Protecting People in Church

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As leaders in church, we can become discouraged or defensive when we hear about church hurt. In order to build healthy leadership teams and safe communities within the church, though, pastors have to honesty grapple with the reality of church hurt and how we help our people heal. In this episode, Natalie Runion joins John Bailey to discuss the history, ideas and practices that led to her book Raised to Stay. Both John and Natalie are leaders with a huge heart for the church and sympathy for the struggles of pastors as they contend for healthy church culture.

Key Points from the Podcast

•  Many churches, both as institutions and individuals within a community, don’t know how to help people through their pain or handle hurt that they have caused. Some of this comes from us wanting to defend the church.

•  Those who leave the church in pain will readily find a sympathetic pseudo-community in the world that will offer them the acceptance and “love” they longed to find in the church.

•  There is no such thing as over-communicating with our kids. They need a space to say hard things or ask uncomfortable questions without judgment; they deserve to know that they are our first ministry.

•  Children or teenagers can sometimes to discern things that we’ve become used to ignoring, and their honesty can be very necessary. It’s best that we ask ourselves, “I wonder what would make them not want to be around someone at church or not want to be at church at all?”

•  There is an incredible beauty in what God has made the church to be, and we should ask him to break our hearts for what breaks his heart in his church. This is the first step to becoming a healthy leader in a safe church.

•  Nobody wants to quit. No one chooses to be hurt. When we look inside from the outside, though, it’s easier to quit than to contend for healthy culture and run a high risk of being attacked and hurt again.

•  This generation doesn’t want to hear what’s wrong with church. They want to hear how we’re going to fix the problems.

•  Addressing hurt will start with seeing congregants as valuable individuals and listening to them. Regularly meeting with and engaging with church members is the start of real discipleship and stronger, safer community.

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

Jeremiah 17:9

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

•  Raised to Stay: Persevering in Ministry When You Have a Million Reasons to Walk Away

•  Truth & Grace with John and Mark“Finding Strength to Stay” episode 43

About Natalie Runion

Pastor’s kid turned pastor, Natalie, her husband Tony and their two daughters live in Colorado Springs, CO where she serves as pastor of women and a worship pastor. In her twenty years of ministry as a worship leader, songwriter and pastor, Natalie has served various organizations and ministries across the country. In 2019 after watching many of her peers walk away from the church and their faith, Natalie began Raised to Stay, a ministry for those who have wandered, wondered and wrestled with the Church and the challenges of full-time ministry. She is a sought-after speaker and writer in the local and global church, writing for She Reads Truth and other Christian publications. You can learn more about her Raised to Stay book on Instagram at @raisedtostay and order her book on Amazon and other major retailers.

About John Bailey

Pastor John Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer at World Challenge. John came to know Christ in jail after some difficult struggles as a young man, and God has done a powerful work of transformation since! Spending 13 years in Next Gen ministry, he excelled in discipleship and helping young leaders discover giftings to serve God. John was called next to serve as a missionary and pastor in Western Europe. John and his family then returned to plant the Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the church is a thriving body of believers excelling in outreach and missions. John has now brought his giftings and vision to World Challenge, accelerating the spread of the gospel in America and around the World.

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