From Pastors who have sent students on Operation Barnabas:
Alex McCue, youth pastor at Delaware Grace Brethren Church, Ohio
At Delaware Grace, we are so very grateful for Operation Barnabas and the profound ways God has used it in the lives of students and many more. We have had the privilege of sending dozens of students to experience a summer of training and preparation for the much bigger task of journeying with Christ back home as teenagers seek to bring the message of Jesus to their families, communities, and schools. The experience is “one-of-a-kind” as it brings the implications of the Gospel to bear intentionally on the lives of teenagers; in service, in community, in encouragement, and for the mission of God. I have yet to see a program more effective in teaching teenagers to live their lives intentionally for Jesus, than Operation Barnabas.
Jared Yordy, youth pastor at Canton Grace Brethren Church, Ohio
Operation Barnabas is a great springboard for our student ministry. My teens come back from OB with a deeper passion for doing ministry and a desire to be growing spiritually. They also display a hunger for leadership opportunities within our youth group and are also actively sharing their faith with their peers at their school campus back home. I don’t know of a ministry that does a better job of training and equipping young people in the areas of discipleship and evangelism than OB. Our church has greatly benefited from the ministry of Operation Barnabas over the years.
Rob Wagler, youth pastor at Brighton Chapel, Howe, Indiana
As a Youth Pastor with 3 students on Operation Barnabas this past year, I have had the opportunity to see, first-hand, the growth, life-change and passion that has been ignited within my students. I believe Operation Barnabas is a great ministry to develop not only a student’s faith, but the application of that faith in real life experiences. OB is not just a ministry training program, but a life-directing experience that will grow a student’s personal relationship with the Lord and provide real opportunities to learn how to develop and live out his or her faith. I strongly encourage students to consider Operation Barnabas.
Matt Simon, youth pastor at Western Reserve Grace Brethren Church, Macedonia, OH
Operation Barnabas does in one summer what many student pastors take four years to accomplish. Our kids come back with a refreshed urgency for the lost while actualizing their redemptive potential inside their schools and families. OB challenges this generation to see the world differently and chase Christ with all they have. The tools our students learned -such as private devotionals, leadership development, and general social skills -will serve them in high school and beyond. They have seen the value of the local Church as the bride of Christ and are fierce at wasting their lives to advance it. I cannot praise OB enough! They have helped us build something special in our student ministries.
From churches who have hosted Operation Barnabas teams:
As a result of the OB team being here, our church’s vision and ministry will be more outwardly focused. Send them to us anytime!
Having an OB team at your church provides a great opportunity for 34 youth and adults having an impact on your church and your community. And it also provides you and your church a great opportunity for impact on 34 youth and adults on the Operation Barnabas team!
When an Operation Barnabas team is in our area, I am always willing to host a team—they add a spark to our ministry, help us make a difference in the community, and help us move ministry forward.
The OB students were great and because of their ministry our students are changed—they have a whole new perspective on what teenagers who love Jesus are capable of and are excited about taking a step forward in their own spiritual journeys.
Our church loved having an Operation Barnabas team. It was neat to see the love they demonstrate for Jesus. They did a great job at doing ministry and really gave our church a spiritual boost!
The OB team was a great boost to our church but more importantly, they reached out to our neighborhood with a great response. We loved them and want them back again!
What Parents Are Saying About Operation Barnabas:
As a parent, I love what you are doing. There is such great training on so many topics, including boy-girl relationships, leaving a place better than you found it, service, fulltime ministry, etc. etc. Very God-centered!
Last year, when my daughter sent in her application, my husband and I were a little hesitant, but this was such a wonderful, growing, life -changing experience for her that we would send her again if we could! This is such a great program for these teenagers and for the people they touched this summer—and for all those they will touch in the future because of what they’ve learned on OB!
I want to thank you and I am eternally grateful for the time and energy that you OB leaders invested in our child’s life this summer. Thank you for stretching him, teaching him, and encouraging him in his walk with God. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my son opened up his heart to Jesus and others…and grew this summer. He has allowed God to take the throne of his life and it is sooo exciting to see and hear the changes in him. His servant’s heart has grown larger and there is a softness that is even stronger and connected to his savior. To God be the glory!!
