Episode 40 - Hip hop artist James Gardin on insecurity, overcoming rejection, and using parables

March 8, 2018

Noah Filipiak interviews James Gardin's about overcoming rejection and persevering in the music industry.  About what it's like to get a song on ESPN and how to handle the insecurities.  James explains what his message is as a Christian artist, and last but not least freestyles about Noah's hometown of Oconomowoc!

Connect with James on social media:

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

Shop James's music.

Illect Recording artist James Gardin has used his multifaceted skill set of empowering rhymes, fun melodies, energetic stage presence, and deft fashion sense to become the most successful emcee in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan. He has performed hundreds of shows around the world, amassed thousands of plays and downloads with coverage on top web sites and publications (2DopeBoyz, HipHopDX, Rapzilla , DJ Booth etc). He has also had songs featured on ESPN, GaryVee TV, and Black&SexyTV. He has also shared the booth and the stage with artists such as Grieves, Macklemore, Dessa, Murs, Talib Kweli, Astronautalis, KING, and many more. James aims to use his art and message to inspire all those around him to live their life fully, and encounter their purpose daily.


Episode 39 - Tyler St. Clair (the sequel) on real life church planting in Detroit + the Contend Conference

February 15, 2018

Two years ago, Pastor Tyler St. Clair was interviewed in Episode 17 of the Behind the Curtain Ministry Podcast, discussing what it was like to gear up for his urban church plant in Detroit and what it was like to do fundraising as a black pastor.  Today, Noah Filipiak catches back up with Pastor Tyler to see what actually planting and pastoring has been like after all the hype has died down.  The two church planters talk about life in the trenches of pastoral / church planting ministry and about how important it is to keep realistic and biblical expectations as a pastor.  Tyler also discusses the Contend Conference, coming up in Detroit on February 28th.

Tyler on Twitter

Tyler on Facebook

Tyler on Instagram

Tyler’s Blog


Episode 38 - Kent Carlson discusses shifting the church he founded from a seeker-driven megachurch to a church of spiritual formation

January 25, 2018

Noah Filipiak interviews Kent Carlson on what led him and his team to shift the seeker-driven megachurch he founded into a church of spiritual formation. A shift that led to around 1500 people leaving the church. Kent is the co-author of Renovation of the Church, a book that chronicles the journey of Oak Hills Church and its leadership. He was mentored by Dallas Willard and currently serves as Vice President of Leadership Formation for the North American Baptist denomination. 

Connect with Kent on Twitter



BONUS Episode - Noah Filipiak breaks down his new book “Beyond the Battle”

January 25, 2018

In this bonus episode of the "Behind the Curtain" Ministry Podcast, host Noah Filipiak takes time to break down the content of his new book Beyond the Battle.  In the first half of the episode, Noah talks about his personal testimony of overcoming a pornography addiction, how he was tempted to get a divorce, and how going beyond symptom-based solutions to sexual sin transformed him as a man.  In the second half of the episode, Noah talks about the toll his book publishing journey did on his soul, and why he chose to publish independently.

Purchase copies of Beyond the Battle here, including discounts on group orders.

Check out the free 6-week men's small group video curriculum here. 


Episode 37: Dr. Mike Wittmer on the effects Christian celebrityism is having on the Church at large

October 23, 2017

Noah Filipiak interviews Dr. Mike Wittmer on the effects Christian celebrityism is having on the Church at large.  Prior to the internet explosion, good content would get a book published. Nowadays, the only thing that will get someone published is popularity (called "platform" in the publishing industry). Noah and Mike explore the effects this trend has on the souls of authors (namely, themselves!) and on the type of theology being put into the hands of Christians.  

Dr. Michael Wittmer is the Professor of Systematic & Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

Connect with Mike on Twitter and Facebook

Mike's blog: MikeWittmer.blog 

Mike's books:


Episode 36: Dr. John Perkins on the need for multi-ethnic churches as a key solution to race relations

September 23, 2017

Noah Filipiak interviews his faith hero Dr. John Perkins, focusing in on Dr. Perkins' emphasis on the need for multi-ethnic churches in America as one of the top solutions to our race problems. 

Dr. Perkins is 87 years old and has been a leader in the racial reconciliation movement as a Christian for many years.  His autobiography Let Justice Roll Down is a must-read.  Among many other incredible stories, Perkins describes how he was tortured and beaten within an inch of his life in the Brandon, Mississippi jail by white police officers.  He was put in jail for a peaceful demonstration he was leading along with some youth.  He describes how if he hated the white officers back that were beating him, he would become just like them: full of hate. Instead his life became based on the redemption and reconciliation that Jesus shows us as his lead example in bringing justice and love to the racial injustices of our country. 

Dr. Perkins co-founded the Christian Community Development Association and is the President of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation. 

There are several opportunities to spend time with Dr. Perkins in Michigan coming up:

August 29-30, Pastor and Ministry Leader Retreat in East Lansing, MI www.coglretreat.org

August 30th, 7pm at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center, East Lansing, MI - public event

October 2nd, 7pm, book signing for Dr. Perkins' newest book Dream with Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI.

