Barnabas Piper and the Role of Curiosity in a Christian’s Life


Thanks so much for joining us today at the unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to have our guest, Barnabas Piper of Lifeway Leadership.

Barnabas lives in the Nashville area and is a speaker and author, the son of Pastor John Piper. Being a pastor’s kid influenced his childhood and life tremendously, making Barnabas an observer of Christian culture and church trends, how people experience faith, and what works in church and what doesn’t.

Barnabas is with us today to talk about his book, The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life, and why he wrote it.

  • Think about questions. // The book Barnabas wrote before The Curious Christian is about faith, doubt, and questions. When thinking about questions, you either find the answer you’re looking for or it snowballs and leads you into more questions. While digging into that, Barnabas realized that people don’t know how to think about questions. A lot of times Christians muddle through life without really seeing the beauty in the world and connecting with other people. Barnabas reminds us that curiosity is essential for the soul, relationships between each other, within the church, and in our relationship with God.
  • Curiosity starts at home. // It can be very overwhelming to figure out where to start with developing curiosity and asking questions. Barnabas suggests that we start as close to home as possible. Think in concentric circles: Who are you closest to? What are you interested in? Start working out from there—find out who lives next door and learn more about them. Take a look at the books on your shelves and ask what don’t you know about those subjects. Asking a question leads to another idea or another depth in a relationship, forming connections between people and ideas.
  • Find new opportunities. // Curiosity expands the number of options on how to solve problems. A quick way for a ministry to die is to get stuck on the idea that “this is the way we’ve always done things.” Curiosity and asking questions can lead a church into opportunities that have not yet been explored. Churches have resources they don’t even think about, especially among the people inside their walls. As a leader, curiosity leads you into tapping those resources and finding new options.
  • Ideas are fun, leadership is hard. // It’s easy to be at a conference and have dozens of ideas about what could be done. But then the daily grind of leadership can halt progress on integrating those ideas. Things that worked years ago don’t always work now, and it can be a hard transition to lead people to follow these new ideas. The effectiveness of an idea is what’s most important and needs to be carried forward, not the structure.
  • Engage truth. // Barnabas puts it in a great way: Godly curiosity is the pursuit of truth. He wrote The Curious Christian for the people who have a daily drive to engage Christianity better. It can be a valuable tool to anyone from a church leader with hundreds of congregation members to a stay-at-home mom teaching her children. The pursuit of God’s truth and reality through curiosity can be applied anywhere in our lives inside or outside the church. The circle of curiosity in the things closest to you is the starting point that leads you into the truth beyond.

The Curious Christian can be purchased from Lifeway, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. You can learn more about the book at www.curiouschristianbook.com. You can also find Barnabas on www.Facebook.com/bpiper and Twitter @BarnabasPiper.

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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // Downcast app

Ministries Following // Small churches

Influential Book // Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham by Doris Kearns Goodwin; Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch

Inspiring Leader // Barack Obama

What does he do for fun // Books, sports and outdoors

Contact // curiouschristianbook.com;  facebook.com/bpiper;  @barnabaspiper

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.