Jeff Elkins Fiction and More

Growing Together



Jeff Elkins is a writer, podcaster, theologian, and writing coach. He’s the author of eleven novels including Inside Outside and the Adventures of Watkins and Howe Detective Series. He helps writers engage with readers by teaching them to write better dialogue as the Dialogue Doctor podcast. He talks about life after the evangelical church on the We Just Came for the Tacos Podcast. He has a BA in Religion from Baylor University and an MDiv from Truett Seminary. He lives with his wife and five kids north of Baltimore, Maryland.


Here is quick sketch of me.

I started attending church before I was a month old. As a teenager, I was at church so often, my pastor called me the “church rat” because every time he turned on the lights, there I was. My parents wants to be Southern Baptist medical missionaries to Africa, but my younger sister was born with Down Syndrome, so they stayed in the US and instead taught us to think of the world around us as our mission field. Because of their influence, I was voted by my high school senior class, “Most Likely to Invite You to Church.”

I am an incredibly proud alumni of Edna Karr Magnet High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. After high school I went to Baylor University, where I fell in with a charismatic-small group focused churched. Although I was a pre-med major, after college I went to seminary and started working with a college ministry. I serve at that church for almost five years, and we saw rapid growth during that season. Upon graduation, my wife and I moved to inner-city Baltimore and started working for a small church downtown. It was during that time that I began to “deconstruct my faith.”

I left the church after five years and tried to plant a different kind of church we affectionately called “The Thingy.” During that season of life, my wife and I also helped found a public charter school in Baltimore.

I then went to work for a church that had been in decline for over twenty years. It was a beautiful and humbling learning experience for me. I went to the church on a five-year contract to help them decide whether they should close or try to do things differently. At the time of my writing this, it’s been almost a decade since I left the staff and the church is still going strong.

When my contract ended, I went to work as a writer for a simulation company that trains people in difficult conversations. I also started writing and publishing novels.

During Covid, trapped at home with my children and working from my basement, I began an editing and writer-coaching business called the Dialogue Doctor. It currently consists of a weekly podcast, newsletter, and growing Patreon community.

After guesting on a podcast to talk about my experiences in leaving church work and deconstructing my faith, several people asked me to talk more about my experience in the evangelical church and why I left it. In 2023, I started a podcast with my friend Leigh Erdman called “We Just Came for the Tacos” on which we talk about the American evangelical church, why we left it, and what our lives are like after.