Timothy Culture Training

* Please use these resources to help prepare for your own missions trips and teams. They are free to everyone.

We believe after looking at the life of Barnabas you will want to say to him, “Barnabas you are such an encourager, such a connector, so flexible and so available. How did you get to be that way?”

Let’s look at his story together and see if we can figure that out.

Section 1 – Principles
First, a few questions to help clarify what you understand these Barnabas principles to mean. We will also ask you to return to these questions after going through this discussion/study and see if you look at each in a different way as a result of what you discover about Barnabas.

  1. What does it mean to be an encourager?
  2. Why is it difficult to be an encourager?
  3. What does it mean to be a connector?
  4. Why do we generally not live the life of a connector?
  5. What does it mean to be available?
  6. Why are Christ-followers not usually be seen as available?
  7. What does it mean to be flexible?
  8. Why is flexibility difficult to live out in our daily lives?

Section 2 – Passages
Take some time to read through each of these passages about Barnabas and consider the corresponding questions as you read. Write down or share your answers with each after reading each passage through a few times.

Read Acts 4:32-37
Ask: Why was what Barnabas did in this story so impactful that it ended up landing him a permanent nickname?

Read Acts 9:22-30
Ask: How important in the big picture of the New Testament is the connection that is made in this story and why does it matter?

Read Acts 11:19-30
Ask: What evidence is there in this story that Barnabas was both available and flexible?

Section 3 – Personal
This section is designed to give you an opportunity to see what the Lord is showing you personally in the life of Barnabas.

  1. What personal thoughts have you had so far about Barnabas as you have read a few stories from his life?
  2. Do any stories about people in your life that come to mind when you read about Barnabas?
  3. If so can you summarize those here or share a story with the group?

Section 4 – People
This video will give you a quick glimpse into the life of someone living out these Barnabas principles in our world today. We might not be able to sit and have coffee with Barnabas at this point, but we can be inspired by Diane’s story and see how God will be glorified in our life like he was in the life of Barnabas. Please watch this short interview and then answer a few questions about what you have seen.

WATCH Short Video on Small World Connections SWC YouTube Channel (11 minutes)
YouTube video titled: Small World Connections Timothy Culture Training – Video 1

  1. How do you see the Barnabas qualities (encourager, connector, flexible and available) lived out in the video you watched telling Diane’s story?
  2. What else stands out to you about Diane’s story?

Section 5 – Practical Points
In this last section, we will share a few points of intersection that we see between the stories of Barnabas and the goal we have to help connect a Timothy culture in the Church. In addition to these points, we will give some practical ways to apply these in the context of our ministry with Small World Connections and other mission efforts.

Barnabas brought a field
This simple yet extremely sacrificial act that we read about in Acts 4: 32-37 is so encouraging to the early believers and Jesus’s apostles specifically, that they begin to call this man Barnabas from that day forward. We never read about him in scripture again called anything except Barnabas which, as we are told, means Son of Encouragement. Where we might normally think of encouragement meaning someone who comes by your side and tells you that you are doing a great job or cheers you on when you want to give up, in this case the fact that Barnabas was doing exactly what Jesus had said to do in Luke 12:33 was a huge encouragement. He literally was selling his possession and giving it to those in need. It is easy to imagine the apostles seeing this and saying to themselves, the Lord has worked in this man and the Holy Spirit is guiding him to look more and more like Jesus. That was a huge encouragement and it gave him that identifying nickname from that day forward.

  1. Does the reaction of the Apostles surprise you as they see the action that Barnabas took and find it to be such an encouragement?
  2. What are some other reasons that this act might have been so encouraging to the apostles?

Barnabas built bridges
In the second passage we looked at about Barnabas we see that he is a connector that builds bridges where there are none. There have been many important introductions in history (John Lennon meeting Paul McCartney comes to mind) but perhaps none have changed the course of history more than the apostles first meeting Jesus and then the apostles meeting each other. In Acts 9:22-30 we see Barnabas step in and make sure that the apostles who had walked with Jesus understood that Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul) had also seen Jesus face to face and was one of them. We know the rest of the story now, but at the time nobody would have been able to imagine that Saul as the Apostle Paul would go on to reach the edges of the Roman world with the Gospel. They would have only been able to see the man who had persecuted their friends and families for following Jesus. Yet, Barnabas was there to build that bridge because he was trusted and could see the potential that God had put in these men if they would connect in leading the early Church. We can thank the Lord that he had Barnabas in the right place at the right time and that Barnabas was willing to put his own reputation on the line to make that connection.

  1. What are some reasons that we rarely see someone go out of their way to introduce people who might be able to help and serve each other within the Church?
  2. What do you think Barnabas was motivated by in this story?

Barnabas was available and flexible
Something was going on in Antioch. In the Acts 11:19-30 passage, we see that persecution has scattered the believers as they spread out from Jerusalem. The believers who went to Antioch of Syria were seeing gentiles come to faith in the Lord as the Holy Spirit moved. This was reported back to the apostles in Jerusalem, they looked around for a person they could send to check it out and there was Barnabas the Son of Encouragement. This looked like a chance for Barnabas to shine, as he willingly went when called and saw many come to faith in Christ. Yet, when the task seemed like it required someone with gifts and talents that were different than his, Barnabas took a road trip, went and found Saul, and brought him back to help. They worked there side by side for a year and the result of their ministry was so powerful that at Antioch we received our nickname too. Believers in Jesus were called Christians there for the first time. There we began to be known simply as little Christs. It might take a little effort to see it, but after Barnabas was available to be sent to the mission field he was also flexible and adjusted to the situation without regard for getting the credit himself for the results in Antioch.

  1. Was it that model and inspiration that God used to grow a church that would soon be identified as looking like Jesus? We believe that Barnabas is a great example of availability and flexibility in ministry.
  2. What do you think Barnabas would say if you asked him what was most valuable to him and why do you think that would be his answer?
  3. What are a few things that you must be willing to give up if you are going to be available and flexible in the same way Barnabas was in these stories?

Barnabas – Encourager, Connector, Flexible, and Available Relationship Application Opportunities:
a. Barnabas had a reputation for encouraging others, but we know it was not just empty words. His actions, like selling a field to give money to the needy, matched his words and intentions.
b. Find ways to involve others in the work you’re doing and see how God uses the concept of synergy to accomplish more than either person could do on their own.
c. Paul and Barnabas may not have known each other well before their mission trip, but God had good plans for this. See each teammate you have as a relationship God coordinated and you will likely serve Him better as a result.
d. Instead of arriving in Antioch ready to judge or correct, Barnabas saw the good work God was doing and his response was to encourage.

Return to our initial questions under Section 1- Principles and see if you would answer those any differently. Use the space below to highlight your change in perspective on those questions.