Both of my children have been a part of Operation Barnabas teams. The experience for them both was life changing. They both returned more committed to staying in the Word and more sincere prayer time. Their leaders were wonderful and my kids appreciated them so much.
I feel OB was an awesome experience for our daughter. She was always a bit shy and not very outgoing. What a change we have seen in her and her attitude. She is more helpful at home, wants to have a positive attitude at youth group and school, and is open to new things and new people. OB is great!
Operation Barnabas is an excellent program all around. God is truly at work through you and this ministry. Thank you for investing in my child’s life!
The communications from TK & Sherilyn as OB staff were always helpful, timely and parent to parent. There is much wisdom shared and we appreciate the emphasis on returning home after the summer and making a difference in your school, home, church and community.
How did you do in seven weeks what we’ve spent the last 17 years trying to do?! Our daughter is much more even tempered, more helpful, more considerate. She has been trying to reach out to others more and we have seen her greet strangers we encounter in daily life with a smile and kind word—what an example to me! Thank You – Thank You—Thank You!!
As the parent of an OB and now OBI alumni, I want to express my appreciation for this program. My son, Ben, truly enjoyed his travels the past two summers. I have seen enormous changes in Ben as a result of his experiences. His walk with God is much stronger, and it is amazing to watch him initiate conversations with new people, and influence his friends at school and church. I have watched many students from our church go on OB and come back changed—in love with God and ready to serve, then continue on in His service at college and beyond. It will be exciting to see what God will do this coming year as we have about a dozen students applying for OB! God bless you as OB continues to impact the lives of youth.
Thank you so much to each and every person who had a part in preparing, training, and leading my son on Operation Barnabas. I felt such a peace from God while my son was away, knowing what a life changing trip he was taking. I continue to cry tears of joy as I read the stories of what the kids did and those whom they were able to minister to and also were ministered by! This program is a model for all churches to follow. To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Has Done. We are looking forward to our other son doing OB next year! May God continue to bless this ministry.
We recently were reflecting back when our daughter was on the first OB team ever to be deployed. What marvelous things have happened over those many years as OB teams have traveled around our country. The impact that these young people have had on our Fellowship is beyond calculation. Thank you, Ed and all the team at CE National, for what you have done and are doing to serve, to encourage, to train, to challenge, and to motivate the youth of our Fellowship. May the Lord continue to bless all of you and make you a blessing.
What Students Are Saying About Operation Barnabas:
OB has been a big encouragement to be vocal in my faith. That’s one of the main things I’ve struggled with before OB. Now I feel a lot more comfortable talking to people I don’t know about what I believe. I feel like God is calling me to share my faith with people in my gym and to be a light there. Jesus, through OB, has changed my life, and I hope that going home I can be a Barnabas to everyone I meet.
This summer has taught me many things. It has been a starting point for ways God can use me. He has shown me that I need to get to know more unbelievers. The power of prayer has been another thing God has taught me. It has been really cool to see God work out the details from bus issues to weather. The “not about us” ministry mindset has been something that really got me thinking and I know will be something I want to continue. It has taught me to always be looking for opportunities.
I have grown more confident in myself, I have found my identity in Christ, I have felt the Holy Spirit at work, and I love God more than I ever have before—I feel like a totally different person than I was before OB! I am also so much more passionate for encouraging other people. The way that my teammates and leaders have poured into me and befriended me is incredible.
I know it seems cliché, but I truly feel I better understand the power of prayer after my time on OB. I know I have struggled with trusting in God for all things, but God has really worked through OB to teach me how to give up my burdens to him. Now I feel a lot more confident in what I believe and sharing it with people, knowing that I’ve seen God truly work in my life and that He keeps His promises to us.
I grew up in a family that loved and lived for Jesus, but I never really did, not deep down. I wouldn’t do bad things, but I still didn’t share my faith or truly have a personal relationship with God. Because of the Lord working in my heart this summer, I have truly fallen in love with god and want to grow closer to Him every day. I also have a much bigger heart for the lost, and have realized that it’s my job to share the gospel with them.
What this ministry has meant to me is that it’s not about us—it’s about Jesus, about sharing His love with other, and then them coming to know Him as their Lord and Savior. Also, that to live a life for Jesus is not easy, that there is a lot of things you’re not going to like or be comfortable with, but you’re going to do them, because it’s what He calls us to do. When we are living a life for Jesus, we are doing what he would have done.
