Other posts in this series: Barnabas and Paul – Part 1
Previously, we learned some lessons from the mentoring relationship of Barnabas and Paul about being an encourager, believing in people when others won’t, and being willing to take a risks with others. Here are a few more lessons from these men:
1. Barnabas involved Saul in what God was doing in Antioch (Acts 11:19-30).
God was really blessing in Antioch. Barnabas was sent by the church at Jerusalem to investigate and encourage the disciples there. When Barnabas saw what was going on, he departed to Tarsus to seek Saul. He found Saul and brought him to Antioch.
At Antioch, Barnabas got Saul involved in the work. Saul was one of the leaders and teachers in the church. The two of them assembled themselves with the church for a whole year. Saul was no doubt a huge help giving the gospel to the Grecians and the Gentiles. Later, they believed in Saul so much that he was chosen by the church to go with Barnabas to take the relief money to the saints in Jerusalem.
- Mentors find a place for others to get involved.
- Mentors seek out those they are training and help them to get experience doing real ministry.
- Mentors don’t have to do everything themselves. They see the strengths of others and let them use their gifts and abilities.
2. Barnabas was willing to allow Paul to become the prominent figure and lead missionary (Acts 13).
The leadership of the church at Antioch had expanded from Barnabas and Saul to include Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen (13:1). Barnabas and Saul were called by God to leave the church for missionary service (Acts 13:2-4).
In the beginning, Barnabas was the leader, but Saul rapidly became the leader. Barnabas is mentioned first in Acts 13 verses 1,2, and 7. But in Acts 13:8-9, Saul (Paul) speaks up when Elymas withstood them. From that point on Paul is mentioned first (Acts 13:13,16,43,46,50). In Acts 14:12, he is called the chief speaker. Paul eventually got to the place where he was no longer dependent on Barnabas and was willing to separate from him (Acts 15:36-39).
Barnabas had done his job. Paul had grown, gained experience and confidence. God used Paul to such a degree that he even passed up his mentor. The rest of the book of Acts is all about Paul and his ministry, but where would Paul have have been without Barnabas?
- Let others get involved and create a culture of mentoring and training others.
- Before you can move on, you need to train a man or men to take your place.
- Don’t be so insecure that you can’t shift from leader to follower.
- The important thing is that the work gets done.
- We are mentoring not just to serve but to lead.
- We are a success when we have trained a man to take our place.
- If we cannot retreat into the shadows, we will not be able to train strong leaders.
- We have to encourage them and then let them lead.
- There may come a point where we must pass them off to other mentors for further training and they pass us up.