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hope for churches in stress

board of directors

As a registered non-profit ministry, Barnabas Initiatives is governed by a Board of Directors. Six persons serve on the board. All are devoted Christ-followers. All are active in their local churches and in wider service and ministry.

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Les Cool is the lead pastor of Trinity (EC) Church of Boyertown (Pa.). In over 30 years of ministry, Les has been a youth pastor, church planter, and lead pastor. In the National Conference of the Evangelical Congregtional Church, he has served as Kingdom Extension Associate. Les draws from his ministry training and experience in small group ministries, pulpit and classroom experience, church planting and health ministries, and a passion for God’s people as he walks with pastors, executives, and lay leaders to encourage and coach toward a better today and a more hopeful tomorrow. Along with his wife, Carol, Les uses the gifts of mercy and hospitality to develop relationships for Kingdom growth. Les serves as secretary of the board.


David Witmer is a CPA and Principal with Hershey Advisors, PC (Brownstown, PA).  Dave has been involved with several ministries and nonprofits over the years, both in local and national settings. Past and current roles have varied from Finance Committee member to Worship Team Visual Coordinator and Pastoral Search Committee Chair to Interim Youth Group Co-Leader with various stops as Small Group Leader, Church Board Secretary, and Board Member along the way.  Dave, along with his wife Amanda and two young children, currently worship with Middle Creek Church (Lititz, PA). Dave serves as Treasurer for Barnabas Initiatives.

Hank Johnson is Lead Pastor at Harrisburg BIC Church, an urban and multiethnic church. Hank has served at camps, community and youth centers, and the social work. He was born in Liberia and has lived in Sierra Leone, Abidjan, Palisades Park (N.J.), and Philadelphia (Pa.). Hank was graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia and Messiah College (Grantham, Pa.). He completed a M.Div. degree from Evangelical Theological Seminary (Myerstown, Pa.). Hank and his wife, Shell, have two daughters, Harper and Kennedy. Hank enjoys sports, fellowship with family and friends, traveling, and board games. Hank serves as president of the board. 

Pauline Peifer recently retired after a lifetime of service in the Brethren in Christ (BIC) Church. After graduating from Messiah College with a degree in nursing, she married W. Dale Allison. For the next 25 years they served as pastoral couple at churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Alberta. Following Dale's death, Pauline returned to nursing as a nursing home administrator. During this time, she assisted in starting a church in Millerstown (Pa.). She returned to full-time ministry as associate and executive pastor at Grantham (Pa.) Church. In a culminating assignment, Pauline served as the first woman bishop in the BIC Church. She and her husband Elvin Peifer were married in 2007. To be near their blended family, they lived in Pennsylvania in the summer and migrated to California for the winter. After Elvin's death in 2023, Pauline relocated to Mechanicsburg, PA.

Drew Strayer is co-pastor with his wife, Millyellen, of Peace City (BIC) Church in Salem, OR. He is a graduate of Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) and obtained his MA in Organizational Leadership and Congregational Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.). He has used this background with churches, nonprofits, for-profit service organizations as well as county, state, and federal agencies. He thrives on the intersection of theory and practice where ideas are proven in real world contexts. Drew and Millyellen have two children, a son and a daughter. The family enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and gardening.  


Karah Leaman learned to care about underdog churches while serving at Soli Deo Mennonite Church in Halle, Germany, where she lived with her family from 2013 to 2019. Karah holds a degree in Music Education from Messiah University, and currently teaches music at Kraybill Mennonite School in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Bryan, along with their four children worship at Lancaster Brethren in Christ Church, where Bryan serves as Associate Pastor. The Leamans call Elizabethtown, PA, home. 

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