. That seems easier said than done maybe for some people, but I’m not a person that naturally gravitates to fun. I take things seriously or a lot of things that were fun like writing or podcasting are now also fun, but they’re really also part of a job. And so there’s deadlines attached to it. So I have been trying to find areas of my life where it is just pure joy that can never be connected to anything vocational and in that fun, I find that it’s actually a fairly spiritual practice.
Eddie Kaufholz: So things like just going on a bike ride. I know that seems like, but when was the last time you just got on a bike? Maybe some people do this a lot. But I dusted off a bike that I hadn’t ridden in a while and I just go on bike rides. It’s not super intense. It’s not for the workout though it is good to get some exercise, but I just stroll around on a bicycle without a phone. And that has been-
Heidi Wilcox: Without a phone is key.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, it’s just fun. It’s just enjoyable. I don’t care. It’s true and people are going to push back on it. I have an Xbox now. I haven’t played video games in years and I get on with some of my friends and we goof around and laugh like 11 year old boys. And we don’t do it often, it’s every couple of weeks we’ll get on and it’s just fun. And I find that my soul… I mean, we’re getting into enneagram stuff, but I’m a four, so I’m like real brooding, real, real, real into my own head and stuff like that. But my soul longs to just be released from that and to just enjoy something. Just to play with, I have two daughters, Eve and Lucy, and they’re fantastic, just to play with them and goof around and throw a ball in the backyard.
Eddie Kaufholz: So for me, the way I’ve been thriving lately is trying to inject periods of real fun into my life. And I have found that it is just bouncing out the rest of it really well.
Heidi Wilcox: Yes. I love that, Eddie. And I think we should all have more fun in our lives. Okay, I’m an enneagram six, you mentioned enneagram. And I don’t know if it’s related to my enneagram, but I get so focused on I got to do this. I have this list. I got to do it. And I can weed out all the fun out of my life because I’m so busy getting stuff done and being productive.
Eddie Kaufholz: Totally.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah.
Eddie Kaufholz: Totally.
Heidi Wilcox: So, yeah, I appreciate that.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah, I feel you and I hear you on that. I’m glad you resonate with that answer, because everybody else’s answers have been so much more deep. I’m like, “Nope, I’m just trying to be a dummy and have fun.”
Heidi Wilcox: Which I love. I love that.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah.
Heidi Wilcox: Eddie, thank you so much. This conversation has really been a gift to me, and I know our listeners will enjoy it too.
Eddie Kaufholz: Oh, so kind of you, Heidi, it was so nice to hang out with you and I love my Asbury friends and just felt really lucky to be a part of your fun Christmas episode.
Heidi Wilcox: Yeah. So thank you so much, Eddie.
Eddie Kaufholz: Yeah. Merry Christmas.
Heidi Wilcox: Merry Christmas to you.
Eddie Kaufholz: Thanks.
Heidi Wilcox: Hey y’all, thank you so much for joining me for this conversation with Eddie Kaufholz. Today’s conversation gave me a lot of food for thought, as I think about giving this Christmas season, but also developing a lifestyle of joy and generosity throughout the rest of the year. So I hope you enjoyed it too. Our next episode with Dr. Craig Keener releases Tuesday, December 17. And you won’t want to miss out. So go to iTunes or your favorite podcast player and listen and subscribe to the podcast. You can also follow Asbury Seminary in all the places on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @Asburyseminary. So have a great day y’all and go do something that helps you thrive.