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hope for churches in stress


Barnabas Initiatives is pleased to recommend specialists of proven character and ability in a specialized skill(s). Every specialist has a heart for churches that are disadvantaged, under-resourced, or simply ordinary. All bring specialized training and wisdom to bear on the hopes, concerns, and challenges of a local church or faith community. Each specialists offers insights, wisdom, and training for specific stressors or aims.

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Les Cool is the lead pastor of Grace Evangelical Congregational Church in Akron (Pa.) and the Kingdom Extension Associate of the Evangelical Congregational Church. In over 30 years of ministry, Les has been a youth pastor, church planter, and lead pastor. As a coach, Les is accredited by the International Coach Federation, specializing in pastoral and leader care and development. He is also is a certified end-of-life coach and a GRIP-Birkman certified coach, providing personal and team assessments for leadership and ministry development. 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. Les, along with his wife Carol, fleshes out the gifts of mercy and hospitality, using both to develop relationships for Kingdom growth.

Les's special interests include: pastoral care and encouragement, leader and team development, and GRIP-Birkman assessments. He is available for customized training events in the areas of: 


  • GRIP Spiritual Gifts and Team Styles

  • Telling HIS Story Using Your Story

  • Pastoral Self Care

  • Birkman Team Development

  • Developing a Coaching Culture

Ling Dinse is Assistant Professor in Counseling and Social work at Lancaster Bible College (Lancaster, Pa.). Ling was the congregational counselor at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ (BIC) Church for 17 years, serving the church and community. Originally from Hong Kong, Ling attended Houghton College and completed both her B.A. (1993) and MSW (1996) degrees at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Ling received her doctorate of social work (2018) degree at Millersville University, Millersville (Pa.). Ling and her husband, Dan, have two daughters, Erica and Elaina.


Ling is active as a speaker in the areas of racial reconciliation, marriage enrichment, parenting, social justice, and poverty.  

Hank Johnson is Lead Pastor at Harrisburg BIC Church (HBIC), an urban and multiethnic church. Hank has served at camps, community and youth centers, and in 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 of directors. 

Hank is available to tell the story of HBIC's transition from an all-white to multicultural church, lay the biblical foundation for racial reconciliation, describe dynamics in a multicultural church, and talk about engagement with youth and young adults in the current context. 


Kenneth Nafziger is a medical doctor who turned his eye toward pastoral ministry in mid-career. He earned his MD from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and practice Family Medicine for 25 years. He received an Mdiv and MAR from Evangelical Seminary (Myerstown, Pa.). Pastor experiences include teaching in Ethiopia, serving as Executive Pastor of Timberline Church, an Anabaptist congregation near Strasburg (Pa.), as well as various administrative and teaching roles at Evangelical Seminary. He currently serves as an elder at Timberlline Church and is Director of Lifelong Learning and Director of the Center for Anabaptist Studies at Evangelical Seminary. Ken and his wife, Pheobe, live near Quarryville (Pa.). They have three children and five grandchildren.


Ken's interest include helping congregation navigate current bioethical issues from a historically orthodox and biblical perspective. Topics may include: dying with dignity, gender identity concerns, same sex marriage, and other issues of human sexuality. owth.

Pauline Peifer is the Director of Awaken, a network for Brethren in Christ Women in Ministry and Leadership. She is a registered nurse and licensed nursing home administrator. After graduation from Messiah College, she had a 30 year career as a healthcare educator and executive director of a retirement community in north central Pennsylvania.

For 25 years, Pauline and her first husband, Dale Allison, served as the pastoral couple in Refton, Pa.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Calgary, Alberta; Elizabethtown, Pa.; and Cedar Grove in Mifflintown, Pa. After his untimely death from a brain tumor, Pauline worked full-time in HealthCare Administration. 


In 2003 after participating on the launch team of a church plant in Millerstown, Pa. God specifically led Pauline to make a mid-career decision to leave health care and enter full-time ministry. She completed the Directed Study Program with the BIC, receiving her ministerial license and later ordination. She served as associate and executive pastor at Grantham (Pa.) Church and then was named as the first woman bishop in the BIC with administrative oversight of 45 churches in the Atlantic Conference.


Pauline is married to Elvin Peifer who is now retired after serving 16 years as the CEO of the Brethren in Christ Foundation. They are the parents of a blended family of 5 children (one deceased) and 14 grandchildren.

Pauline's special interests include: 

  • Retreats and Seminars - Facing Life Crises, Grief and Loss,
    Mid-Career Changes, Embracing Personal Challenges, Women’s Issues

  • Empowering Women in Ministry - How to Engage and Equip women in the church

  • Women and Men Serving collaboratively and successfully in the Church

  • Restoration of Health in Ministry Leadership

  • Pastoral Staff Issues

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Drew Strayer is co-founding pastor of Peace City Church, an emerging faith community in Salem (Ore.) along with his wife, Millyellen. Before this, Drew served as Pastor of Community Groups at Manor Church (BIC) in Lancaster (Pa.). 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 school-age children. The family enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and gardening, especially in Oregon.


Drew's specialized interests include: organizational leadership, workplace communication, decision-making process, congregational change, and conflict transformation. 

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