What is Operation Barnabas?
By Heath Jarrett
Over the past couple of weeks, we've heard a little about a group called Operation Barnabas coming to assist us in putting on a Vacation Bible School as an outreach to our community. The question is, What is Operation Barnabas?
Operation Barnabas stems from the association of Charis Fellowship churches in the US (to which we belong). It “is a three week high school summer ministry training program equipping [high school] students to live ON MISSION through evangelism training, character development, and servant-leadership. . . A person who lives ON MISSION is one who knows Jesus, is becoming like Jesus, shares Jesus, and is helping others be like Jesus!”
As you read this, there are 60 high school students and a dozen adults meeting in Southern California for Operation Barnabas orientation. The group is comprised of students and leaders from western, central, and eastern states as well as two foreign countries. Soon, they will split into two teams and do ministry up and down California, from beach towns in the south to LA's Skid Row and Hollywood, San Francisco, Chico, and many places in between.
Having raised their own support to cover costs ($2275 each), “the intense United States-based training and travel equips students to share their faith, perform in music, dance, drama, share their testimonies, be actively engaged in a discipleship group, and serve alongside local churches.”
In this immersive environment, students participating in Operation Barnabas “are coached and equipped in hands-on ministry opportunities . . . to help students effectively minister to others” and “to put what students are learning immediately into practice whether that be in manual labor, park programs, interacting with people at restaurants, in church programs, and so much more.”
This hands-on training for ministry is something YOU too can be a part of while the team is here. Operation Barnabas’s visit is an opportunity for US to be further equipped and advance in our ability to minister to kids in our church and our neighborhood. Volunteer to greet, assist teachers, play games, or open your home to provide showers for some of the students.
One thing we all can do is pray that the Lord will use this VBS to minister to kids and families. And, of course, invite neighbor kids, grandchildren and any others you know!
*quotes taken from operationbarnabas.net