Are You A Barney?
Barnabas is found mostly in the book of Acts. He bears the nickname as the “Son of Encouragement.” We could consider Paul and Barnabas as “Batman and Robin” of the early church due to their successful partnership in the first missionary journey. I consider Barnabas (Barney) the first youth worker in the Bible.
Acts 15 finds Barney deciding to take a youth who failed him and Paul miserably a few years prior and mentors him in ministry. Barney’s decision broke his fellowship with Paul and he is not heard from much after that point in the New Testament. However, Paul does talk about Mark many times in the New Testament, later calling him “very useful in my ministry” and calls him to his deathbed.
Barney’s decision to mentor Mark enabled a major leader in the church to find his wings. Mark is attributed with writing the Gospel bearing his name and is widely considered as the main source of both Matthew and Luke’s gospel.
If Barney decided to follow Paul’s lead and not allow Mark back into ministry, perhaps the apostle Paul would not have had him by his side at his deathbed (there was only Timothy and Mark as recorded in Timothy’s letters) and perhaps we would be missing out on 75% of the Gospel accounts.
I write this to exhort you (and myself) to reach out and be an encourager to all of the youth that pass through our doors. As in the story of Barnabas, his embracing of the young Mark enabled ministry to grow onto future generations. Likewise, when we choose to encourage youth, we embrace Barnabas’ calling and could make a ton of difference to one of our youth.