March 6, 2015
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Barnabas Ministry


For more information, contact Gary Rickman, Tennessee Baptist Convention, 371-2020 or (800) 558-2090, ext. 2020 or e-mail: 

About the Barnabas Ministry

The New Testament character named Barnabas was known to be an encourager. That aspect of his character is revealed in his treatment of the young man named John Mark.You remember that John Mark had set out with Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary trip (Acts 13:5).For some unexplained reason, John Mark turned back and never completed the journey (Acts 13:13).Apparently Paul interpreted that decision as a failure, and when time came for a second missionary trip, though Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance, Paul protested and ultimately the two great men of God went in separate directions.Paul took with him Silas.Barnabas took John Mark with him (Acts 15:36-40).As much as we admire Paul, we see that it was Barnabas who demonstrated the spirit of Christian grace and forgiveness in this particular incident.We are glad he did.If he had not, the gospel of Mark might never have been written.Aren't' you glad that Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance?God revealed in Jesus Christ is the God of a second chance?That's what the Barnabas Ministry is all about.It is a ministry to ministers whom, for some reason, have "turned back," figuratively speaking.

Why Ministers Fail 

Ministers fail for different reasons.Sometimes moral issues are involved.However, in the majority of cases, termination results from failures in relationships: personality conflicts, power or control issues and failures in communication.Ministerial stress and burnout are also factors that sometime lead to termination.When termination occurs, ministers and their families often experience the isolation of being "cut loose" from the financial, emotional and spiritual anchors of their life.They are in desperate need of help and encouragement.They need the support of a loving fellowship and a mentor pastor who can help them understand what happened and how to learn and live through it and go on to the second journey. 


In this relationship, there will be a Barnabas Church and a Barnabas Mentor/Pastor who will commit to provide a ministry to ministers who have been terminated by their churches.The state convention will administer this ministry from the office of Church-Ministers relations in the Leadership Development Group.

Role of the Tennessee Baptist Convention 

In keeping with our belief that the local church is autonomous, our role as the TBC Executive Board Ministries is one of support and encouragement.We realize, however, because of our commitment to healthy/redemptive Church-Staff relationships, we are in a strategic position to take initiatives that promote Kingdom-work that reaches, teaches and touches people's lives.

Our role in The Barnabas Ministry includes:

  • Enlist churches and pastors to participate in this ministry.

  • Conduct career assessments for candidates and provide and/or refer for counseling when deemed appropriate.

  • Share name of candidate and all information with Barnabas Pastor, and get his authorization to proceed with the referral; follow up with an official letter to the pastor and church.

  • Notify candidate of referral.

  • Provide financial assistance for a period of up to six months, to be paid directly to the church for payment to the participant.

  • Provide financial assistance to maintain/secure insurance for six months.

  • Provide a recommended reading list to help stimulate renewal and professional growth.

  • Stay in dialogue with participant, church, pastor and process.

  • Be available to mediate any dispute between the pastor and participant (with final word belonging to the pastor).

  • Place resumes before congregations.

Role of the Barnabas Church/Pastor 

1.Preliminary Considerations.

  • A background check on all candidates (which may include checking references, talking with DOM in association in which candidate served, checking on candidate's previous places of service, etc.) is recommended prior to establishing relationship.

  • It is incumbent upon the Mentor-Pastor to inform his church, in a manner that he deems appropriate, concerning this ministry.The Barnabas Pastor will also be responsible for informing the congregation about each candidate who will be in relationship with the church.This should be done only after referrals from the Church-Ministers Relations office, a background check, and interview between candidate and host pastor.

  • It should be clearly understood by the church that the terminated minister would be assigned responsibilities as a member of the church staff (volunteer or paid).

  • The decision to commit to this ministry should be bathed in prayer.

2.Provide a temporary position with ministry title (volunteer or paid).

  • This will allow for ministry gifts to be utilized and will aid the rebuilding of self-esteem.

  • This will further expedite the transition to a new permanent position.Churches are reluctant to consider people who are unemployed in ministry.

  • This position will be low profile and will allow maximum flexibility to the participant.

3.Provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support during transition.

  • If possible, the church will provide a stipend, plus help (if applicable) in locating temporary housing.

  • Outside employment with businesses owned or operated by church members may be arranged.

  • The pastor and/or church staff will be available to the participant and family for counsel, fellowship, mentoring, accountability, friendship and encouragement.

  • The pastor and church staff will encourage the participant and family to take full advantage of the spiritual resources of the church, including worship, Bible study, church recreation and fellowship.

  • The pastor and/or church staff would enter into an accountability covenant with the participant for the purpose of redemption, recovery and transition.

  • Any ministry opportunity outside the local church must be done in consultation with Barnabas Pastor.

4.Provide assistance in relocation and transition to new ministry.

  • The participant would be allowed to list The Barnabas Church as current employer and would be given the privilege of receiving and returning calls from the church office.

  • The pastor would agree to speak candidly to churches that inquire about the participant's availability.

  • If questions arise concerning the termination, they will be referred to the Church-Ministers Relations office or to the pastor of The Barnabas Church and will be dealt with candidly and redemptively.

  • Any recommendation must be honest and fair, but have the intent of positive restoration.


Role of the Terminated Minister 

The candidate for the Barnabas Ministry will be considered by the Church-Ministers Relations office as a minister who is serious about continuing in ministry.He should understand that the desire of the convention and the Barnabas Church and Pastor is to make this experience, as far as possible, a time for renewal and restoration to ministry.In order for this to be successful, the candidate will agree to the following:

  • Enter into the program with deep commitment.

  • Engage in career assessment.

  • Entry point: complete reflective document re: "What Happened?'

  • All information will be disclosed to the Barnabas Pastor.

  • Sign covenant agreement.

  • Declare financial status.

  • Follow leadership of the Barnabas Pastor.

  • Meet weekly with Barnabas Pastor or designee (dialog about ministry, readings, etc.)

  • Must see his role as a minister in the fullest extent, and must have a servant attitude under the oversight of the pastor or designee.

  • Intentionally relate to church staff for counsel, fellowship, mentoring, accountability, friendship and encouragement.

For more information, contact Gary Rickman, Tennessee Baptist Convention, 371-2020 or (800) 558-2090, ext. 2020 or e-mail:

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