Pastor & Author

Kurt Willems

Kurt Willems is a pastor, church planter, and writer. He is also the host of the Theology Curator podcast. He has a master of divinity degree from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and a master of arts in comparative religion from the University of Washington. He and his wife, Lauren, have two daughters and reside in Seattle, Washington.


None of us live free of difficulties or hardships. But how can we learn to live richly in the midst of them? And ever grow spiritually because of them? The answer is found in the hopeful humanity of Jesus.

Echoing Hope reveals how understanding the humanity of Jesus can radically transform our identity and empower us to step into our pain-filled world in a new way. Combining rich theological insight with personal stories and practices for response, learn how we can overcome despair and encounter the beautiful potential of our lives.

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What Others Are Saying

Kurt Willems's book provides an approachable framework for understanding and carrying pain in light of Jesus Christ. I loved the practical invitation to apply and practice his insights in our own lives through helpful formation exercises. Echoing Hope gives us something to hold on to in the midst of suffering.
Sarah Bessey (Author & Speaker)
Kurt translates my deepest emotions, pains, confusion, doubts, fears, hopes, and joys in a way that makes all of us feel less alone. ... We are all better for not just reading but meditating on this terrifically genuine and relatable book.
Ben Higgins (Star of ABC's The Bachelor & Author)
Now more than ever we need, Echoing Hope. We need enthusiastic reminders of Jesus’ humanity and his acquaintance with our vulnerabilities.
Osheta Moore (Author & Pastor)
This book is all about Jesus. It is the gospel according to Kurt Willems. Echoing Hope captures the paradox of the life of Jesus — we have a God who suffers so that suffering doesn’t get the final word. Jesus absorbs all the violence of the world to subvert it with love. In Jesus, God leaves all the comfort of heaven to joined the struggle here on earth. ... It is a book about the enduring hope that God is with us… no matter how bad it gets.
Shane Claiborne (Author & Activist)
Kurt Willems pastorally writes for the hurting and despairing, and lifts the eyes of the questioning, and points to the hope woven and soaked in the gospel. ... Every pastor must have multiple copies of this book on their shelves to offer up to the hurting and despairing in their midst.
Tara Beth Leach (Pastor & Author)
In Echoing Hope, Kurt takes us into moments of pain and violence from his own life, but he does so with Jesus ever-present ... Easter happens in this book. Read it.
Scot McKnight (Author & Scholar)
Without resorting to worn-out clichés, Kurt Willems walks the reader through the problem of pain with the mind of a theologian and the heart of a pastor. This book will help many people.
Brian Zahnd (Author & Pastor)
Kurt Willems represents a new generation of theologians, one that dares let his own vulnerability, courage and pain guide his beliefs about God. Echoing Hope is no exception ... I’ve no doubt his words will change the way readers interact with themselves, with their neighbors, and with the God who stands in solidarity with them all.
Cara Meredith (Author & Speaker)
Kurt Willems has given us a rare gift—a beautifully written account of Christ’s humanity, that is also a tender, vulnerable account of his own. This brave book gives us permission to be fully human. ... To read Echoing Hope is not only to go deeper into the Christ story, but to go deeper into your own.
Jonathan Martin (Pastor & Author)
Kurt Willems offers us a gift in this book. Rather than trite answers, he invites us into complexity and guides us with care and precision, through beautiful storytelling and rich yet accessible theology, to a captivating vision of hope.
Jay Kim (Pastor & Author)
Nothing is as transforming as entering into the experience of Christ in his context and finding our own healing in his presence. Echoing Hope helps us do that!
Jan Johnson (Author & Spiritual Director)
Readers who hope for more from the gospel will be informed by and empowered by this generative rendering of the truth of Jesus.
Walter Brueggemann (Author & Scholar)
Kurt Willems powerfully moves us from the theoretical and abstract to what is real and concrete. In Echoing Hope, Willems deftly weaves together theological ideas and biblical teaching with personal experiences and historical realities to invite us all to trust our whole selves to a Savior who gave his whole self for us.
Dennis Edwards (Pastor, Author, & Scholar)
Kurt Willems' heart is on every page, gently teaching us the important truth that there are no silver bullets in this life; only the gradual transformation of ourselves into Christ-likeness. If you are at a loss, facing despair, with nowhere to run, then let Echoing Hope be a guide that helps bring you closer to life in all its fullness.
Bruxy Cavey (Author & Pastor)
I’m so thankful for Kurt’s ability to help leaders grasp the importance of Jesus’ humanity and the role it plays in our day to day faith! Echoing Hope is such a crucial work for the seasons we are living in today!
Tyler Reagin (Christian Leader & Author)
I admire Kurt Willems’ accomplishment ... It will deeply bless many readers who struggle with memories of past abuse. Willems sensitively and openly reflects on his own memories and relates them to Jesus’ life of suffering and teachings about forgiveness. He invites readers to realize that Jesus himself experienced our pain, and he gives us guidance to walk in his steps.
Lois Tverberg (Author & Teacher of Jesus' Jewishness)
Echoing Hope draws Jesus near - his humanity, his pain, and his purpose, without losing Jesus’ divinity in the process. Kurt brings his own stories of healing and hope to the feet of an accessible Jesus, so that readers can bring our own.
Sean Palmer (Pastor & Author)
This book came at a time in my life where my own pain and grief was hindering me from connecting with the Jesus-who-just-wouldn’t-understand, and reintroduced me to the Jesus-who-knows-how-it feels. If you’re longing to connect or reconnect with Jesus on a deeper level— one that is real, authentic, and that doesn’t dismiss or gloss over the pains of life, you need to read this book… I did.
Benjamin L. Corey (Author & Leader)
... readers will find a rare and generous invitation into the areas of their own lives where pain understandably raises questions about God's power, love, and nearness. May this careful look at pain in the context of Jesus's life and ministry open up avenues of discovery and healing.
Mindy Caliguire (Author & President of 'Soul Care')
In this book, Kurt generously and vulnerably invites us into his own pain to illuminate the healing hope of a God in Jesus who doesn’t dismiss our pain but accompanies us in the midst of it. In rare form, Echoing Hope weaves history, theology, story, and practice into an accessible guide for reframing our scars from reminders of pain to signposts of God’s restoration.
Jon Huckins (Peacemaker, Pastor, & Author)
In Echoing Hope, Kurt leans into the inescapable reality of pain and sorrow in life, not in some sort of masochistic celebration, but as a way of pointing us towards the only One who can truly heal our pain and wipe away our tears. In this meditation on the life of Jesus, Kurt shows us a better way forward, not just through our pain but into becoming the hope filled, hope spreading followers of Jesus we were created to be.
Zach Hunt (Author & Leader)
Echoing Hope is integrated and honest, attending both the inward and outward dimensions of faith. Willems weaves theology with spiritual practice in ways that beckon the reader to bring their own pain and hope into a living conversation with Christ.
Meghan Larissa Good (Author & Pastor)

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