For the months of February through April we’ve invited several people to give you a peek into
the new directions God has called The Barnabas Center. We hope these directions will be
encouraging and that you’ll resonate with the needs and hopes that are being shared.
In May we’ll be back online with our usual thematic blog posts.
“Sure enjoyed being with you guys. It was a little appetizer of heaven for me.”
“I have not felt so loved and appreciated in a long time. This was truly a gift from on High.”
“I am grateful for our time. I am grateful for your honesty and compassion. I am grateful for the beauty that we shared, the fun and laughter.”
These are all excerpts from emails received after returning from the Barnabas Pastor’s Retreat in the fall. During the retreat I remember waking up in my cabin one night at 1:30am to the sound of laughter from several pastors still sitting on the porches in their rocking chairs. I smiled. These men bonded with other brothers who really “got” them in ways that no one else but another pastor in ministry could. They shared struggles, they laughed, and they were real… “we shared some big things with each other, things got really real” as one of them put it. I didn’t know exactly what they shared with each other, but I got what he was saying. It made me smile.
When I say I smiled hearing these men laugh til 1:00am and telling me that “things got really real,” it is because it truly warmed my heart. I understood where they were coming from, and it was such a privilege to serve them so they could get to a place to feel the relief I have felt so very well myself.
I get how important this retreat was for these guys. As a pastor’s wife I once felt the pressure, and still do at times, to “keep it together.” I felt it so much that I hid BIG things from everyone outside my marriage in order to protect it. I hid because if people knew what was really going on, they might not want us in ministry. There was no safe place for me to share. I tried once and when I did I really regretted it… I was told to “keep it together.” Those were the words Satan had already been speaking to me, in my heart, to keep me alone and now they were actually spoken to me. I took those words to heart. One thing I learned when I married a pastor and got to know other pastors’ wives is that people in ministry are some of the most lonely and guarded people you will ever meet. How do you share your struggles with people when your vulnerability could be used against you? It’s a big risk. Who wants to listen to a sermon preached by someone who is struggling themselves? Aren’t they supposed to be the ones who “have it together?” That’s what I thought… yet I was so exhausted. Finally someone asked me, ‘Aren’t you tired?’ and, ‘How’s that working for you?’ and it was then that I realized I did not have to live this way. There was this thing called grace and there were these people who thought my mess had beauty to it (and they didn’t tell me to try harder or do more) and I opened up. Oh man… exhausted no more, exhausted no more. Instead – relief. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11.28
That is Vision 2020. That is what we are calling “equipping the church.” Our heart at Barnabas is to minister to the ministers. This is just a little glimpse into how we hope to do that.
To learn more about the Vision 2020 campaign please watch this brief video:
Nicole Chitty is the Director of Promotion and Development for The Barnabas Center. In this role, Nicole is responsible for managing the marketing, branding, and promotions for our organization as well as overseeing our donor development, fund raising activities, and church partnerships. She and her husband Steven now live in Murfreesboro, TN with their adorable daughter McKayla.