My Big Life Change in 2023 + Lessons Learned About Community

Show Notes

Join the Substack:

In this episode of Faithfully Engaged, Johnny Sanders reflects on the past year and shares his plans for the future. He announced the launch of his new sub-stack and introduced a new segment called Faithful Feedback. Johnny discusses personal highlights of the year, including his son’s birth and the growth of his counseling practice.

He also talks about starting the Faithfully Engaged podcast and the importance of community and connection. Johnny expresses gratitude for the support he has received and emphasizes the gift of connection that Jesus has given us.


Johnny Sanders (00:09)

Merry Christmas everyone. Before we get started into this episode of Faithfully Engaged, I wanted to encourage everyone to sign up for my new sub stack. It is listed down in the show notes below. I’m really excited about unveiling some new aspects of the sub stack which includes a new segment called Faithful Feedback.

This is where I’ll ask questions and answer some of your questions and just help the audience be engaged in the show. So if you are interested in that, again, check out my sub stack down in the show notes below. Hello and welcome back to Faithfully Engaged and also Merry Christmas. So as you know, I upload a new episode every Monday morning and this year Christmas happens to be on a Monday.

airing my normal interviews like I normally do, I decided it probably wouldn’t be very fair for my guests to air them on both Christmas and then if you didn’t know, Christmas and New Year’s is always on the same day. That’s a week apart. So I will not be having a guest on New Year’s either. So both today and on New Year’s, they’re just gonna be myself, talking to the camera, talking to you guys. They’re gonna be fairly short

just be kind of some nice little neat wrap ups about the year that I’ve had and I would love to talk to you about the year that you have had. So Christmas this has been a it’s been a really interesting year for me personally. So I am a I’m a parent of three now. Some of you have known that I had my

baby boy, our third boy, or sorry, our third child, second boy. He was born in August. So that’s been a huge addition in our household. I’d love to know from some of you. Feel free to sign up for the newsletter, which I have down in the links below. And this is something that I’ll be airing. I’ll talk a little bit more on the New Year’s episode. Really trying to make some more fan interaction with you guys. So I have a new sub stack newsletter that is listed down below.

and I’m gonna start doing some mail back type of things where I’m going to answer some of your questions and try to get a little more feedback. I really like getting to interact with people that watch the show. So anyways, I would love to know some of the big events that have happened in your life this year. So yeah, my son being born obviously a big one, but it’s been a big year for me just professionally. I technically started my…

Counseling Practice, Truth and Grace Counseling at the end of 2022, but this is really the first year that things have really got up and running. So been getting my feet wet getting that business started. I just recently released some continuing education units, which all counselors are required to get. So doing some of my own continuing education there. And also just been doing some other things.

with my counseling degree, contracting with some different places, just a lot going on. But for you guys listening, Faithfully Engaged has been such a neat project and community that’s been starting to be built. And it’s interesting because it’s different than Truth and Grace Counseling for me. Truth and Grace Counseling, that came about fairly quickly, but it had been in the works

for a while. So essentially I wanted to make my own practice so I wouldn’t be as beholden to beliefs and a worldview that the counseling field is going down that is just I believe quite godless and not very helpful as counseling either. Which I’m super grateful for my friend Sowad who has been on the show. She’s got the

conservative counselor directory that she just launched earlier this year. So I’ll have that link down there too. So there’s some cool things going on there beyond just truth and grace counseling. But anyways, me making truth and grace counseling like I said, that had been in the works for a while and eventually ended up getting that all set up like I said at the end of 2022. And then making the podcast

Those of you that have been around from the beginning know about the Truth in Grace Counseling Podcast, which absolutely loved doing that. That was something that really, it’s not like I came up with it and just did it all in one day, but much quicker. Essentially, running your own business, oftentimes you just, I guess maybe you don’t, but I look up different.

ways to advertise and I’m constantly learning, constantly just trying to refine the ways that I can market and just being a better business owner. That’s something I’m going to continue to learn on. Well, anyways, I’d seen some things about doing a podcast. Why not? Let’s give it a shot. And quickly I found that the Truth or Grace Counseling podcast, while it was intended to really just advertise my practice.

It was becoming its own thing. I had several guests on, like Soad that I mentioned. And we just were developing kind of our own.

our own little community there. It’s not what I had intended necessarily when I started doing podcasting. So I had that kind of thought, yeah, let me separate this. Let me get this out of the Truth and Grace counseling name and make it his own thing. And I didn’t know what that was gonna look like. Like I said, me making my practice, I had a little bit more time to think and stew on that. You know, I didn’t just slap together faithfully engaged.

all in one day, but much quicker process there. And I ended up sacrificing the segments, those UOGs out there, you know, about the meat section and the water cooler and all these different segments I had on the Truth of Grace Counseling Podcast. While they were great, they just took so much more effort and editing and different outtakes and things like that. So…

little bit harder for me to do, especially getting busier with my own practice and now having, you know, three children, I don’t have a ton of free time. So made faithfully engaged to be more just one segment. The show is the interview. Be on the lookout. I’m still game playing as of this recording of how I would like to do this, but I want to make my own episode where and maybe even doing it live.

