CNLP 031: Reaching Hollywood: Keys to Planting a Church Where No One Goes to Church—An Interview with Joseph Barkley

The culture in Hollywood California is as resistant to Christianity as almost any.

Church planter Joseph Barkley shares strategies around community, how to do church and innovation that are making an impact in otherwise resistant city.

Welcome to Episode 31 of the Podcast.

Joseph barkley

Guest Links

Radius Church

Joseph Barkley on Twitter

Josephy Barkley on Facebook

Links Mentioned

Brad Lomenick

Episode 17; Josh Gagnon

Ecclesia Hollywood

Karl Vaters

Kara Powell

David Kinnaman


3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Joseph invested his time and talents to channel a difficult demographic that has traditionally gone unreached. If you’re developing a church plant in unfamiliar territory, here’s how you can get started:

1. Build a community. There is a growing trend that suggests that being part of a community is optional, especially if it’s something you can log into, i.e., social media. Culture creates different habits of community, but because some have settled for an inadequate need for community, they bring that into the church. The opportunity becomes re-learning how you create sacred space for community, how to become transparent and how to build trust. If you’re stumbling your way into community, you want to create simple ways of glimpsing it – low cost, low fear opportunities for others to be themselves. In that space, social connection happens organically.

2. Host a great party. In Hollywood, it made sense for Joseph to organize sophisticated social events to reach out to the un-churched. Joseph and his team use mixers to break the ince with unchurched. Mixers are basically a really well done part, Hollywood style. Many guests can’t believe a church threw it. The goal is to build great relationships in a fun environment.  Ask yourself a few key questions: What’s going on in your city? What are the felt needs? What is the language they’re using? Start by creating bridges there.

3. Up the quality level. The evidence of excellence in the public things you do as a leader gives outsiders clues into what you do privately. How you welcome someone in the church parking lot tells them how you’re going to treat children in the children’s ministry. While excellence is under attack today, it’s better to err on the side of simplicity and excellence than complexity and mediocrity.

Want Incredible Training from Today’s Top Leaders?

Then don’t miss the Orange Conference 2015 on April 29-May 1st in Atlanta.

Learn from leaders like Perry Noble, Jeff Henderson, Jud Wilhite, Jon Acuff, Josh Gagnon and more. I’ll be teaching at the conference as well and have put together a senior leader track designed exclusively for senior pastors, executive pastors and campus pastors.

Register here today.

Quotes from Joseph

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Next Episode: Mark Batterson

New York Times best-selling author Mark Batterson has written 12 books in ten years that have sold millions of copies.

What’s even more remarkable is he’s done this while planting a church and raising a family. Mark takes us on a rare behind-the-scenes tour to show us his process for writing and how he gets it all done.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 32.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Jeff on July 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    I saw Joseph Barkley perform with his worship band, Plumbline, at a Korean Baptist Church back in 2000ish, when I was just a freshman or sophomore in high school… That was wayyyy before I became a Christian (late 2013). I still have the autographed CD of their album. I just recently started listening to your podcast, Carey, and I’m already leading like never before and have become more productive at my guitar company! Thanks so much… now I gotta go post a rating and write a review for your podcast!

  2. Sam Fowler on April 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Awesome conversation! Reminds me of a church just outside Washington D.C. that during the week meets in a high end club in downtown D.C. to connect. Way cool stuff, thanks Carey!

  3. Darren Wooff on April 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Holy Cow! Lots of gold in this discussion. I kept rewinding (I was born with tape) the discussion to let the valuable insights soak in. Hollywood is different than Saskatoon but the values are the same. Thanks for the podcast!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 16, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      So glad to hear it Darren. Keep up the great work in Saskatoon!

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