Back when I was writing up the core values and vision of Hill City Church—what dorks church planters can be with all their visionizing!—I came up with something cool. I thought it was original, and of course it’s not. It was about discipleship. I wrote that, ideally, everyone in the church would be both a Paul and a Timothy. Every Paul would have a Timothy, and every Timothy would have a Paul. Everyone would seek out someone less mature than they are, and pour themselves into them like Paul poured himself into Timothy. Everyone would also seek out someone more mature than them, and insist that that person pour themselves into them.
Pretty cool, huh?
I forgot at least one big role that we all need. I forget who it was that brought this to light for me. But I experienced it last night, and it struck me afresh how vital this role is in the life of any Christian, and especially church planters.
Barnabas. Everyone needs not just a Paul, and not just a Timothy. Everyone also needs a Barnabas.
Barnabas was the encourager. Not the disciple. Not the discipler. Of course, he himself was both of these. But his overwhelming contribution to those around him—especially the ‘apostolic’ types who are always starting new things, taking risks, and getting disappointed when those ventures don’t cash out in the way they imagine—was to be an encourager.
My Barnabas eats frozen pizza with me. He meets burns the midnight oil with me in order to burn away my discouragement. He preaches the authentic gospel to me when I’ve been preaching phony gospels to myself. He grabs my identity by the scruff of the neck and slams it (gently, of course) back into Jesus Christ when it has become parasitic on the applause of others. He drinks beer with me even though he doesn’t like beer. He has a well-tuned BS Detector, but he wields it kindly.
You can’t afford to not have a Barnabas.
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