Uh, where I just do a live stream where I maybe discuss the interview I had on, on Monday, and then on Friday, we’ll do a live stream where kind of discuss that, uh, interview and a little bit more in depth and maybe give my own spin on the topic. Um, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. I’m just trying to look out, work out some logistics. Um, I don’t want to jump into things that I can’t do consistently. Um, I don’t want to over promise and under deliver.

But that’s something I really want to do. I want to expand this show. And again, that’s kind of what’s been interesting about this journey in 2023 is this wasn’t on my radar at all in 2023 and now I see Faithfully Engaged as almost as being more of a longer term thing than my own counseling practice.

I want that to be there for a good long while. But Truth and Grace counseling originally was like, that was my backup plan. And that was if I couldn’t find a job elsewhere or whatever, at least I had my own practice. And now Faithful Engage is almost like my backup backup. But I just see it as such lasting power and it’s something different. I think that’s why I like it so much. I like getting to talk to the camera with you guys. I like it.

getting to meet new people, getting new contacts. I’ve got new books sent to me and talked to authors and people in different walks of life. I just really enjoy that and getting to ask questions and bring that out to you guys and help challenge you all to be active. I do wanna take just a little bit of time on this kind of Christmas episode and thank two specific people. They’re actually brothers that

There’s no way that I would be able to do this without them. One, my friend Dan, he made the logo, Faithfully Engaged logo, he made the Truth and Grace Counseling logo. Does an excellent job doing that. So super grateful for the kind of the branding and things like that, that he helped provide, especially in a fairly short timeframe. And then his brother Ian, who does all of my editing, there’s absolutely no way.

I could do a weekly, especially video podcast without that help that Ian gives me. So super grateful for the both of them. And yeah, that being able to have that type of assistance is just so important. And that’s something that I really want to leave you guys with. On this Christmas, being engaged, being engaged in culture is not a one-man


Again, I didn’t come into 2023 and think, yep, I’m going to do X, Y, Z. I’ve got to get it done. It’s all because of me and the hard work I put in. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve put a lot of work into this, especially looking into Faithfully Engaged because I put a lot of time and effort and money into something that has lost me money. I don’t say that for you to pity me. That’s just when you’re building something, it takes resources.

resources that I’ve not seen returned yet. I’m very hopeful and I’m very confident that there will be financial returns, but more so just returns on people enjoying the content. That’s part of why when I ask for likes and subscribes and things like that, yeah, it helps the algorithm and spread the show, but it shows it’s making some positive impact. And yes, I eventually want Faithfully Engaged to be…

Um, more so my full-time job at some point, I would love that. Um, but even before then I wanted to make it, I wanted to make some, some form of a difference and I want to emphasize even on the production end of things, I can’t do this alone, even as me and in front of a mic, there’s more things going on behind the scenes than, than you’ve realized. And I emphasize that to you as again, being engaged in the culture, being engaged in your life.

You cannot do this on your own. You can’t. It’s not a matter of effort. It’s not a matter of you saying, I’m going to put in all this effort and work so hard and eventually I’ll make it. No, you got to work hard. Again, I’ve had to work hard here, but you’ve got to be with other people. You’ve got to have a community. This is Christmas Day. Those of you that are listening that are Christian, I know the majority of you are.

If you’re sitting there and you’ve not gotten plugged into a church, what are you doing? You can’t do this on your own. It’s not just you and Jesus doing this all by yourself. You gotta be around other people. You’ve gotta be connected. God made us this way. God made us to be connected with other people. So don’t fall into the lie that I just need to work harder and

everything will be given to me. Everything’s going to fall in place that way. Now, again, don’t fall into another lie that says you don’t have to work hard at all. And well, you know, whatever happens happens. No, you need to work hard. But have community have people around you. It’s your family. Maybe maybe you’re not seeing your family today. Maybe you have a strange relationship with your family. I know there’s difficulties that people go through. But

Can you reach out? Can you call your mom or dad, your sibling, you haven’t talked to in a long time, just reach out, see what happens. Can you go back to church? Try it again, you haven’t been in a long time, but give it a shot and reach out and be open about your struggles. Do you have some friends that you haven’t hung out with in a long time or just you feel lonely, you don’t know where to go? Is there a way that you can reach out, be a little vulnerable?

Maybe go on a date with that girl that you’ve been thinking of asking out for a long time. Do something, but you’ve got to be connected with other people. That’s what I want to really emphasize today on Christmas. The gift that God gave, that Jesus, God Himself came down and flesh came down as a man, that was connection. He gave us connection. He gave us forgiveness. We don’t deserve that.

We don’t deserve that at all. But he did it anyways. What a wonderful gift. And he’s given us the gift of connecting with other people here on Earth as well. So don’t negate that. Don’t fall into the lie that you can do it on your own. Because quite simply, you can’t. And that’s not a bad thing.