The Finish Line Pledge

Dr. Kealan and Cody Hobelmann

About The Episode

In this episode of Essentially Translatable, dive into the concept of setting a financial finish line to start a journey of mission-minded generosity. Brothers Kealan and Cody Hobelmann, one a surgeon and the other a financial advisor, are founders of the Finish Line ministry and hosts of the Finish Line Podcast. During this episode they share their experience of life defined by generosity.

Kealan shares a story of extreme prayer during a time of financial insecurity. By the grace of God Kealan made it through medical school without accumulating any debt. Since then, Kealan and his family have lived life defined by a financial finish line, one that focuses on setting a finish line on their annual spending, and then giving the rest away to other causes. Cody, seeing the impact this decision had on his brother, decided to also make a finish line pledge. Through his gift of generosity, Cody has found inspiration in the many organizations that are advancing access to the Gospel through Bible translation.

This episode explores the possibilities of setting a financial finish line to achieve contentment and redirecting your focus towards God’s mission. Learn about the practical impacts of living within this financial boundary, such as how to create a Finish Line Pledge, and how to research what options are available to donate to. Kealan and Cody’s story is a compelling testimony on the impact of a generous life, being rooted in faith, and focusing on personal fulfillment by being involved in a broader community.

Kealan: [00:00:00] That’s a pretty significant life step to get to the point where you can say I have enough. There’s an answer to that question. How much is enough? And I’m ready to unleash everything else or whatever God’s gonna use it for. Our goal is to get to launching people into pretty profound journeys and generosity.

Rich: All right, welcome back to another episode of Essentially Translatable brought to you by Lutheran Bible Translators I am Rich Rudowske your host and just want to remind you before we jump into today’s content to Like or subscribe to the Essentially Translatable podcast on whatever Platform you are listening on we are on all the platforms Spotify.

I heart radio Apple podcast YouTube music and also on Lutheran Bible Translators, YouTube channel. You can look up Lutheran Bible Translators on YouTube, or you can go to our fantastic new website, [00:01:00] lbt. org, scroll down to the bottom of that home page, but make sure you look around at the environment before you scroll down.

Cause it’s gorgeous, but you can find that YouTube logo, click on there, subscribe to all our video and podcast content there. I’m going to be talking today with Kealan and Cody Hobelman, two brothers. One is a Financial advisor, the other, a surgeon, but what we’re talking about is generosity and exploring their generosity journey.

And they are the founders of a ministry called the finish line financial finish line and they have a podcast called the finish line podcast That I got to be on a couple months ago and they have returned the favor In addition, they’ve been a part of the Lutheran Bible Translators community. They presented to some of our donor communities in Washington dc and in california as well, and it’s a real privilege to do live together with these guys So with no further ado We’ll listen in to my conversation with Kealan and Cody Hobelman.[00:02:00]

We are here today with Kealan and Cody Hobelman from the Finish Line podcast. Great to be with you guys today.

Kealan: Thanks for having us. Yeah. Honored to be here.

Rich: All right. So we’re going to get started talking a little bit about your background, your backstories, and how you arrived at the Finish Line concept.

And you both have different paths there. So walk us through that. Who wants to go first on that?

Kealan: Yeah, sure. I can start. So I’m. In medicine, uh, come from a medical background. It wasn’t always that way though. I started out on an engineering path. So I had one year between college and med school. And during that time, God really started to stretch my wife and I in simultaneously both generosity and global missions really started to pull our hearts into both of those areas.

And we, for the first time, really started to feel like we were a part of a bigger story going on. And then a year later, I started med school. Stopped [00:03:00] working, lost my income, and started to take on some huge tuition payments. So, we had to figure out what we were going to do at that point, and we started praying a crazy prayer, one of the craziest prayers I think we’ve prayed consistently in our lives, which was that, God would get us through med school without any loans.

Uh, and we had no idea how that was going to happen. We had enough saved for almost one semester of med school and the rest was a mystery. But our goal was to be able to get back to giving at the level that we had and to being a part of global missions. And, uh, we didn’t want hundreds of thousands of dollars in med school loans to be holding us back from that as soon as we got out of med school.

