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Barnabas Piper: Why a Culture of Belonging Has To Start With a Church’s Leaders

Barnabas Piper
Photo courtesy of Barnabas Piper

Barnabas Piper is the assistant pastor at Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and co-hosts “The Happy Rant” podcast with Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin. Barnabas is the author of several books, including “The Happy Rant” (written with Ted and Ronnie) and “The Pastor’s Kid: What It’s Like and How to Help.” His latest book is, “Belong: Loving Your Church by Reflecting Christ to One Another.” 

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Key Questions for Barnabas Piper

-What is keeping church leaders from thinking better about belonging in the churches that they lead?

-What steps can pastors and church leaders take to help create a culture of belonging?

-How do you respond to people who meet with you and say they are leaving the church because they don’t feel they belong?

-How do you talk about belonging to someone who has been wounded by the church?

Key Quotes From Barnabas Piper

“This is a thing church leaders are really responsible for creating: the culture of the church that makes it easy for people to belong, no matter where they’re coming from.”

“It’s easier for church leaders to rely on metrics than it is to gauge the health of a culture because that’s a hard thing to put in numbers.”

“​​Do we have a culture where somebody feels like they could expose their soul with whatever the thing is that hurts the worst, that they are ashamed of, that makes them feel distant from the Lord?”

“Anything that is cultural in a church has to start with the leaders. The most invested church participant, church member is kind of just a drop in the bucket when it comes to cultural change.”

“There has to be a culture that backs up those claims of truth in the gospel, truth in Scripture, but also a culture of safety, meaning if somebody comes with something difficult, they won’t receive condemnation.”