Being Barnabas. What does it mean?
Names are important as they give us a sense of identity. When our children were born we prayed about what we should name them and Rach and I would definitely perceive that their names have fed into their identities as they have grown.
Barnabas according to Acts 4:36 means ‘son of encouragement’, but the Aramaic root of the name ‘bar naivya” means son of the prophet. Now if you’re a prophetic type you will know that 1 Corinthians 14 tells us that encouragement is a major part of prophecy and whenever we prophecy we should do so in a way that at minimum should encourage that person towards God and not away from Him
For the past year this is a theme we’ve returned to again and again when praying about Barnabas. Over the last two leaders retreats we’ve felt the Spirit nudge us in leading us to reflect on this identity. What does it mean to be a Barnabas? Yes we have churches that our part of our family but we also have individuals who are not part of those churches who very much consider themselves part of us…. that makes them Barnabas’s too! We are currently influencing nations through ‘The Turning’, seeing believers in churches in towns and cities in Germany, Scotland, Wales, England, step out onto the streets to proclaim the gospel. As I write this we only finished our first mission to London 3 days ago. Over 7 hours of outreach 1144 people prayed and asked Jesus to be their Saviour. In Germany earlier this month over 300 people prayed to receive Christ. The German leaders and pastors were blown away by what they saw. Nations have been encouraged that the gospel still has power, in fact it never lost it.
We’d put to you though that we are only scratching the surface of what Father would do with sons and daughters that will give themselves over to prophetic encouragement that means hope is built, dreams are birthed and people step into their heavenly identity.
Barnabas did this with Saul/Paul- He saw what other people didn’t, he served Paul at the expense of what could have been ‘his’ own ministry, he made a way for Paul to come together and build trust with a group of people that were to turn the world upside down and he did so in such a way that God got all the glory. This world is crying out for such people. In a time of negativity, polarising opinions and mistrust, there has never been more of a need for a movement of Barnabas’s to be raised up to encourage the world towards something different.
At the leaders retreat in August we shared four things that we think mean you might be (or might want to be) a Barnabas. We’ve included them here for you to reflect on. Is this something you feel Father is calling you towards? If it is let us know. Let a generation of encouragers emerge!
- Being a Barnabas means walking in humility and showing generosity where ever you can.
- Being a Barnabas means living a prophetic lifestyle where you take risks for the sake of the kingdom
- Being a Barnabas means seeking for and advocating unity in the Body of Christ
- Being a Barnabas means raising others up to live in the fullness of their identity in Christ
Gareth and Rachel Owen