The purpose of these devotions is to provide a resource of thought-provoking inspiration for youth leaders. The meditations are intended to open a group meeting for adults. Board meetings might take place online or in-person, weekly or monthly or quarterly. Regardless of specifics, an opening devotion serves to orient the group around the task at hand, emphasizing the importance of putting our minds on God first and foremost.
Support and Stability
And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
As ministry leaders, it is important to recognize who we can mentor and serve as “Timothy-type” protégés. However, it is also essential to have people in our lives who can encourage and guide us. We need mentors, whether they are fellow workers or older experienced people. We need friends and supportive advisors. God never intended for us to be isolated in our lives or in our work. He created us as relational beings, and when we collaborate with others, we have greater potential to serve Him. In ministry, we need “Timothy” figures to guide. We also need “Barnabas” types who can come alongside us and provide the nourishment of counsel and friendship.
As we examine Paul’s life and ministry, Barnabas stands out as a mentor and teammate. It was Barnabas who vouched for Paul early on, when the disciples were skeptical of the authenticity of his conversion. Barnabas provided Paul with mentoring and counsel in the faith. He gave guidance and encouragement as Paul began his work to establish the early Christian church. Barnabas accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and helped defend Gentile converts against the Judaizers. The relationship he had with Paul was both mentor and friend, and both men benefited from their work together.
Ministry is tough. It’s essential to have others who can work with us and lift us up. We need teammates to point us back to Jesus and remind us of God’s truths and promises. These relationships might take place with more experienced leaders in roles above us. They might also include co-workers and friends that surround us. God places intentional mentors in our lives. Sometimes these are obviously appointed, and other times we might need to seek them out. For mental health and effectiveness of our vocations, it is essential that we identify people who we can trust to stand with us and support us in ministry.
Questions to Consider
- Do you have a “Barnabas” in your life? How did this role develop?
- How can you create an atmosphere of honesty and accountability among fellow workers?
- Who do you look up to for positive faith examples?
You have created us as relational creatures. Thank you for giving us mentors and companions along this journey of life and ministry. Please lead us to those who would speak encouragement and inspiration to us as we continue serving you and others. Remind us that we are meant to love and nurture one another. As we work together for you, provide us with united vision and hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.