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Our Story:

In the sixteenth century, the Reformers broke away from the establishment because they believed that common people could contribute to the world in extraordinary ways, if only they were empowered and trained. Like the Reformers of the past, Build A Better Us is putting power back into the hands of the people.

Build A Better Us is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that exists to encourage a restored view of marriage and individual maturity from a Christian worldview. Our movement began in a living room with four couples in 2008. We asked the question, “What would it look like for us to grow in following Jesus in our marriages and to care for the marriages of others?” Since then, Build A Better Us has worked with hundreds of couples and individuals all over the world, equipping them to experience authentic transformation in a community of loving support.

We have partnered with organizations such as Desiring God, Acts 29 Network, the Assemblies of God, and various churches around the nation. Our work has also been featured by Christianity Today, LifeWay Christian, the ERLC, and Reach Records.

We believe that no matter your relationship status or life circumstance, you have the ability in Christ to be extraordinary and to affect extraordinary change in the world. We’re committed to building a better you, so we can be a better us.

Building a better you, so we can be a better us.
Our Mission:
To equip people to change the world. Our aim is to build a better you so we can be a better us.
Our Vision:
 We believe every person has the power to change the world. Our vision is to normalize extraordinary moments in the lives of everyday people. We provide these opportunities through life coaching, small groups, and various events.

Core Values

Deeply Loved

Until we understand the depth of our need, we’ll never experience the power of grace in our lives. We don’t minimize the impact of sin in and around us. Why? Our brokenness makes us perfect candidates for God’s grace, which has been expressed most profoundly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot experience authentic, soul- deep, life transformation until we believe this: I am a mess, and yet deeply loved by God.

Love Jesus, Love People

Jesus summed up God’s expectation of us perfectly in this way: love God, love people. Cultivating dramatic change in people’s lives springs from this heart. People aren’t projects. They are image bearers of God with intrinsic value, candidates for the grace of God in the gospel of Christ. If we treasure Jesus above all, we will love and care for people properly. It’s that simple.

Better Together

Authentic transformation cannot be achieved in isolation. We cannot love one another if we hide from each other. But together, in a loving community of transparency and support, we see lives transformed and marriages healed. We only thrive when we are in a healthy community, receiving and giving grace to each other as we grow. We are better together.

Meet the BBU Team

BJ Thompson



BJ is a life coach, speaker, and author who helped launch one of the largest faith movements in recent history – the “116 Movement” with Grammy award winning artist Lecrae. He also served alongside Bryan Loritts to expand groundbreaking racial reconciliation work in Memphis, TN. BJ has worked with tens of thousands of individuals and couples all over the world helping them experience personal and relational growth. Currently BJ serves as the executive director for Build a Better Us. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in Christian studies from Union University. He has been featured in Relevant Magazine, Propel, Christianity Today, Barna, & other publications. He has also worked with History Chanel, RZIM, ERLC, Desiring God, Universities & other corporations. He and his wife Vanja have been married 16 years and live in Atlanta with their three children.

Shayna was born and raised on a farm in central Illinois.  She got a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business at Illinois State University. College was a pivotal time in her life due to her father’s death during her first semester of college.  After graduation Shayna entered collegiate ministry as she wanted to walk along side college students during one of the most transforming times in their lives.  She has spent the last 15 years in college ministry in 3 different states and on multiple campuses.  As a result of her mentoring investment, many women and men are thriving across the nation.  Shayna joins the Build a Better Us team to start campus ministries in Chicago.  Shayna loves the complexity and beauty that abounds in cities and is passionate about helping students live holistic and brave lives.

Shayna Wildermuth



Ruth Buchanan



Ruth Buchanan is a Christian freelance writer and the author of seven books, four stage plays, and countless articles and essays. As a writing coach, she’s perfectly positioned to help other writers hone their skills and level up in their careers. She has a demonstrated history of working closely with writers to shape their story and craft their message into something truly unforgettable. She’s conversant in a wide variety of fields, but as someone who holds an undergraduate degree in Church Ministries and a master’s in Theological Studies, she’s especially comfortable working in areas of practical Christian theology. Ruth is an accomplished Bible teacher and a proficient public speaker. Though usually clamped to the keyboard, Ruth is also an eager reader, an enthusiastic traveler, and the world’s most reluctant runner.

Jessica Smith

Communication Specialist


Toi Pearson

Small Groups Director


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