Unsung Hero: The Smallbone Family’s Journey of Faith and Resilience | 283

Welcome to the Teach Them Diligently podcast. Today, Leslie Nunnery is joined by Helen Smallbone, mother of Rebecca St. James and Joel and Luke Smallbone of For King and Country. Helen shares her family’s journey of faith and resilience. After facing major job loss and financial struggles, they moved from Australia to the United States with six children and no furniture. Through living by faith and relying on God, they experienced miracles and learned valuable lessons about trust, hard work, and the importance of family. 

Helen encourages wives to support their husbands during difficult times and emphasizes the need for a strong foundation in Jesus. She also discusses their homeschooling experience and the upcoming movie about their story, ‘Unsung Hero.’

Key Takeaways:

  • Living by faith and relying on God can lead to miracles and life-changing experiences.
  • Supporting and encouraging your spouse during difficult times is crucial.
  • A strong foundation in Jesus is essential for navigating challenges.
  • Homeschooling can provide flexibility and opportunities for practical learning.
  • God cares about the details and provides for our needs in unexpected ways.

Meet the Guest:

Helen Smallbone grew up in Australia as the daughter of a Methodist minister and the youngest of four children. Even though she grew up in church, her faith became real in her mid-teens when she committed her life to Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Sydney.

Trained as an Occupational Therapist, Helen’s greatest desire was to serve God and become a wife and mother. At age 20, she married the love of her life, David Smallbone, and over the next 14 years, they added seven children to their family.


In 1991, after experiencing a financial crisis in Australia, the Smallbone family relocated to the Nashville, TN, area, where David began a career in music management for Christian artists. This new adventure required every family member to place their trust in God and live by faith.

In Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family (K-LOVE Books, April 12, 2022), Helen shares how the Smallbone family learned to let God lead – which has included living outside the box of American cultural norms. Her book describes God’s constant faithfulness and provision during the lean years after their arrival in the United States. Helen recounts stories that vividly describe how the family worked together to make ends meet, found support in new friends and neighbors, homeschooled on the road, and grew closer with every challenge they overcame.


Helen’s love for God and family has only grown stronger as she and David have supported their children’s creative career paths. Their daughter, Rebecca St. James, and two of their sons, for KING & COUNTRY stars Luke and Joel Smallbone, have collectively earned five Grammys.

When not busy with her children and grandchildren, Helen is dedicated to sharing her passion and love for God with those around her. She is the co-founder of MUMlife,

(www.MUMlife.org), a ministry of “mothers uplifting mothers,” and co-host of the MUMlife Community Podcast. David and Helen Smallbone live just outside of Nashville with a small menagerie of animals.

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