Finding Strength to Stay

A Conversation on Church, Deconstruction, and Holding onto Jesus

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How do believers deconstruct their faith and yet stay in church? This week, pastor and author Natalie Runion joins John Bailey to honestly discuss questioning Christianity and challenging church culture. Natalie lays out the genesis of her ministry Raised to Stay and why she chose to not give up on the church. Trying to defend Christianity in unsympathetic arenas can feel like it tears apart our faith. Being attacked by other believers while we work in ministry can tempt any leader to walk away. When we're in these places, what do we do?

Key Points from the Podcast

  • Living in Christian community can be painful because people are broken and struggling, and they will hurt us. “The church did not hurt you. A few broken people did. Don't give up. You were raised to stay.”

  • At some point, many of us have to return to our faith and ask ourselves, “Why do I believe what I believe? Is Jesus real? Is the church really good?” 

  • Memorizing scripture is good, but it’s very important that we put scripture into practice and make grace a reality in our lives, otherwise there will be a disconnect from what we profess to believe and how we behave.

  • The church is a beautiful place for us to have hard and holy conversations in a safe place, but we have to do better at creating a safe place.

  • A lot of us are quitting before God finishes his work. Sometimes we have to crucify the flesh and say, “Okay God, I don't like this, but I have to believe that you are going to work all things out for my good and for your glory.”

  • The greatest pandemic of our church right now is a spirit of offense.

  • When we ask somebody to carry our offense, we're sinning, and then when they pick it up, they're sinning. Then we develop this whole culture of gossip and offense.

  • We often let a Judas or King Saul in the church prevent us from pursuing Jesus. We cannot let Judas or Saul prevent us from fulfilling our assignment.

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Isaiah 62:4-5, Matthew 26:14-25

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Raised to Stay: Persevering in Ministry When You Have a Million Reasons to Walk Away – releases July 2023, available for preorder on Amazon.

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 preorder 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.