So we started praying that prayer. And sure enough, by the end of that first semester, we had just enough for the next semester. And then the third and then the fourth and [00:04:00] on and on until we got to the end of med school and realized we were making our final tuition payment. And I could probably still another hour with just the stories of how God actually provided for us in those times.

Crazy stuff would happen. Our, our car was hit by a U Haul and considered totaled. And we just left the scratches, replaced one tire and got a check for the value of our, of our car, uh, it was stuff like that that would happen all the time. And so we’re on the other end of med school or coming up to, uh, the end of med school and we’re looking ahead towards residency and, uh, later on private practice in medicine and knew that I would, we together would have, uh, some significant, uh, Income jumps first in residency.

I no longer have tuition, have a modest income. And then by the end of residency, five years later, be a noticeable jump into private practice. And so [00:05:00] we wanted to try to navigate that process. Well, and we started asking a question, which has become pretty pivotal in our lives, which is. How much do we really need and not looking so much how much do we have, but what of whatever God provides, do we actually need to support ourselves, support our family?

And that’s really where the first kind of idea of a, of a financial finish line came. We didn’t know it by that name at that point, but we started experimenting. We’re pulling from different kinds of resources and. Different kind of references to try to answer that question for ourself. How much should a small family in Philadelphia at the time need to live on and everything we tried didn’t quite answer the question we were asking.

And eventually we came to a pretty simple formula that was perfect for us. And that has been basically our monthly spending budget ever since then, what we now call our financial [00:06:00] finish line. And, and that’s really what launched. a whole interesting adventure that’s ensued after that.

Rich: It’s really amazing.

The faithfulness of God in providing and really just asking the question, what do I really need is, yeah, I don’t think it’s a question a lot of us ask. I know that, well, be honest, before I met you guys, it’s not a framework I had to think about things either. So I love that story, especially the faithfulness during med school and then arriving at like, okay, so we’re at a different place now and how does this work?

So then Cody, how does this interface with your life here?

Cody: Yeah, so I’ve been able to categorize three different phases within my own life. And in the first phase, I can really see that I was driven by greed, ambition. I really wanted to build my own kingdom. I wanted to make a lot of money. I wanted to own a lot of toys.

I wanted to own a lot of properties and just live the biggest life that I could. And that was, [00:07:00] uh, for a large portion of my life, what I was, uh, And so a lot of my decisions flowed out of that mentality from what I chose to major in in college to how I determined my own self worth and confidence and how I compared myself to others was all rooted in that mindset.

And I’m glad that God got my attention, which really kicked off that second phase, which was basically. At the church that I was going to at the time, this was just after college, there was an invitation after a series on money to begin tithing. And I think this was back in 2016 or 2017. And I decided to go ahead and start tithing reluctantly.

I tried to reason my way out of it and find a loophole, but I decided to start tithing and [00:08:00] Kriti immediately gave me a new perspective on money and introduced me to To giving, even though it was out of obligation, that just opened up my eyes to a new use for money that I was not well practiced in, and had largely avoided up until that point in my life.

So, during that period, I started to discover that, There, there can be a deeper purpose behind money, and I can contribute to something that’s going on in this church that I was really, really getting so much from, I was able to contribute to and help other people get that same benefit. So I was in that phase for several years where I wanted to make more money because that meant.

That when I gave my 10 percent that the church benefited more, and it was like this, I’ve heard it called a profit sharing plan with God. I make more, you make more, everybody wins. Right. And meanwhile, I’m watching Kealan kind of experience some of these stories that he just shared. And, [00:09:00] and I was worried that he was going to talk to me about it, but eventually he did.

He said, Hey, I got to talk to you. I said, Oh, no, here it comes. So. He just shared what he was doing with the finish line, although we didn’t have words for it. We didn’t have, we didn’t realize that this was an established concept that people have been doing for hundreds of years, if not longer. So after that conversation and many more conversations afterwards, he finally said, well, why don’t you and Steph just try setting a finish line for yourself?

Just try it for 90 days. And see what you learn. And I said, okay, that doesn’t seem too risky. I think I can manage that. So I talked to my wife, Stephanie, and we decided to set our own financial finish line. And what we realized is that before we set that finish line, we did have this sense of purpose, but we still didn’t have contentment or peace.

