About

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Photo by Barb Belcher

Author. Speaker. Pastor. Encourager, inspiration-giver, laugh-bringer. Displaced Wisconsinite soaking up the sun in southern California.

I’m the author of three books: Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul, which premiered at #1 in its category on Amazon and sold out the first printing in a month, Almost Holy Mama: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary Parents, which also premiered at #1. (I know, right? Pinch me!) Happy Now: Let Playfulness Lift Your Load and Renew Your Spirit comes out August 3, 2021 because, let’s face it, we all need a little more joy in our lives after living through 2020!

Copy of Copy of Beige and Gray Minimalist Quote Instagram PostEncouraging a wide range of crowds is my jam, from speaking on podcasts and radio stations coast-to-coast, to bringing the word at high school getaways, to guiding leadership retreats for church elders, college students, or retirees. If you want to laugh, be refreshed, and find inspiration, I’m your girl!

(And do I do virtual events? Yes, and they’re awesome!)

My husband Daryl and I serve as co-pastors at a Presbyterian church in California, where we revel in joining Jesus at work.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Advance Praise for Happy Now 

“Courtney Ellis offers a rare, timely combination of sound theology, personal transparency, accessible style, and sharp wit. The world needs more writers like Courtney, and readers need more books by her.”  –Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books 

“What if they knew we were Christians by our play? Read on and catch the vision.” —Aarik Danielsen, Fathom Magazine columnist

“Jesus said that the way of faith is becoming like a child, and in Happy Now Courtney Ellis shows us how. Through honesty, wisdom, and humor, Ellis invites us to practice the healing, renewing posture of playfulness. Maybe faith actually was always meant to include fun.” —K.J. Ramsey, licensed professional counselor and author of This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers

This book is brilliant! Deep, light, entertaining and practical. It is truly an invitation into a more joyful and God-filled way of life. –Anna Woofenden, author of This is God’s Table

Can you imagine God playing? What about dancing, singing, and laughing–with you? During times of suffering, we need God’s smile more than ever. Faithful, encouraging, hilarious, and heartfelt, Happy Now reminds you that playfulness can be holiness . –Catherine McNiel, author of All Shall Be Well

With self-deprecating humor, Courtney Ellis artfully welcomes those of us paralyzed by seriousness to embrace whimsy and delight. –Leslie Verner, author of Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness

Happy Now is a field guide for the journey of learning to play, written by a funny friend who keeps it real while maintaining a pastor’s focus of what actually is real. –Rebecca Cochran, co-host of The Woven Podcast

Courtney has done it again! As someone who struggles with productivity over playfulness, I’m thankful for Courtney’s gentle encouragement and practical advice on how to renew my spirit. –Rebecca Peet, Co-Host of the Woven Podcast, Certified Enneagram Coach

Happy Now is a gorgeous, imaginative, and liberating reminder that God is not only concerned with our holiness but with our enjoyment of him and his good gifts. Courtney demonstrates how playfulness enriches us soul, mind, body, and spirit. — Alicia Akins, author Come Feast

Courtney Ellis does it again! Happy Now: Let the Power of Playfulness Lift Your Load & Renew Your Spirit is equal parts hilarity, honesty and holy invitation. Her antics at a twenty-two dollar spin class will make you cringe and laugh out loud at the same time – after all, Ellis relishes in making real  the everyday messiness and joy of her life, while simultaneously daring the reader to join the God of playfulness in the greatest “yes …and” of all. –Cara Meredith, author of The Color of Life

Happy Now is a delightful exploration of the transformative power of playfulness. Courtney’s accessible invitations give permission to have fun, get silly, and enter into the abundant freedom God desires for you. –Stephanie Jenkins, Field Guides for the Way 

Courtney Ellis serves as a trusted guide on the road to happiness, accompanying the reader through the intersections of Scripture, psychology, and humor. If you are weary and worn, Happy Now will lead you to the One who restores and refreshes through the gift of play. — Stephanie Lobdell, author, Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope out of Ordinary Losses

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Praise for Almost Holy 

“Courtney Ellis tells the truth about parenting–and believes that woven through the joys and the chaos is an opportunity for holiness.” –Catherine McNiel, author of Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline

“Almost Holy Mama is what tired mamas like me have been looking for: how we find God in the lives we inhabit (not the ones we used to have or might have ten years from now). I can t wait to share this book.”  —Elizabeth Hagan, author of Birthed: Finding Grace through Infertility

“Courtney Ellis is a relatable guide to your Lego-strewn journey with Jesus through the challenging early years of parenting.” –Michelle Van Loon, author of Born to Wander

“What a gift this book is for parents, for families, and for the churches they belong to.” –Ryan Hamm, senior writer at Open Doors USA, former managing editor of RELEVANT magazine

“Ellis reminds us of two things simultaneously: that the spiritual disciplines are serious business, and that there’s no reason we can’t have a holy sense of humor about our occasionally stumbling attempts to practice them.” –Kevin McLenithan, film critic and cohost of the Seeing and Believing podcast

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Praise for Uncluttered

“Ellis offers us a winsome, challenging, instructive, and inspiring engagement for re-discovering the freer, fuller life that all of us are longing for.” –Tod Bolsinger, Vice President & Chief of Leadership Formation, Fuller Seminary

“Key to healthy, sustainable, contagious faith is our commitment to living simpler, quieter, more uncluttered lives.” –Brett McCracken, author of Uncomfortable: the Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community

“Raw, relatable, and hilarious, all at the same time.” –Cara Meredith, author of The Color of Life: A Journey Toward Love and Racial Justice

Uncluttered is a practical and profound work, tailor-made for this era of noise and busyness.” –Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of Start, Love, Repeat

“In Uncluttered Courtney Ellis does what our time, image, and productivity obsessed culture tells us is impossible.” –Nicole Caldwell-Gross, pastor of Missions and Outreach at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Uncluttered is a funny, nonjudgmental, down-to-earth guide not just for clearing out junk, but for laying hold of freedom.” –Aubry G. Smith, author of Holy Labor