Yeah, it’s a strange name. Barnabas–known to early Christians as a partner in ministry of the the apostle Paul–is known to us as “the son of encouragement.” What a great way to define and describe the work of campus ministry! A big part of what those called to serve students, staff and faculty at institutions of higher education do involves encouraging others: encouraging students through those early bouts of homesickness, encouraging staff to conduct themselves with honor and dignity when others take their work for granted, encouraging faculty to tend to their spiritual well-being in a hyper-competitive environment that rewards one-dimensional living.
Opportunities abound on campus to practice encouragement, and so that is what I intend to do in this space during the coming weeks and months: encourage others, mostly college students, to seek healing and wholeness in the midst of their journey.
Journey. That’s another word that connects Barnabas with campus life. The earliest followers of Jesus were on a journey of sorts, moving from the Judaism in which they had been rooted to a new form of faith that was about to spread around the world. Students are on a journey, too, one that requires them to make sense of their past even as they venture toward the new lives they are building for themselves.
The Barnabas Blog is here to offer encouragement to those who are moving into new, uncharted territories, making new friends, encountering new ideas and navigating new challenges. It’s here to encourage you as you discover who you are, discern your purpose in life, and decide who you choose to love and allow to love you.
And, as one pretty decent “son of encouragement”–known to us as Forrest Gump–once put it: “That’s all I have to say about that.”