We were [00:10:00] still striving for more. We were still comparing ourselves to the Joneses and trying to keep up. And there was no, there was no finish line. It’s, it’s an appropriately named a tool, but as a result of setting that finish line, that contentment came almost immediate. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that just that knowledge that there is an end to this driving somewhere in sight.

It changed everything for us pretty much immediately. So the, the excitement around the idea that this idea could be. relevant for others is what really started to kick things off and, and that’s where this whole story started to really develop past an idea that Kealan and his wife had implemented years ago.

It started to take on more of a communal aspect at this point.

Rich: That’s really cool. I never even thought about the concept of the finish line being part of what makes this work so well. There’s the, [00:11:00] the idea, the call for increased generosity and maybe even to think about percentage and or even a greater percentage.

I can remember a key figure in my life at one point talking about how he changed from giving 10 percent. to more like, would I really have to make 100, 000 to be able to give God 10, 000 was his thing. But I, I never thought about it in terms of the, the other side of when do you have enough, and you can put a finish line on that and the contentment that could bring.

So that, and that’s really then at the heart of your ministry and the, the generosity component of it. Then let’s talk about the opportunity available. What has setting a financial finish line allowed you guys to do and get passionate with your generosity?

Kealan: Yeah. So I think the easiest way to summarize that change has been focus.

So without. Some kind of a finish line, there’s just an infinite treadmill of growth and prospering and [00:12:00] success or, or whatever that entails. Or maybe it’s more of a rollercoaster than just a vertical line upwards. But until there is no end, it’s kind of like you’re just, uh, endlessly trying for something you’re so focused down into the day to day.

You don’t always have the chance to zoom out and see what are you actually even running towards. And if you don’t know what you’re running towards, then you definitely don’t know when you get there. And so, one of the things that we like to say is nobody stumbles into enough. Right. You never suddenly wake up one day and like, I have enough.

You have to really go through the process of defining what enough is. And that’s what God brought my wife and I through towards the end of med school, looking into residency and same for Cody later on in his life. And so with that focus. The whole story and the framework of what we try to orient our decisions and our direction around [00:13:00] changed dramatically.

There’s no more steps and phases to get through once we were at our finish line, we had what we needed. So our focus became much more on how do we fit into God’s story with whatever resources he gives us. How do we to the best of our ability steward those resources well and use them in the most effective way possible to glorify him and to amplify his kingdom and that that’s honestly where I feel like the real race began.

I feel like everything before that was just like the. Prelude to the actual story that’s going on. And by hitting that finish line, we could put our story aside, say, we, we’ve, we’ve got what we need and focus on the much more interesting story at hand. And that’s, that’s where we are now.

Cody: Yeah. I would add just a couple of things to that.

I think setting a financial finish line has given me a proven methodology or a process [00:14:00] that I can share with other people. And as a financial planner, I love to do that. I love to help people be more efficient. I love to help people invest better. These are things that I’m trained in my. Regular role to actually do for people.

And so this was a totally different dimension of, of using money. And Iran blue says you can’t take someone where you haven’t been before. And that’s what I experienced through actually doing it. Yeah. I don’t think I would have recommended it to someone without. Trying it myself and secondly, it gave me an opportunity to actually protect myself from my own selfish, greedy nature and by actually saying, okay, this money is all gods and I’m going to use a defined amount of it.

And I’m going to do that without feeling guilty about it. And then I’m also [00:15:00] going to have space margin capacity to invest in God’s kingdom, however, he calls me to do that. That’s been what keeps it going. So there was a lot of conversation that got me to the point where, okay, I’ll give this a try, but the, the joy that’s created, the community that’s created, that just watching God at work.

Once you actually let go and then you see Even sometimes the, the harvest that happens after that money is invested in the kingdom and God gets to water that seed and to harvest, that is what keeps me going. With the finish line and actually advocating for this as a tool that other people can use.

Rich: It’s awesome.

I didn’t really put this in the questions. And so I’m not sure the appropriate answers even are a way to ask the question. So feel free to not disclose more than you wish. But what kinds of things do you consider as you are thinking through what comprises a finish line? [00:16:00]

Kealan: Yeah. So this is a lot of what my wife and I were trying to answer in those early days.

