One of the things that’s been on my heart for a while is that, as a church, we would be training, developing and helping people to become missionaries, leaders, church planters and disciple-makers. We are St Barnabas’ Church, and Barnabas was one of the people in the Bible who was fundamental in encouraging, equipping and releasing people into all that God had made them to be, and helping them to discover who God had called them to be. Without Barnabas, Paul would have probably spent the rest of his life hiding in a cave in the desert, but Barnabas said to him, “Come on, now is the time”, and Paul went on to make an enormous impact for the Kingdom of God. I believe that we really are a Barnabas church and one aspect of that is what we are now calling “The Barnabas Team”. We are doing our best to equip young adults and students who we know, particularly through The Imagine Network (our student network), to discover all that God has called them to be and have a go at stuff. This year we are doing this for the first time, and have two young adults who have agreed to be our guinea pigs!
There are three parts to the year they are doing: part-time paid work; part-time unpaid ministry and part-time study. We are working on a framework of two days per week for each of those three parts. These two young adults have therefore already made a big sacrifice by cutting down the hours of paid work that they do in order to give lots of time to the Barnabas Team.
We asked them why they decided to make such a big decision:
I’ve been at university here in Launceston and was drawn to Barney’s for a number of reasons. Firstly, something new was happening here which made me curious. I came here and it was different to any other ministry I’ve been a part of which spoke to me a lot. Andy said at one stage that he was praying for a team of leaders to be part of student mission and discipleship. At the same time my heart was changing from wanting to do exercise physiology, which was what I was studying, to wanting to be working full time in the church. So I finished uni and this opportunity, although a surprise, made me really excited. Something I’m particularly excited about is learning how to do things differently and learning how to listen to God first. I’m really excited about the two days a week of study as it’s actually two days a week of learning to listen to God and getting to know him better!
I’m excited about this year because I can see loads of opportunities amongst students. There are people who want to grow closer to God but who need good role models in that area. I’m also excited by how Barney’s does church; not by one person leading everything, but by every person having a part and doing their part. I know that in other parts of the world this has led to a lot of church growth as it’s more dynamic and organic so I’m excited to see how that happens, and learn more how to do mission.
Please pray for the Barnabas Team as they start their year. Pray especially that they will have space to hear God and courage and boldness to do what he’s saying, and also that they will be able to trust God for everything this year.