Why We Must Have a Barnabas

Recently, I have been teaching through the Acts of the Apostles, and it has been fascinating and enlightening for me. I learned years ago that “the one teaches is the one who learns.”

If you want to learn, find a group or an individual with whom you can share your insight, understanding, and preparation.

Here is one of the valuable lessons I have learned by teaching through Acts.

Everyone needs a Barnabas.

Every church needs a Barnabas or as many as possible. Every denomination needs a Barnabas. By the way, “Barnabas” was a nickname. It means “Son of Encouragement.” His real name was Joseph, but his desire to please God and encourage others to please God as well gave him his nickname.

What does a Barnabas do?

First, a Barnabas sees what can happen and what a person can become. I’ve always been amazed at the ability of some people to see the potential of others. Good coaches see what can happen and what a rough prospect can be at some point in the future.

Barnabas saw something in Paul that others couldn’t see. Time and again, Barnabas introduced Paul to others. When the church grew in Antioch (Syria), Barnabas went to Tarsus to get Paul to help him lead the church. Most people think that Barnabas served as pastor of the church with Paul as his associate. What a church pastoral team!

Barnabas’ leadership in Antioch helped prepare Paul for what he would do for the rest of his life. It also grew and matured the church so that it could be the leading church in the world at that time. It was at Antioch that believers were first called Christians, a word meaning “belonging to the party of Christ” (Acts 11:26).

Antioch was also the place where the Holy Spirit began the Mediterranean mission effort. The Spirit told the church to set apart Paul and Barnabas to go to the world (Acts 13:1-3).

Second, a Barnabas sees what can happen when many people work together to accomplish a greater goal. Paul eventually eclipsed Barnabas in notoriety and significance. My guess is that never bothered Barnabas. He was all about the kingdom.

People in your church need you to be a Barnabas. I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where whining, complaining, or grumpiness is exalted. Instead, it is always condemned.

Your pastor needs you to be a Barnabas as well.

Sometimes we forget how important it is to be a Barnabas for our families.

We all need encouragement. May God help you and me to be those people.

3 Comments


  1. Judy Masterson
    Nov 16, 2017

    Thank you for reminding me of Barnabas. The Christian school our girls attended had a BARNABAS AWARD given at the end of athletic seasons along with MVP etc. The importance and satisfaction of the Barnabas award ranked right under there with MVP. I loved that about their sports program.


  2. Frank Shaw
    Nov 16, 2017

    “I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where whining, complaining, or grumpiness is exalted.“
    This is a classic statement if I ever saw one.
    Frank Shaw


  3. Mark Graham
    Nov 16, 2017

    What a wonderful concept of ministry! To help your brothers and sisters in Christ reach their fullest potential for the Kingdom. Seems to me there is a multiplication factor there that could turn the world upside down again.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

[The Birth of Jesus Foretold] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” — Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)