What makes Operation Barnabas different from other mission trips?
OB has a much different dynamic than the typical local church mission/ministry trip. Operation Barnabas is a ministry training program because there are guaranteed experiences and practical training that will be included and can be taken back home after tour. Students will meet like-minded teens from all over the country, will be poured into by quality leaders, will travel to several different states, and will see ministry in urban and cross-cultural settings. At the end of the tour, each “OB” member will have experience with sharing his/her faith, public performance, preparing a testimony and team relationships. He/she will have memorized a number of key verses of scripture, been a part of a discipleship group, have intentional focused time with God each day, and learned the meaning of working hard thru manual labor projects. Lessons on 15 Godly character traits such as integrity, thankfulness, and purity are emphasized. Each young person also receives a personal evaluation from leaders while having an opportunity to learn about the joys of serving in local church ministries. He/she will know what it’s like to sleep on both a floor and a bed … eat church carry-in dinners and McDonalds … work in inner-city as well as rural settings…
And, students will make friendships that will last a life time! Ask anyone who has gone on Operation Barnabas and they will likely tell you that some of their closest friendships started with fellow team members on their OB team! It is a summer that is life-changing for most students, as they work together, learning, serving, and being a part of something bigger than themselves.
When do I apply for Operation Barnabas?
Now! We will continue to add to the teams as long as there are openings. Our application deadline for OB 2017 is January 31, 2017. The sooner students apply and are confirmed, the more time to fund-raise and take care of paperwork and other details.
Where are the OB teams going in 2017?
One team is centered in southeastern Pennsylvania, and will be led by Pastor Christian McAllister, youth pastor at Palmyra Grace Brethren Church. Plans for this team include attending StreetWise youth conference at Urban Hope Training Center. Another OB team will be centered in northern Indiana and led by Timothy Kurtaneck, the Director of Youth Leadership Training at CE National. Plans for both of these OB teams will include traveling to visit exciting areas in their respective locations and opportunities to serve in a wide variety of settings!
What are the dates for OB 2017?
The dates for orientation and then tour are June 18 – July 11, 2017. Both teams will start in Winona Lake, Indiana.
What is the cost for OB 2017?
The OB support total for 2017 is $2200. Keeping costs low is very important to us and there are many opportunities and ideas given to assist students in knowing how to raise support.
What does that cost include?
Included in the OB support cost is the confirmation deposit, all food, lodging, and laundry expenses. It also includes tour travel and fuel on Operation Barnabas buses and complimentary airport transportation to designated airports on specified dates for those flying to orientation or home after tour debriefing. An Operation Barnabas syllabus and numerous discipleship resources are also included. There is scholarship help available–we have never known a student who tried to raise their money not be able to go on OB simply due to finances. God does provide!
What is not included in the OB cost?
Team t-shirts (approx. cost $30) and transportation to orientation and back home after OB tour is over. Also, for students who wish to attend Momentum 2017, that cost is separate from the OB support total, but students can check with their sending church about including the amount for Momentum in the OB support that they raise.
OB used to be 6 weeks – now it is three – why?
There are three main reasons we have shortened the Operation Barnabas experience: 1) the cost becomes more affordable, 2) the ability to recruit experienced team leaders, and 3) the availability of high school students since they have so much going on in their summer schedules. We remain committed to the same values of servant/leadership, sharing our faith in Jesus, and providing tools to start those conversations.
Where do the OB leaders come from?
Our OB Leaders are experienced in youth ministry and love working with students! All of our leaders have to apply, receive positive references and each has a background check. Also, all of our bus drivers have their CDL, are part of a drug-testing pool, and are legally certified to drive.
Students will also receive training from CE National staff, including Ed Lewis, Executive Director of CE National, Timothy Kurtaneck, Director of Youth Leadership Training, and Dave Rank, Coordinator of Momentum Youth Conference.
How many are on a team?
Each year is a bit different, depending on the amount of applicants, where the tours are going, and leadership needs and ratios. A typical size team is around 25 students and 5 adult leaders.
When do you divide the OB teams?
Generally speaking, we do not divide the OB teams and then officially announce who is on what team until after the first day of orientation. We meet as OB staff/administrative leaders after orientation begins to confirm the team rosters and then let students (and parents) know. Whenever possible, Operation Barnabas prefers to provide a ministry location that is outside of the student’s home area and place them on a team traveling in a different region from where the student lives, though sometimes this is not possible. Youth pastors/workers are welcome to submit a written request with reasons stated for a student to be on a particular team and all requests will be read and considered (for example, sometimes a youth pastor who has multiple students going from his church prefers them to be split up on the two teams rather than all on the same team). We are also willing to consider parental input though we can’t promise that all requests will be honored because we do need the teams to be as balanced as possible! Teams are divided very prayerfully and many factors must be considered, including guy/girl ratio, leadership potential, musical ability, and personality type.
What do you do to safeguard students on Operation Barnabas?
All leaders go thru an application process with required references and submit to a background check.
All leaders go thru standardized training regarding safety issues and wise decision making. No student is ever left alone, whether in a host home situation, out canvassing the community, or assisting the church with ministry. There will always be at least two students together.
Each team has one leader who is designated as the leader responsible for the health issues on the team—leaders travel with health information that parents/guardians provided on the health form of the application. Should a health issue arise with a student, leaders will do their best to contact parents/guardians to see how they would like the situation handled. All of our bus drivers are part of a state required standardized drug and alcohol testing program and have their Commercial Drivers License.
Is there a luggage limit and how much can I pack?
A packing list will be posted online in the spring to guide you in what to take on Operation Barnabas. You are limited to one suitcase, one overnight case or gym bag, a backpack, and one sleeping bag and pillow.
Am I able to bring my cell phone, iPod, or computer on Operation Barnabas?
OB students may bring a cell phone. Phones and chargers will be collected during orientation, and students will be given periodic access to their phones to call parents and potentially update social media as applicable–students are encouraged and provided opportunities to call home.
iPods and computers should be left at home.