And we tried. Incorporating all kinds of different things. We were looking at what are the typical expenses, like what’s the grocery budget and gas or whatever for a typical family. And it was getting very complicated and there’s so many nuances that you could pick apart and stuff. What we ended up using to structure our finish line is really two factors.

One is. We just looked at the plain vanilla household income data from the U. S. census and without getting too technical, we pulled in all kinds of different versions of this zip code or a city or a county or state and every single one of them is going to give you different information. We were in Philadelphia, so you look at Philadelphia is up, our zip code was down, then Pennsylvania is up.

Down and then the U S is up again and it’s like all over the place. So you [00:17:00] can make it all kinds of different ways. The other significant factor, and we walked through this since launching our finish line is family size. So when we started, we had one. Daughter, we now have four and that has expanded just our day to day needs.

A lot of people will call a spending finish line like we’re talking about. Also a lifestyle finish line interchangeably. And I think that’s a good way to think about it because our goal is to keep essentially the same lifestyle through, through all the phases of life that we’re going to walk through.

And so as. Our family continues on, there’s little details that change and stuff. We, for example, every year with inflation, we adjust, uh, our finish line a little bit to account for that. So that we tried to basically trying to keep the same lifestyle without expanding our lifestyle as increases and that [00:18:00] sort of thing.

That’s, I think the, the heart behind it. And many people have done that many different ways. This is just how it’s worked for our family.

Rich: That’s cool. So what are some of the things that you’ve been able to then do with the income you have to be generous with? Tell us about some of the things you’ve invested in the ministries that you’ve been able to be passionate about.

Cody: Yeah, this is, this is a journey I can share. It still feels like a newer thing for me. It’s, it’s only been a few years since setting a finish line. But one of the first things that I wanted to do that I prioritized was getting my wife involved. I didn’t want this to be like one person manages the finances and the other person gets the report.

Like that was not It’s going to work in this context. So the first step was really understanding how each of us like to interact with giving. And also, what are the passions that God has put on our heart already? And then later on learning more about what does God communicate through scripture? [00:19:00] should be important to Christians.

So it could go a lot of different directions, but one of the first things I did was, together with my wife, do a little bit of spontaneous giving, because we had space to do it. So it was just cash to people that might have been strangers, that might have been people that we knew were in need of help, or just, you know, Someone that we wanted to make their day and that got us into that, that full experience of, of the joy of giving.

And I think that was a really important step for us to start out in because we’re both very extroverted, very relationally driven, and we wanted to see the joy on other people’s faces and the surprise and, and to do that as a team sport. But, um, As we’ve learned more, hear this all the time, that it’s not just about the giving, that’s not the, the completion, that is a transactional view of it, but where you give really does matter, and an organization that you support or an individual that you are giving [00:20:00] toward, that is giving toward.

It gives you an opportunity to build relationships, and that has been the most fun part of this whole journey is building relationships with people around the concept of giving and through giving. So, one of the things that has become a big area of focus for me, largely as a result of. Becoming part of this generosity community has been Bible translation.

So, Kaelin and I got an opportunity where, Rich, you and I met at Illuminations last year. And our wives got to come with us, and that was such an amazing opportunity to see up close the incredible work that we could never do on our own, even if we had all the money. It, it was just a little, a little peek into this, this incredible landscape of ministry work across the world that, that God is clearly commanded us to, to go and be part of [00:21:00] this work and generosity gave us an opportunity to participate in our own way with what we already had.

And so that has just become such an incredible joy creating opportunity for us personally.

Rich: That’s great. And for everybody who’s listening, there’s an opportunity to tangibly get involved in thinking through a finish line. Y’all have a ministry, a website that deals with the finish line pledge. Let’s talk a little bit about the finish line pledge and how folks can get connected, how it works.

Some of the folks that have been involved in their stories and impacts, how many folks are involved in that?

Kealan: Sure. Yeah. So after we had both set finish lines and had seen such Uh, dramatic changes in our own lives and families. We started to experiment with how do we help others walk through this similar kind of process that we’ve been through.

