A Barnabas assumes that God has different plans for different people. What one person is supposed to do isn’t necessarily the same as what another person is supposed to do. Barnabas recognized this as he helped establish Paul among the apostles (Acts 9:26-28). We also see him come alongside the gospel-writer Mark and help him take steps to live fully into God’s plan (Acts 15:39). Barnabas was made for discipleship.
Jesus also demonstrated individual callings in his interaction with the man healed from demon possession:
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you (Mark 5:18-19).One of the great roles of a Barnabas is helping people through a discernment process-- providing a sounding board as people listen for the voice of God. Click To Tweet
Discipleship helps people discover their gifts and their calling
One of the great roles of a Barnabas is helping people through a discernment process– providing a sounding board as people listen for the voice of God. Consider some of the following questions:
- What have you been hearing from God?
- What priorities are you sensing that God is shifting your focus toward?
- What are the next steps for you in your journey of discipleship?
- What would move you closer to God?
We often don’t ask ourselves these questions– we need someone else to ask us them. And when they do, we are often stopped short with the insights it brings out of us. We sometimes aren’t even aware we’re ruminating on something until another person’s question helps us put words to it.
Coming alongside someone, helping them hear from God, and discerning next steps toward what God has for them. This is discipleship.Coming alongside someone, helping them hear from God, and discerning next steps toward what God has for them. This is discipleship. Click To Tweet
The Barnabas Discipleship Model in Action
One pastor who incorporated Barnabas skills into her church’s discipleship approach put it this way, “I believe we were already postured to listen to the Holy Spirit, but intentional Barnabas ministry has taken that to a new level. It’s put structure and words to how we go about listening to God and how we draw one another out as we process what we are hearing from God.”
She found that taking a Barnabas posture of asking powerful questions and listening dramatically impacted discipleship relationships in the church, especially for people who were newer to the faith. Asking questions in the context of community provides a safety net as they are learning to discern God’s voice. Rather than trying to hear from God on their own, they can learn to do it alongside others, checking what they are hearing and learning. As a result, the new disciples are growing stronger and learning how to discern God’s voice alongside others. The structure provides some direction– but without being directive.
Discipleship is encouraging people to take their next step toward Jesus. How could you incorporate Barnabas skills into the way you (or even your church) approaches discipleship?
Be an intentional encourager in Christ this week, particularly when it comes to helping people along their journey of discipleship.
The Discipleship Difference- This book lays out an intentional, holistic, and relational approach to discipleship that is individualized to meet each person wherever they are. Available in English and Spanish.
The Discipleship Cycle- This FREE downloadable resource will help you create an action plan to help you determine your next steps to grow and multiply disciples using the Discipleship Cycle in your ministry.
Map of Discipleship- This map is a FREE downloadable resource that will help you assess where someone currently is in their journey of discipleship as well as where God may be prompting them to grow next.