OB has pushed me in areas I’m strong in as well as areas I’m weak in. I’ve learned from my leaders, watching my peers, and from what God says. I’ve found a new love and passion for the Lord and I’ve seen him work in unexplainable ways. I could not have grown so much without him by my side. I want to continue to live for God for the rest of my life because he is so worth it.
At the beginning of OB, I didn’t come in with the right things in my mind. I was more excited for the programs and friendships than I was anything else. I hoped that I would become closer to God but I didn’t think about it that much. At one point, one of our leaders spoke to us about doing things with the right intentions and motives—that really made me consider my point of view—it’s not about me—I am working on more of a ministry mindset—J-Jesus; O-Others;Y-You!
Not only has OB taught me how to share my faith, it has shown me where I find my joy. Before OB, I was looking for joy and peace in all the wrong places. I was trying to fill my life with worthless things. But I have learned that Jesus is the only thing worth filling your life with. At the end of the day, when everything else is old and pale and tired, God’s grace is enough and always will be. His mercy and love is the only thing that will last, and in this crazy confusing world, I need to hang onto that joy. OB has shown me that Jesus is worth anything and that he will bring you hope.
Operation Barnabas has helped me take the next step in my faith by equipping and training me to be a vessel of the gospel. I have developed deep friendship and have been challenged to make my relationships with people deeper than surface-level. During OB I was poured into by leaders and got to experience discipleship for the first time. I have grown so much in these weeks and am so grateful for OB!
I am learning to love people the way Jesus did. OB helped me learn about being humble and patient towards people and it helped teach me how to ask God for help and to ask him to be my Lord and say “what will you have me do with my life?” I’ve learned to not focus on being like other people but to focus on Christ so I can be like Him.
This ministry opportunity has meant so much to me. It has shown me areas I’m strong in and areas that need work. It has also been so encouraging to learn how to share the gospel and taught me that even though people go to church, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are believers. This summer has also helped me grow in my faith and helped me develop some good habits. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and even made me more comfortable doing those uncomfortable things.
Barnabas has been a time filled with joy, but with challenges, encouragement from churches and the team, and saturated with opportunities for personal growth. Christ-like love for everyone has been a theme this summer for me, in addition to the power and importance of prayer. These past few weeks have been an effective, strong training ground for how I want to live my life and I am so, so grateful that God chose to use OB to work in my life.
OB has opened my eyes to what I need to be doing in my home church. I am so glad that I went on Operation Barnabas. God has taught me many things. I am now more comfortable starting conversations with people. I have learned the power of prayer. I have learned that I don’t need to worry about things—God is in control. I have grown closer in my personal relationship with Christ.
This summer really changed the way I look at my relationship with God—it solidified my beliefs. I’m committed to prayer, studying the Word, and sharing my faith now because of the experiences on OB and the godly leaders who help guide us.
Traveling with OB has been the best experience of my life. God used Operation Barnabas to teach me so many things. I feel like I have more of a ministry mindset and I genuinely care about helping others and being a servant. I’ve learned a ton and feel like a completely different person—I’ve truly been changed by God from the inside out!
My world was boys, trends, music, friends…in a nutshell, ME. Through OB, I’ve learned that a relationship with God is the most important thing.
Here is a list of some of what I learned this summer: to trust Him; see him through the tough times, knowing He’ll see me through; forgiveness; the power of prayer; self-confidence; inner joy; that even I can be used by God; the existence of divine appointments; the power of the holy spirit; and a ton more!
God used OB to prepare me to be both an effective leader within the church and an effective Christian within the world.
Being on OB has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. It has shown me that I need to step up and take more leadership responsibilities, and that I don’t need to wait for adults to tell me what to do. I am old enough that I need to take initiative. I have grown so much in my faith and I am really excited to take what I have learned back to my community.
Being a Christian is so much more than just going to church on Sunday—I have learned that Christianity is a lifestyle and the role model is Jesus Christ. I learned to fall in love with the Bible and realized that it is necessary to be in the word daily. Ministry with Operation Barnabas has literally changed my entire view of the Christian life.
My time on Operation Barnabas was a “wake-up” call in my life. I have learned skills to help me step up as a Godly man and leader in my school, church, and home. I am excited to see what God has in store for me.
