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

“Part of getting people ready to be a [church] member is walking them into that culture that says we at this church, we treat one another this way in order to reflect Christ.”

“I don’t want to be defensive about the church. I’m well aware that my church and just about any church, we could have dropped the ball. We could have created a context where people fall through the cracks.”

“Some people need to be blessed on their way. Some people need to be encouraged to stay and invest more deeply. Some people you try to persuade to stay and they still peace out because they just, for whatever reason, they’re done. And those are the ones that are the most disappointing and grieving.”

“It is really common for people to come to our church having been hurt elsewhere.”

“We can’t put a timeline on people that the Holy Spirit hasn’t signed off on because restoration is the Spirit’s business and our job is to shepherd people and care for people.”

“There are a lot of genuinely hurt, genuinely jaded and disappointed people who show up.”

“Sometimes people claim hurt where they were in the wrong. And there are occasions when somebody says they’re hurt and in reality they’re mad or they’re disappointed.”

“The assumption that the New Testament writers are making there is that there will be conflict. You don’t need to forgive people who haven’t hurt you. You don’t need to bear with people who you like. You don’t need to live in harmony with people who are easy to get along with.”

“When things of second importance are moved to the top of the list, we divide over something that isn’t Jesus and we lose that culture of safety, of healing, of compassion.”

“You can tell a real church by the breadth of ideologies and socioeconomic status and ethnicities in its walls. If you look at a group of people and you go, it doesn’t make any sense that they are close to one another, but they are, that’s evidence that there is genuine belonging in Christ.”

“Is your church a place where people feel like they can come in and unburden themselves of the things that are the most costly to share out loud?”

“Often times we sell membership as if it’s, you know, it’s like a country club. Here are your benefits. I think what a lot of younger people need to hear is, here’s why you matter to the church.”

“I don’t think you can have a genuine sense of belonging in a church without a healthy foundation of unity in Christ.”

“You have to have unity where we say Jesus first, Jesus always, and everything else will be dealt with in accordance with that.”

Mentioned in the Show


Belong: Loving Your Church by Reflecting Christ to One Another” by Barnabas Piper
The Happy Rant
The Happy Rant” podcast
The Pastor’s Kid: What It’s Like and How to Help” by Barnabas Piper

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