That’s where the finish line pledge was born right now. What that looks like is we have a ton of information on our website, [00:22:00] finish line pledge. com all about finish lines as well as about greater generosity as a whole. Lots of strategies of how to enter into generosity, but one of, I think the most helpful things that we have as far as a finish line is something called our 90 day pledge.

And it actually mirrors Cody’s story a lot, especially when somebody is hearing about the idea of a finish line for the first time, that’s a big deal to make that kind of a jump. And especially if you have a spouse and family involved and a lot to consider that can be a major holdup for people and at a minimum, really delay making that kind of a decision.

And, but in many cases, even just put it off indefinitely. And so, and that was even a little bit of, of some moments. Cody’s experience early on, but actually giving it a defined trial period, essentially of 90 days after 90 days, then go back to whatever you’re doing that we have found to be much more [00:23:00] helpful in helping people actually get to experience the kind of stuff that we’re talking about.

And it was like a risk free trial because the worst case is you don’t like any of it and go right back to what you were doing. So I think when. You have the idea that you need to make a decision that’s set for the rest of your life. It’s often too big of a jump. But what we find is that people who go through this 90 day pledge often decide to stick with it and, and that’s easy to do at that point because you’ve already figured out all the kind of structure.

And there’s always questions and stuff that come up along the way. Even now, years in, we still have questions that we wrestle with here and there about how should I handle this situation or how should I approach this? And then. We also have a podcast, the finish line podcast that parallels our ministry a lot.

And I know we’ve had you guys on to share about LBT and had a fantastic conversation [00:24:00] there. And we highlight the stories of generous givers. Many people who have finished lines, many people who don’t and have just experienced other tangible stories and dynamics of generosity. And to be able to share and grow from.

Other people’s experience and also to get a huge view into the missions world ministry and in what God is doing all around the world, which has honestly been even more eye opening than the generosity side of things. So, yeah, a lot, a lot of different resources and stuff available, but it’s, it’s been a lot of fun along the way.

Rich: So when folks go to finishlinepledge. com, do they interact with you at some point, if they have questions or do they, there’s a bunch of tools there for them? Or what are folks going to find when they go there?

Kealan: Yeah. So there’s a couple good resources right off the bat that people can check out. First of all.

Our actual 90 day pledge you can find right on our website. [00:25:00] That is a process. Usually we’ll have people meet with one of our finish line guides, which we’ll talk them through some considerations and their own experience and circumstances to help through the process of. Setting a finish line and then what that 90 days will look like.

And then we follow up pretty frequently during that 90 days with information, things to consider, things to think about that may come up down the line, ways to think about giving. And for a little bit more context, our 90 day pledges is broken into three steps. So first is setting a finish line, which is obvious for a step.

Second, we have people. Either create a separate bank account or somehow find a way to set money aside. And then third, they’re going to live on the finish line budget that they set for 90 days, three months. And whatever else God provides above and beyond that amount is going to be set aside in that other bank [00:26:00] account or some other way of separating it.

And during the 90 days, you don’t need to worry about giving or anything like that. Just focus on learning to. Be content with this finish line that you’ve set for 90 days and then after 90 days is when the real fun begins because then you get to look at whatever God has provided that surplus and margin and start to figure out where he would have you use that.

And then at the end of those 90 days you can decide if you want to continue or just have enjoyed the experience for that time. We also have a finish line calculator. So that actually. Automates a lot of the kind of process that I was talking about earlier about census data. We actually just updated it with the 2023 census data in there.

So you can look at how your current spending budget compares to a family of five from around the country and things like that. So that’s right on there. And then the podcast, uh, like I mentioned, is easy to find as well. That’s just lots of [00:27:00] stories of, of other givers.

Rich: Yeah, so talk about how the podcast got started there.

You just launched that with the website or thought you’d started having some stories and wanted to get them out there and talk to us a little bit about the podcast.

Cody: Yeah, so the website came first, that was, uh, Kealan just set it up and then told me about it and I thought this is cool, we can share this with people, so we did that, we shared that with dozens and dozens of people and got a lot of encouragement and a little bit of feedback and we’re trying to figure out how do we actually invite people into this, and so next came what we call our Sprint program, Which has taken a couple different iterations, but that’s also on our website.