My summer on Operation Barnabas has changed me in so many ways. It has taught me that ministry is not effective if we do it with sin in our lives. We need to confess it before we can minister to others. I have also learned that prayer is powerful and effective. Not only is it important to pray, but it is also important to be in the Word daily. God has also used this summer to show me how gossip and complaining will tear a team apart. When these things are present, there cannot be true unity. Finally, everything I do should be for God’s glory, not mine. It is not about me, but about Him.
It is weird to think of what my summer would’ve looked like if I had followed my fears and stayed home and not gone on Operation Barnabas. I would probably be sitting in front of the TV, doing absolutely nothing. But I did go and this experience has been incredible. God took away my doubt and fear and I saw how God can use my in spite of myself!
Operation Barnabas has been such a wonderful tool for God to work in my life. One of the reasons I wanted to come on OB was for the leadership training before I went off to college. But I never expected to be pushed, challenged, and encouraged so much by my team leaders and other OB staff. God used OB to help me grow into a leader and a person I never thought I could be. Through all the different things that are part of an OB experience—whether it be programs, team time, manual labor, sharing the Gospel, or even fellowshipping on the bus—God worked in my life and taught me to have confidence in Him. I know He loves me and has a plan for me. OB has been such a great experience, not just building knowledge and setting me on fire for God, but also grounding me in my faith so that I will not turn away.
Through this summer on OB, I feel like there’s so much more I’m capable of and that I can apply back in my church, community, and school. Operation Barnabas pushes you to do things and be exposed to things you wouldn’t normally get to experience. God has definitely showed Himself to me this summer.
Operation Barnabas has been a wake-up call from an average, uncommitted walk with Christ. I had never really seen how important it was to have a personal prayer life or study God’s word. I was intimidated by the thought of sharing my faith. Throughout the summer, God has grabbed me by the shirt and shown His power and might that I have easily taken for granted. Through the power of prayer I have been able to see hearts and lives changed. My perspectives on Christ and following Him completely have been transformed and have new meanings for me. I can honestly say that I was not truly a Christian until I allowed God to work in me and let go of those things that were holding me back. OB training has gotten ahold of me when nothing else could, and has encouraged me to truly practice what I believe.
OB has made me evaluate who and what I’m truly living for. It has purified my motives. It has challenged me to be more encouraging and positive especially towards my family. It has challenged me to dive deeper into God’s word and pursue His heart. Through OB, God has taught me to trust in Him and stop relying on myself to say the right things or act a certain way. It has made me feel a lot more comfortable with people my own age to share my struggles. The biggest thing for me is that I have a deeper walk with my Savior.
The day before OB started, I honestly really didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay home and relax all summer. I definitely didn’t feel like working for 6 weeks. But I am so glad God brought me here. I have learned to find my identity in Christ. He also taught me what true leadership looks like and why it’s not always easy. As OB has come to a close, I really do look at it as just the beginning of something awesome. I have a desire to push myself and stretch myself when I get home. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!
Operation Barnabas has strengthened me in my walk with the Lord and also just who I am as a person. I realized this summer how much God loves and cares for me! OB has also taught me that I can share my faith and have nothing to fear. Going home, I feel like I am so equipped to not only impact my youth group, but my whole church, school, and family as well. God has done amazing things in me and this was a summer that I will never forget!
Operation Barnabas is not a magical event. It is an equipping ministry. I thank God for Him using OB to show me how to serve Him better. I encourage Operation Barnabas to anyone that has a passion for pursuing a stronger relationship with the Lord.
OB has definitely been that next step that I needed to take in my walk with Christ. My eyes have been opened to our lost world and it has broken my heart each time we can’t reach them. I have sensed God’s direct working in my life as I have confronted my purpose, which is to serve God, bring honor and glory to Him and have Him first in everything that I do.
This has been the best summer of my life, as well as the hardest. Throughout, I have enjoyed the teaching and stretching ministry experiences, as well as the team bonding and fellowship. I have learned a lot about myself and how I have more areas to work on and where my weaknesses and strengths are.
