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Meet Joseph Barkley of Radius in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joseph Barkley.

Joseph, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Long Beach, California, raised in Riverside and got a degree in Business (thinking I would be a corporate attorney). While in college, I picked up a guitar, fell in love and had a recording contract by the time I graduated. No law school, just touring and writing for the next ten years (in which time, I met the personal assistant of identical twin belly dancers and married her).

After the birth of two daughters and several divine surprises, I had the compulsion to stay rooted in LA, write songs for television and invest into the spiritual lives of my friends–many of whom had never been apart of any religious space or institution. I’d started following Jesus and had such a life-bending experience and, as an act of love, I became interested in how it might help others.

I was ruined. I loved the relationships and life change that was happening so much that I quit the music business (during my most successful year to-date) and be a pastor. Crazy.

Has it been a smooth road?
There are various bumps along the road of my life, but two significant ones always stand out.

I struggled with an eating disorder for a year (losing almost a third of my bodyweight) and I’ve been sober from sex addiction for almost two decades.

I often say that I always want to be vulnerable about my pain and, when possible, give more than pain. I want to give perspective because I’ve seen how much hope it gives. Someone’s present was my past. So my present helps someone know they can have a future.

Please tell us about Radius.
In the Summer of 2014, I and a small group of high-caliber, creative and passionate people began dreaming about a new church to serve Los Angeles with the vision to be a church for people convinced church is irrelevant. We realized that people were still asking the same, big questions humans always ask but had written off organized religion as a place to find good conversations. We understood and wanted to spark dialogue again.

In February of 2015, Radius launched weekly services to put that vision into reality and now serve hundreds of people from all backgrounds, creeds and dreams. I’ve found the local church can be the most provocative, innovative and future-thinking contexts in which to serve and be involved. It’s changed me and it’s changing others.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Everyone we serve is online. People will still long for physical space and interaction, but online, on-demand help is already the norm. For spiritual conversations, this opens up possibilities that didn’t exist before. In physical spaces, you spend thousands to reach hundreds. In digital spaces, you spend hundreds to reach thousands (maybe millions). It’s more responsive, customized and creative. I believe the primary (not exclusive) way people will engage in spiritual innovation will still be in connection with people, but it will be online.

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