The Sprint program was Basically, a small group curriculum, and we wanted to give people some biblical foundation for generosity, and then also some practical tools to actually be able to set their own finish line [00:28:00] by the end of this program. And so we took several groups through and that’s still available on our website.

We’ve actually broken it up and added some more to it so that people can use it in a variety of different ways. But as a result of doing some of these groups, we started getting some really good questions, but it was already eight weeks and we didn’t want to make it just a 20 week program. So we started the podcast initially to address some of these questions, like how do I set a finish line if I’m already retired?

Or how do I think about buying a house? Let’s say I’m moving for work and I have to buy a house in a more expensive area. How does that fit into a finish line framework? And what about debt? What if I have a bunch of debt, but I want to set a finish line? How do you think through that? So we started sharing our thoughts and.

Actually realized there was an opportunity through the podcast medium to get more perspectives because there’s only so much perspective you can get from two guys who grew up in the same house. So we started doing interviews and [00:29:00] that is where a lot of this communal aspect got unlocked and we realized we can actually learn ourselves.

through people like you, but also be helping people make connections, even if we’re not directly involved in that. So, the podcast has been going on for, I think we’re coming up on four years. And it’s been super, super fun and a huge blessing to us personally.

Kealan: I was going to add to what Cody is saying, and just say that the podcast started around the idea of generosity and giving, and a lot of our interviews are around those topics.

But I think what has really helped us to grow and challenged us the most is actually hearing from many, many ministries who are on the ground, seeing God work every day. And we have, I remember talking to Cody at one point. Early, [00:30:00] early on saying there’s gotta be like a room somewhere where all these people are meeting and just know what the big picture of like what God’s doing and how he’s moving across the world.

And, and I feel like we’ve gotten A, a glimpse into that metaphorical room and just hearing from people with such amazing perspectives of seeing God work around the world in Bible translation, in church planting, in evangelism, discipleship, and poverty alleviation. Like we’re hearing from some of the top experts in the world on these things.

And that has completely reframed, not just how I think, but really like what I’m excited about. Getting up each morning, like what I want to do, where I want to be moving and has given our family direction and we just keep learning more and more of new layers of, of what God is doing. And really, I guess to summarize that we are in one of the [00:31:00] most incredible periods of history, probably since Jesus was here, because there is.

An unprecedented level of collaboration going on among ministries, massive collaboration in the Bible translation world, as you guys are well aware, but also in the church planting world and in evangelism, there are all kinds of for profit businesses and companies that are starting to redirect. Like enormous portions of profits to channeling this work on we are on edge or even kind of stepping into the greatest wealth transfer in all of history as the boomer generation starts to pass on a lot, you know, Millennials and Gen Z and with that comes enormous opportunities to See wealth and resources transferred into the kingdom in just amplifying and ramping up Uh, what God’s doing around the [00:32:00] world.

So that’s what gets me excited about the podcast is just seeing all these different pieces, both an incredible generosity movement. That’s really been going on for the last 20 years or so through some of these early kind of founding fathers of the generosity, along with some amazing momentum going on in the missions world and in Bible translation and, and just seeing all that come together.

Rich: Awesome. So this is amazing. How many folks have been involved in this ministry, then trying out the finish line pledge or different aspects of it, or jumping on the podcast, give us some idea of the scope of, of where God’s taken this idea and run with it here.

Kealan: So I think of the whole process as a successive funnel, right?

And we’re catching people through all kinds of different. Phases of the generosity journey. So on a big picture scale, I’d say that’s where our podcast is at, right? Very broad and [00:33:00] wide coverage. We’re somewhere between 30 downloads. We’re coming up on a hundred episodes at this point. So there’s pretty broad reach across a wide range of, of generosity and people from all kinds of different stages.

People have been walking with this through 20, 30 years and people who are brand new to the idea of. Giving at all. And then as you move down, the funnel gets narrow and narrower as really, we’re trying to shepherd people through thinking through new dimensions and levels of generosity to our 90 day pledge program, which is actually pretty new over really like the last three or four months, I’d say is where 90 day pledge.

