By Brandon Elrod
ALPHARETTA, Ga.—For a quarter of a century, Timothy+Barnabas Retreats have been providing pastors and their spouses with times of equipping and refreshment. A new initiative—the Timothy+Barnabas Institute—now offers pastors a two-year mentoring opportunity with experienced pastors.
“I’ll never forget the men who poured their lives into me when I was a young pastor,” said Johnny Hunt, senior vice president for evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “Throughout my years of ministry, I’ve made it a point to pass on what I received to those coming up in the ministry after me.”
The Timothy+Barnabas Institute offers pastors a two-year mentoring opportunity with experienced pastors. Participants will cover several topics during biannual workshops and monthly conference calls. NAMB photo.
Hunt, while pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga., founded the Timothy+Barnabas ministry as a way of serving pastors and their wives, to instruct and encourage them to persevere in the work of ministry. In June 2018, Hunt gave Timothy+Barnabas to NAMB so that the ministry could expand its reach and continue to develop.
One key aspect of that development is the creation of the Timothy+Barnabas Institute, which launches with its first event on January 21, 2020 and will be overseen by Jonathan Akin, NAMB’s director of young leader engagement. To participate, pastors must submit an application through NAMB’s website at namb.net/TBI.
“At NAMB, we kept hearing that what many pastors needed, especially young pastors, was meaningful, coaching and mentoring relationships with older pastors,” said Akin. “Pastors are NAMB’s number one customer, and serving them to help them be as effective as they can be in evangelism and leadership is our main goal. The Timothy+Barnabas Institute is one key part of accomplishing that.”
During the two-year program, NAMB will host four in-person workshops that will include keynote address on various ministry topics as well as breakout sessions for participants to meet in their cohorts with their coaches.
Between workshops, the cohorts will have monthly conference calls with their coach as they continue to grow and develop. Pastors can also get counsel from their coach as needs and issues arise in their ministry.
“There are many pastors who do have someone to pour into them,” Akin said. “But we also know that there are many who don’t. We want to do what we can to help them be successful in advancing the kingdom.”
Workshop topics will include organizational leadership, strategic planning, team building, transition plans, the pastor’s marriage and family, finishing well, personal evangelism, church health and growth, changing culture, restorative justice and being on mission.
The current list of mentors includes: Johnny Hunt; Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Church, Las Vegas; Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Bryant Wright, retired pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; and H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla.
“Pastoring a church is a high calling with incredible responsibility, but no one is called to do so alone,” said Hunt. “I am prayerful and excited about how God will use the Timothy+Barnabas Institute to build His church and advance the gospel in North America.”
There are two tracks—one for pastors who are 45 and under and another for those 45 and over, and the deadline to register for the January 21 event is January 7.
For those able to attend, a $500 deposit that covers all sessions and lodging is required. The deposit, however, will be refunded to all who have perfect attendance and complete the program. Limited scholarships are available.
Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.