October 4th-7th, National Christian Community Development Association Conference in Detroit, MI www.ccda.org






Ep. 35: Rory Noland on leading worship, experiencing God, and spiritual transformation

July 29, 2017

Noah Filipiak interviews longtime worship leader Rory Noland about key ways worship music leaders need to care for their souls in order to keep their motives and priorities straight.  They talk about the importance of lyrics, the problem of celebrityism, and the impact the Transforming Center has had on them.

Rory Noland is the director of Heart of the Artist Ministries.  He leads retreats for artists, speaks at workshops and conferences, mentors worship leaders, and consults with churches in the areas of worship and the arts.  Rory currently leads worship for the Transforming Center and is Head of the Worship Department at Nebraska Christian College where he teaches courses in worship and spiritual formation for artists.

Rory previously served as the music director at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, for twenty years and most recently as Pastor of Worship for Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.


Connect with Rory on Twitter @rorynoland 

Rory's books (Zondervan) :


Ep. 34: David Staal on Personal Presence, Transforming Community, & Bringing Hope

March 9, 2017

Noah Filipiak interviews author and Kids Hope USA President & CEO David Staal on what it means to show up.  Showing up with personal presence is a rarity in our noise-filled world of busyness, social media, and getting the next thing on our to-do list accomplished.  David's recent book Show Up: Step Out Of Your Story And Into Someone Else's is an approachable collection of examples of what it means to be present in someone's life with genuine love in a way that transforms them, you, and society as a whole.

David currently serves as President & CEO of Kids Hope USA, a fast-growing national non-profit organization that partners local churches with local elementary schools. Kids Hope USA trains churches to provide mentors for at-risk students, and is America’s largest faith-based mentoring program, serving over 20,000 kids through a network of 40,000 volunteers across 34 states.

Noah and David also discuss how the Transforming Community they are in together has shaped them as Christian leaders, helped them avoid burnout, and allowed them to be present before God so they can be present before others.


Show Up: Step Out Of Your Story And Into Someone Else's by David Staal

Connect with David on social media:




Episode 33: Ravi Zacharias on Truth, Disagreement, Islam and Feb. 7th & 8th free events at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University

February 3, 2017

Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray are coming to Michigan this week for "Ask Anything" events, sponsored by Cru.  These events are free; you will want to attend and bring as many friends as you can.

Episode 33 of the "Behind the Curtain" Ministry Podcast features an interview by Noah Filipiak with Ravi Zacharias.  Ravi discusses the types of questions about faith and truth that people are asking in today's society, from pluralism to atheism to relativism to Islam and so much more.  Hearing Ravi's perspective will make you realize how much is at stake, not just for you and your friends as individuals, but for Western and global society altogether.  Following the interview with Dr. Zacharias, Noah sits down with Brian Langford, Cru's Campus Director at Michigan State University.  Noah and Brian discuss the faith climate on today's college campuses and why the "Ask Anything" event with Ravi and Abdu is something people will not want to miss.

The Feb. 7th UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (Ann Arbor) Event:


  Hill Auditorium
825 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

RZIM.org event page for Feb. 7th U of M event

Facebook event page for WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN? (University of Michigan, Feb. 7th event)

The Feb. 8th MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY (East Lansing) Event:



  Michigan State University - Breslin Center (basketball arena)
534 Birch Road
East Lansing, MI 48824

RZIM.org event page for Feb. 8th MSU event


RSVP and share the Facebook event page for ASK ANYTHING (Michigan State, Feb. 8th event)

Click here if you'd like to DONATE to MSU Cru to help make this event possible


Dr. Ravi Zacharias's Bio:

Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM.org), Dr. Zacharias has spoken all over the world for 44 years in scores of universities, notably Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge.

Dr. Zacharias has authored or edited well over twenty books including the Gold Medallion winner Can Man Live Without GodHas Christianity Failed You?, Why Jesus?, Jesus Among Other Gods, and Beyond Opinion. His latest books are Jesus Among Secular Gods  and Why Suffering?, both coauthored with Vince Vitale

Ravi has appeared on CNN, Fox, and other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, “Let My People Think,” airs on 2337 outlets worldwide.  RZIM is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Romania, Turkey, Austria, Spain, and South Africa. Dr. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.



Social Media:

Follow Ravi on Facebook

Follow Ravi Zacharias on Twitter



Ep. 32: Authors Sarah Arthur & Erin Wasinger on their year of living out radical faith in ordinary contexts, Pinterest Fails & the American Dream

February 2, 2017

Radical Christianity and New Monasticism are exciting movements of the faith.  But can they be applied to "ordinary" contexts like the suburbs, child-rearing and hectic schedules?  Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger seek to find out as they spend a year doing one intentional practice each month.  What they find out is refreshing and freeing for those who seek to serve Christ's Kingdom in deeper ways but wonder if they have room to do it.

Buy the book: The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us (Forward by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Brazos Press)


The Small Things Podcast with Sarah Arthur & Erin Wasinger

Follow Erin on Twitter

Follow Sarah on Twitter



Listen to Noah's March 31st, 2016 interview with Sarah on spiritually healthy ways of measuring success here (Episode 19)