Before that, we’ve always had. Our finish line pledge, but it was more of kind of a lifestyle thing. And it’s, it’s hard to quantify how many people, cause we didn’t have a specific program people were coming through. Um, people could just be doing their own [00:34:00] thing and just using us as a resource. So it’s hard to say exactly, but now that we actually have this 90 day pledge program, I think we’re getting a better idea and.

There’s actually a decent amount of interest. We were hearing from people every week at this point, I think, who are interested in setting a finish line. And I’d say that’s, that’s a pretty significant life step to get to the point where you can say, I have enough. There’s an answer to that question. How much is enough?

And I’m ready to unleash everything else for whatever God’s going to, you know, Use it for and so our goal is to get to the bottom of this funnel where we’re launching people into pretty profound journeys and generosity, but that’s always going to be the smaller end of the funnel. And so we try to interact with every stage along the way.

Cody: Yeah, I would add just some of my favorite stories. I spend a lot of my time when I’m focused on finish line connecting with people and talking with people. And I think the connections that are [00:35:00] made that we aren’t even involved in have been some of my favorite stories. So it could be someone we interviewed on the podcast and somebody else.

Who has never heard of them, maybe, or only knew of them from a distance, might connect with that person and say, Hey, I heard you share something and I connected with that. And I wanted to talk to you more about that. We got to hear from a ministry leader who got to share about their organization and how generosity plays a part in this whole movement of the Great Commission.

It’s an opportunity for everyone to be involved in a small way, but maybe, maybe a year or more later. that same ministry leader reconnected with us and said, Hey, did you know so and so? And we said, no, should we know who that is? And we thought he was going to say something else entirely. And he said, well, they actually just connected with us and wanted to like really engage with our ministry in a meaningful way.

And we, like, it [00:36:00] was like a light bulb went off. We just never had considered that God was doing these things behind the scenes. All we were focused on was, let’s figure out how to. Get people to share stories and interact with content and produce more episodes. And we were in our lane and oblivious to some of the incredible connections that God had been making all along.

So that was a really cool revelation.

Rich: I love that. I think that’s

Kealan: actually, in the generosity movement, I think that there’s a lot of hesitation. Yeah. Guiding people more directly where they can give because you don’t want to pressure people. You want them to just explore generosity in a very low pressure zone, which is good.

And I think there’s a very important place for that. But I think what we’ve found is one of the ways God is using this ministry is that we are connecting the generosity community with The stuff that God’s doing all around the [00:37:00] world. And we’ve now heard many stories like the one that Cody’s sharing.

Well, we frequently hear from ministries saying, Hey, just so you know, like we heard from this, this person or that person who heard the podcast and they’re now they’re sharing like significant gifts and stuff like that. So it’s been cool to see those connections being made. And, and I hope that there’s a lot more of that in, in the future.

In the other areas too, in other podcasts and ministries and stuff that there’s a lot of kind of cross collaboration between Encouraging generosity and directing and providing some insight on where people can give. It’s probably the most common question we get is, where do I give? Like, I want to be generous and I just don’t know where to start is I only know of the three ministries that that I’ve heard of.

So. Yeah. And there’s so much out there.

Rich: That’s really great connection and yeah, just sharing the opportunity to learn, to be generous, but also then to say, [00:38:00] man, here’s some great stuff going on in the world. And I think that’s awesome. I think it’s great to celebrate all the different ways that God’s people are engaging to, to make the world a better place, to point people to Jesus, all the different expressions of that.

And to celebrate that is a really great thing. How can we be praying for you guys and your ministry, your families and yeah, anything else that you’d like prayer for? Yeah.

Kealan: Yeah, I’ll say on a personal level, I, I feel like God has really been teaching me and probably many people that he’s not so concerned with what we produce as much as he’s interested in knowing us personally.

And so just that in whatever we do or in journeys and generosity or whatever that we would be growing in relationship with God, that that all of that would go to strengthen that relationship. And then on a ministry level, I’d say, uh, that we continue to help to [00:39:00] amplify the journeys of God. The many givers out there who are actively growing and, and that we would be able to continue to connect people to other givers and that they can all learn from each other.

And that would strengthen into a deeper heart for generosity, more powerful strategies and ways to implement generosity and a stronger connection into the great commission and the ultimate calling that Jesus left us with.

