Episode 173: Heather Zempel



I am happy to welcome my friend, Heather Zempel, to the table today. She is a pastor, author, speaker, wife and mom. She was formerly a biological engineer and a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate before becoming a pastor. She now serves as the Discipleship Pastor and Ministries Director at National Community Church in Washington, DC. She recently published a book called Big Change, Small Groups which is all about creating community.

There is so much goodness packed into this conversation. Not only do we cover random stories about vultures, but we also talk about some really important ways to connect with others. Finding community in a city is hard enough, but have you ever imagined what it must be like to find community in a city where everyone is defined by which political aisle you belong to? So we talk about what its like to build community with people that you disagree with, advice on creating a safe place for community to cultivate, how her community showed up for her when she walked through a difficult and vulnerable season and she shares a lot of advice on how to handle conflict in relationships. 

Heather Zempel.png


Links mentioned:

Survival Kit:

  • Coffee

  • Gratitude Journal (Sarah’s friend & former guest, Kelsey Chapman, created a wonderful gratitude journal)

  • Baseball season

  • Adventure Checklist


  • There is value in being in community with people who are different than you.

  • “When there’s a name and a face and a story, these things move from policies, positions and parties to people.”

  • “Conflict has the potential to turn us into better people. Understanding is the goal—not agreeing.”

  • Show up for each other in unpredictable ways.

Discussion Questions:

  • Heather mentioned three things that are great to talk about when in community with each other. Share a hero, a highlight and a hardship from this week.

  • What helps you cultivate community?

  • How do you handle conflict? 

  • What did you learn growing up about how to handle conflict?

  • How can your differences make your relationship better?

  • Based on this episode, what did you hear that would be helpful to apply to conflict in your relationships?

  • How can you reframe conflict to see that it will benefit your relationships rather than end them?

  • What can you help you reach the goal of understanding—not agreeing?

  • Go around the circle and talk about the value that each woman brings to the group.

(Amazon affiliate links used when possible--purchasing through these links is an easy way to support the show. Or shop using www.SurvivingSarah.com/amazon and a portion of the what you buy will go back to the show.)

Connect with Heather:  Instagram // twitter // Facebook // Book Website

What did you enjoy about this episode? What was your takeaway. Let's continue the conversation on Instagram or Twitter.

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