Barnabas, Christian Mentor

Posted by Elizabeth Pearce on Sat, Jun 11, 2011 @ 06:55 AM

Today, June 11th,  is St Barnabas day, the saints day of the best known Christian mentor. There are several mentors in the bible, but the two mentoring  relationships that draw the most attention are Barnabas and Paul and later, Barnabas and Timothy.  Barnabas was a traditional Jew, but had been raised on Cypress in a multi-cultural environment quite different for that of other early Jewish followers of Jesus.

Paul was, of course, a former persecutor of the church.  He had a divine experience on the Damascus Road which changed his life forever. Nevertheless, the more traditionally Jewish followers of Jesus were uncomfortable with Paul becoming a missionary.  Paul was only able to gain the commission with the support of Barnabas, who agreed to go with Paul on his mission and act as a Christian mentor.

Paul and Barnabas were sent out from the same church ministry in Acts 13. They traveled, taught and served God together. They were friends and without a doubt, the Christian mentor relationship was mutually enjoyable for both.  Barnabas was an outstanding model of a sponsor and Christian mentor for Paul. 

Barnabas and Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor starting and establishing churches.  Paul’s letters to the churches he founded, as well to his ministry companions, take up nearly one-third of the New Testament. After their trip, they ended up back in Antioch and abode there a long time with the disciples according to Acts 14:28.

Barnabas was also the Christian mentor for Timothy, who was his nephew.  Timothy traveled with Paul and Barnabas for a while, then got tired of the challenges of being a missionary and left for Pamphylia. Later, when Timothy wanted to return to the missionary life, Paul was unwilling to have Timothy rejoin him.

This created a rift between Barnabas and Paul, with Barnabas choosing to leave Paul to give Timothy a second chance.  Timothy would, ultimately, become a successful missionary, and is remembered today as the author of letters included in the New Testament. Later Paul would call him a spiritual son. But it was Barnabas acted as a Christian mentor, offering Timothy the second chance and coaching him in becoming a successful missionary. (Barnabas is the Patron Saint of Cypress and unofficially the Patron Saint of Teachers who offer teens second chances.)

Mentor Resources has software tools for variety of types of mentoring.  While our primary focus is corporate mentoring programs, we also sell WisdomShare® software to government agencies, professional organization, college alumni programs and churches interested in running Christian mentoring programs for several hundred pairs.

Topics: NGO