Here are testimonies of two people who joyfully serve in Barnabas Ministries. Prayerfully consider joining us!
God tugged on my heartstrings to stretch my faith. The ministry was Barnabas and I was skeptical. "Really Lord?" I thought. "Volunteering with disabled children?" I had zero experience but God showed me ‘you don’t need experience, only love!’ In obedience, I walked through the door into the Barnabas Ministry and it has impacted my life and faith in ways I never knew possible. I have been immeasurably blessed in a ministry where no experience is necessary – just a love for God’s precious children.
For more than 12 years, my wife Kathy and I, have enjoyed our part in the Barnabas Ministry. While she helps with the little kids I help out with the adults, whom I have seen grow and mature - not only physically, but also in their individual spiritual lives as well. I can site a number of examples of individuals who have grown from superficial Sunday attendance to a deeper and meaningful relationship with the Lord. It is evident in the prayer time we share where we hear firsthand their prayers and petitions to the Lord Jesus. Truly a blessing.
More About Serving in Barnabas
Most of our volunteers come to us with no background in disability, but sense God’s calling to serve Him in this unique ministry. We have had volunteers come from Senior High, College, and Singles as well as several couples and some families who want to serve together. Usually they come and learn, fall in love with our kids and realize what a privilege it is to be a part of the spiritual growth and encouragement of the kids and their families. Often, the volunteers mention that they are the ones being blessed!
Frequently, our families come to us very needy and in many different stages, requiring us to give what only the Holy Spirit can do through us. We want our volunteers to weekly attend worship and maintain a growing, living, personal, relationship with Christ. They are to be praying for the students and their families and be ready to serve by conscientiously preparing and offering their best. Our families and students need to be able to depend upon us in order for them to attend, so we need to be reliable, leaning on one another, making our role in the Barnabas ministry a high priority.
All Barnabas volunteers participate in a day long training in the fall where we begin our time together with a testimony or inspirational piece reminding all of us of Christ’s call on our lives and how He would have us minister. We then move on to focus on general disability information, using a variety of training approaches – local speakers, DVDs; several different resources. We have one of our Registered Nurses review safety procedures like Heimlich Maneuver, CPR, how to use the Epi Pen and what an asthma attack and seizures look like. We plan out the year, selecting curriculum and dividing up tasks. Each department discusses their specific students and the challenges they bring. We get up to speed on church procedures and paperwork and take a look at upcoming events. For continuing education, we like to add an inspirational or nformational speaker once or twice a year. Also updated information will be distributed on Sunday mornings or through email. At the close of the year which is around Memorial Day we enjoy a wrap up luncheon celebrating the year and sharing vision.
If you are interested looking into the possibility of becoming a Barnabas Volunteer, included below are a number of downloads pertinent to volunteering. Contact me with your questions at 612 869-8803 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can set up an informal interview and make arrangements for a walk through of our program.
Resource Links for Barnabas Volunteers:
Barnabas Bathroom Policy
Communication Tips for People with Disabilities
Disability Etiquette for Ushers and Greeters
How Disabilities Impact Families
Jesus, Our Model, in Ministry to the Disabled
Loving the Family Through the Diagnosis
Some Biblical Perspective When Ministering to People with Disabilities
The Barnabas Volunteer – A Spiritual Commitment!
The Inclusion Volunteer
Tips for Volunteers
Volunteer Staff Application
When a Volunteer Needs to Talk to a Parent