Young women are often not the face or voice of theology podcasts. Two alumnae are working to change that. Esther Followwill-Johnson (B.S. ’21) and Elizabeth Terpstra (Chase, ’09) launched their theology podcast It Matters with Esther and Elizabeth in 2019 and as of this fall have reached 10,000 subscribers and had high-profile guests on their show such as Becket Cook and Alisa Childers.
“Our desire is for people to know the truth, to believe that the truth will actually set them free and to know how to study and understand God’s Word,” said Followwill-Johnson.
A passion and fervor to equip women with the skillset to study and interpret Scripture has fueled the theology-loving duo’s podcast. The faith-based digital content platform Everyday Exiles noticed there weren’t very many young female voices discussing theology at the time and invited Followwill-Johnson, who writes for the platform, to launch a podcast with them. She said yes, if Terpstra could join her as co-host.
“I knew she'd bring the same kind of energy and passion and a no-mess-around stance about doctrine, truth, fact over feeling and experience in a time when so much of people’s worldview is formed by their experience in faith, in religion and community,” Followwill-Johnson said.
Terpstra and Followwill-Johnson had met during their time at Biola, but didn’t keep in touch until a mutual friend reconnected them years later. They quickly connected on a deeper level and in recent years found themselves regularly connecting on cultural trends and Christianity.
“We would be texting just feverishly about the things that would come up in culture that would enrage us because they didn’t cohere with biblical truth,” Followwill-Johnson said.
Their initial podcast episodes overflowed from those conversations and continue to reflect their years of friendship and diversity in experiences, morphing from discussing hot topics and cultural trends from a biblical worldview to finding their voice and further becoming a theological resource for young women.
Terpstra, who has a long family history with Biola — her grandfather Richard Chase and great-grandfather Sam Sutherland both served as Biola presidents — had just started seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School when the opportunity to launch the podcast arose and immediately said yes to co-hosting.
“Our premise is to dig into what the Bible actually says about major topics being discussed in our nation, and equip believers to do their own Bible studies to really get to know the heart of Christ,” Terpstra said. “What started as a fun little adventure has turned into much more.”
On a recent episode, Terpstra shared her testimony and how she found God and historic Christianity again after years of stepping away from the church. She hopes the podcast will be a resource for women who may feel lost in their faith.
“My hope is to be that voice for young girls who are hurting or going through hard things that it seems like people around them don't understand,” Terpstra said. “And what I want is to point them to the Lord, especially people who have been hurt by the church. I want to work through the things young Christian women are wrestling with in Christian communities.”
Listen to It Matters with Esther and Elizabeth on Everyday Exiles or Apple Podcasts or follow them on Instagram at @itmatters podcast.