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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 their 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.

Special Interests

  • Pastoral care and encouragement

  • Leader and team development

  • GRIP-Birkman assessments


Customized Training Events

  • GRIP Spiritual Gifts and Team Styles

  • Telling HIS Story Using Your Story

  • Pastoral Self Care

  • Birkman Team Development

  • Developing a Coaching Culture


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.

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

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 pre-school 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. 

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 (at good times), they live in Pennsylvania in the summer and migrate to California for the winter.  

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