When I came into OB, I knew that it wasn’t going to be something that I could walk away from unchanged; but I didn’t know that it would impact my life as greatly as it has. I’ve fallen in love with God, and I love to spend time in His Word now. I feel like I’m actually talking to Him when I pray. I have been stretched and changed!
The number one thing that OB has done for me this summer is push me out of my comfort zone. I feel so much more comfortable sharing my faith with people. I have also become more confident in who I am. I have greatly grown in my relationship with God and have recognized the power of prayer. I have read the word and been in prayer more than I ever have before. I have been pushed to put my trust in God and know that He is in control of everything.
I have learned so much on Operation Barnabas! I learned that my walk with God isn’t about being comfortable and that God wants to stretch me. I’m beginning to see people in this world as lost and I now know that it is my job as a Christian to witness to them. I realized my own selfishness and I’ve learned to see the needs of others before they express them. I’ve also made amazing friends that will help to keep me accountable for all of the things I want to take back home.
Going into OB, I didn’t know exactly what to expect; however, I think I thought there would be a drastic instant or situation that changed me and turned me into the “typical OBer”. Since then, I’ve learned that OB is about practical ways to grow and share my faith, to humble myself and learn to practice selflessness, and to view myself as a new creation in Christ, which should give me joy everyday! Now, I have eyes for unseen people, am able to approach and greet newcomers, and feel more open about expressing my faith towards others. I notice when I don’t spend daily time in the Bible—I need it to feel refreshed and have a clear perspective on life and my purpose in this world. I have appreciated my summer so much; I feel more outgoing, grounded in my faith and in my understanding of God and what His son Jesus did for me on the cross.
This was not a spiritual high or a “wow” experience—it is a lifestyle change. I see things differently, my priorities have changed, and my trust in God has tremendously grown. I am no longer in control of my life but He is. I have seen great examples of leadership and the different ways that can look and am learning what my leadership style is. I have also experienced a taste of healthy community and how to attain that through God-centered relationships, Christ-like confrontation, and Jesus-like attitudes.
This experience has been such a blessing to me. Honestly I was not happy about starting OB. I was worrying about everything I would miss at home this summer. I was conceited and didn’t really want to talk to people. Over the course of the summer, God has really worked on my heart and has changed many of my ambitions. I have been able to open up to people more and have focused more on them. God has taken my focus off of worldly things like money and girls, and has revealed to me the opportunities at my school and on my soccer team. I am so glad I went on Operation Barnabas.
God used Operation Barnabas to change my life and I thank God for this program and that I had a chance to be involved in it! I also thank God for CE National. For all of you who are involved with CE are truly servants of Him. Thank you for all the time and effort that you put into making my personal experience on OB a great one!
Operation Barnabas can be just another summer experience, or a life-changing eye opener—it all depends on what the Lord has in store and whether you submit and are transformed by His love and intensive grace and specific purpose. He had a lot in store for me. He showed me through numerous incidents the power and reality of the Holy Spirit. He showed me the power of prayer in this hurting world. OB put me in countless positions to become an empathizing listener, trying by best to be like Christ. All in all, I’ve learned more about the very real need and impact of the gospel of Christ and how amazingly intentional our Lord is in each and every one of our lives. Praise Him!
OB has not only given me so many amazing friends, but has also helped me get into God’s word and also not be scared to share my faith. It has opened my eyes to how many hurting people there are out there that just want to be loved and encouraged me not to be scared to do that. I am so thankful for this opportunity.
OB has helped me so much this summer. I have learned so much about my faith and how to approach people with it. I thought that maybe I shouldn’t come this summer, since it was the time between my junior and senior year and should I be earning money, but I am so glad that I did come! I feel like my senior year will be 10x better than what I expected it to be. I will have more confidence to talk to people about their need of Jesus. I am very excited to go home and apply everything I have learned.
Operation Barnabas has been a total blessing to me. It has shown me that God loves everyone and wants me to do the same. Seeing people who were homeless on skit row in LA opened my eyes up to what like is like out of my comfortable suburban life at home. There are so many people who don’t know that through God, they have a hope and a future. God gave me a heart for those people. Also, it has taught me that God is going to use everything we do for Him for His glory and that it is solely about Him and not about me!
Operation Barnabas was the final push in getting me out of being a lukewarm Christian and being a ministry warrior for the Lord. It has helped me tremendously in being more bold as well as understand what God wants me to do in my life.
