In the biblical account of the early Church, I am drawn to Barnabas.
Barnabas was known for his encouragement, generosity, faith, and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:36-37; 11:24). He was specially gifted to stir hope, confidence, and courage; to motivate; and to assist in new endeavors.
When a band of believers emerged in Antioch, an outlying location, Barnabas was sent to shape the fledgling group into a church. He encouraged the believers, recruited an associate, and nurtured an outward outlook (Acts 11:19-30).
This venture resulted in a wider initiative to start new churches, with Barnabas working together with Paul (Acts 13-14). An active advocate for developing churches (Acts 15:1-38), Barnabas was also ardent in encouraging, mentoring and, as needed, defending emerging leaders (Acts 9:26-27; 15:36-39).
For his work in extending and strengthening the Church, Barnabas was recognized as an apostle (1 Cor. 9:1-6). By his formative impact on the apostle Paul and evangelist John Mark, Barnabas contributed to the writing of a major portion of the New Testament--the Gospel of Mark and the letters of Paul.
Inspired by this apostle of encouragement, I hope to serve the Church today like Barnbas did in his day. As a venue for this sevice, I am pleased to introduce a new ministry called Barnabas Initiatives.
The purpose of Barnabas Initiatives is to strengthen the life and mission of the Christian faith community by encouraging and equipping new ventures to revitalize churches and ministries.