Cody: Yeah, for me, both personally and for finish line, it’s capacity and relationships.

So capacity, God’s doing some of that on his own. Like I can tell you as things pick up, like my Netflix usage goes way down. Like there’s a natural reprioritization that I think is healthy as God draws. I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well. It’s just when you have important things that require your attention and your time, you make time for it and you give those things your attention and the other stuff can [00:40:00] go.

If it’s not important and it’s not valuable and it’s not honoring God, get that stuff out of here first. So that’s always at the front of my mind, but also through partnerships, through more people saying, Hey, I want to be involved in some way that frees up more capacity as well. So that is always, uh, I’m learning a lot about how people’s preferences around work, actually, when you get someone in the right.

role, they can really thrive there, even if it’s not something that you would necessarily want to do. So just getting the right people in the right seats has been a really good lesson for me. And that requires people and you can always come up with more seats, but you need the right people. So that’s a piece of it.

But also I just want to see money’s a hard topic. And I think generosity gives us such a look into a better conversation around money. So I’m a big [00:41:00] fan of, of like the journey of generosity that generous giving does because it provides a safe environment for people to get vulnerable around money, which is something that I’m used to as a financial advisor, but I can sometimes lose sight of how rare that can be outside of, of the industry.

So, to, to provide avenues for these conversations to happen in a healthy way of how can we work together? How can we collaborate towards using the resources that God has granted all of us? If we’re sitting here recording a podcast, he’s given us everything we needed more, right? So how can we work together as the church?

to pursue the expansion, the growth of the kingdom. And I was got to invite us into that by providing us with resources and sometimes an overabundance of resources. So I guess it’s a long winded way of saying capacity and relationships are [00:42:00] my prayer requests at this season.

Rich: Absolutely. It’s awesome. Hey, it’s great to spend time with you guys today.

We’ve been talking with Kealan and Cody Holman from finish line pledge and finish line podcast. Thanks so much for Transcribed Following the Lord’s leading on this and having the generosity to share it with others as well. This is, this is really amazing.

Kealan: Yeah. Thanks for having us. This is awesome. And I appreciate all that you guys are doing at LBT.

You guys are right there in the thick of it, and it has been a privilege to work beside you guys and labor together.

Cody: Yeah, this been a lot of fun, and it’s been great getting to know you over the last year or so now, and I just want to encourage you as well in just the couple events that we’ve gotten to attend.

It’s just so incredible to see such a focus and such a passion for getting the Word of God to people who may not otherwise. Have the opportunity to interact with it and that’s something that can so easily be taken for granted And i’m glad that you [00:43:00] don’t and i’m glad that you are fighting for that Until the job is done.

So just keep going. I just appreciate your whole organization

Rich: As I said, it’s a real privilege to just listen to these guys story and see how they’ve wrestled with the concept of generosity the concept of satisfaction and recognizing That the Lord is the giver of all gifts and at a certain point He has given us what we need to survive and given us the opportunity to to be generous and I find their their Concept challenging still leaning into that and figuring it all out myself But really captivated by the idea and and working through some of those concepts and principles And invite you to do the same you can find out more about the finish line pledge If And they’re programmed there at the website, finishlinepledge.

com. And again, Kealan and Cody have a [00:44:00] podcast that drops every other week, I believe. At Finish Line podcast finish line podcast is on all the platforms I really want to thank you for listening to Essentially Translatable. Look forward to talking to you soon. God bless Thank you for listening to the Essentially Translatable podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible Translators You can find past episodes of the podcast at lbt. org/ Podcast or subscribe on audible apple podcast spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts Follow Lutheran Bible Translators social media channels on facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or go to to find out how you can get involved in the Bible translation movement and put God’s word in their hands.

The Essentially Translatable podcast is edited and produced by Audrey Seider, artwork designed by Sarah Rudowske. Music written and performed by Rob Veith. I’m Rich Rudowske. So long for [00:45:00] now.


  • Dr. Kealan and Cody Hobelmann are founders of the Finish Line ministry and host the Finish Line Pledge podcast.
  • Hear testimonies about the transformative effect of setting goals of generosity.
  • Learn more about starting your own Finish Line pledge here

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