The Lord has taught me some incredible things in my walk with Him on OB. Mainly, I have learned about freedom in Christ and letting go of those things that I identify myself with. God has brought me more intimacy with Him than ever. I had already been working and growing in my spiritual life before my OB experience. But now, I feel more equipped than ever to share Him with others and to keep growing in Him. May all glory and praise be unto the Lord. Philippians 4:13
This summer was the most challenging but best summer of my life. I got to Operation Barnabas orientation not quite knowing what to expect. God really worked in my heart this summer and has shown me so much. If I would have spent the last 6 weeks in my home in Pennsylvania, I would have probably just floated through another summer unchanged. But God has opened my eyes to the world and its needs.
OB is not about a summer, but about giving and living everyday, every moment for God. OB doesn’t change people, but God does, and I should never be satisfied just living in my comfort zone, but living as a reflection of Christ. I want to stay consistent in the small things and trust God through all circumstances, making the constant choice to present myself fully to God everyday, every part of me.
OB was a big step of faith for me. Leaving my home, friends, and family for 6 weeks was not an easy thing. But through it all, I have really learned to cling to and trust the Lord’s plan in all circumstances. My eyes have been opened to our world and its need of a savior! I have grown closer to the Lord and have learned a lot about Him over the course of the summer. I needed this experience and am so glad I went on Operation Barnabas.
Here is how the ministry of OB has affected me:
- I have made many great Christian friends
- I have a want to read the Bible now, like I’m hungry for it
- I am becoming more of a servant
- I am becoming more humble
- I have seen great leadership in action through my leaders
- I have been given experiences that will help me in future ministry
A 5 page paper could not begin to express the work God has begun in my heart because of spending this summer on OB! Along with the seemingly less important aspects like basic organization, time management, making my bed, I’ve learned what is really important for the life that God has given me. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that my life is not my own. I was bought with a price and my purpose is to go where God calls me. I’ve seen believers work together as the body of Christ and great things were accomplished. I also see unbelievers as lost and in need of Jesus. Initiating conversations doesn’t have to be scary, its just necessary. After this summer, spending time with god isn’t another task to check off my list, it’s a privilege. I guess that’s just a small glimpse of what Operation Barnabas has done in my life.
OB has been the best choice I’ve made for a way to spend my summer. God has taught me so much. He’s taught me a lot about having faith and trusting Him. OB has helped stretch my comfort zone and make me more outgoing. It has given me a new passion for God and that excites me. I’ve had amazing leaders this summer that have been great examples to me, and I am very excited to go home and try to be an example to the people I know. I’m so glad that I decided to do OB this summer.
On Operation Barnabas, I have been shoved out of my comfort zone so much that I don’t even recognize myself! The leaders and experiences have shown me to look to God for everything; I am so much more conscious of His presence and leading in my life.
OB has completely transformed my idea of following Christ. I just thought following the ten commandments, avoiding things I know are wrong, trying to read the Bible, praying, and being nice to people were the only things required of me. Now its hard to believe that that’s how I was living my life before this summer. I now realize following Christ has a much simpler method although it’s a little more difficult to attain. You just have to love God so much that you make everything you do an act of worship. Whether it’s sharing your faith, talking to a friend, listening to an authority figure, or pulling weeds, its all for the glory of God. I want to add to the glory of the King, not take away from it.
Operation Barnabas has been a great experience for me. I have learned many lessons, the biggest one being that I need to be willing to share my faith. I realize now that getting out of my comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow. OB has been used by God to help me grow in my faith.
Spending the summer on OB has further motivated me in my spiritual growth. It has also equipped me for going back home. I can’t wait to tell you an awesome testimony about OB, but my OB testimony will only begin when I go back home and put into practice all I have learned. Check back with me in a year!
Comments from people attending Operation Barnabas programs:
“The puppets were great. The skits helped me understand Christ Jesus more!”
“This was the most intense church service I’ve been to in a long time. Thank you. Thank you! It really was an encouragement to me to be more aggressive in my sharing in the Word. Just pray I can follow through!”
“Your pantomime skits were awesome. Very moving. “
“I thank God for these beautiful young people. They are such an inspiration. May God richly bless each one of them.”
“Can’t explain it—you guys are great!”