The Disappearance of Barnabas

I want to teach you a dance move. That’s right, a dance move. At Mission we call it the Barnie Boogie. Chances are you’ve been caught doing the electric slide at a wedding - just own it. You take 3 steps to the right, 3 steps to the left and then the Barnie Boogie begins.


You take 3 steps back. Done. That’s it. That’s the whole move.


Here’s why it’s called the Barnie Boogie.


The leadership of Barnabas is my favorite chapter in the story of Paul. It starts in Acts 9:26, 27 when Barnabas sticks his neck out for Paul. Paul (then Saul) is about to join the disciples who are deathly afraid of him - literally. He’d been killing Christians. And Barnabas steps in and takes a risk for Paul. I like to say taking a risk ON someone makes you a strategist. Taking a risk FOR someone makes you a servant. This is just the beginning of the story...

Let me now fast forward through it:

Acts 11:25,26 - Barnabas goes to Paul and brings him to Antioch. This is when & where followers of Jesus were first called Christians.

In verse 11:30, 12:25, 13:7 Luke (the author) is sure to always put Barnabas first. The text always reads “Barnabas and Saul”. This to me communicates that Luke’s perspective was that Barnabas was the leader.

Then between verse 7 & 13 Paul is given a platform of influence. Full of the Spirit, he truly leads for the first time in this moment. And then in verse 13 a few simple words communicates a great depth of the leadership move made by Barnabas to empower Paul. Verse 13 says “Now Paul and his companions”. It doesn’t even say “Paul and Barnabas”. The simple switch in order would have been enough to communicate the switch in their roles. But the author doesn’t even mention Barnabas by name. From then on Barnabas is always mentioned after Paul.

I acknowledge there is a lot open to interpretation here but this is my takeaway: When I read the accounts of the character of Barnabas and when I see the simple but clear switch in the order they are referenced I see a humble leader in Barnabas. I see a man who sees another man find his voice, his calling and his mission and then is willing to step out of a position of influence so the other can step in to it. 

This is the Barnie Boogie. At Mission we try to tell these stories to each other as often as we can. The only catch is if you tell a story, you need to reference the Barnie Boogie and then take 3 electric slides steps backwards. 

I believe you will replicate what you celebrate. @@We need to start celebrating the humble act of people quietly stepping out of the brightest platforms of influence in our churches so others can step into them. @@

Tell this story of Barnabas to your team. Start celebrating stories like this in your church. And start doing the Barnie Boogie! Seriously. It’s humbling and even humiliating at first. But it will increase the level of fun you’re having and decrease the level of too-cool syndrome you may have on your team.