Jan 182005

UPDATED: 2009-06-30 – A new team has assumed responsibility for the PCUMC website, and they did not migrate and do not continue to suppor the Barnabas Project.

A while back I was having lunch with the Senior Minister at the church I attend here in Tampa. I do the website for the church.

Dr. Rabb and I were having a wide-ranging discussion, and I was telling him the story of the funeral I did once (for those that don’t know, I used to be an undertaker) when the family decided the weather was too bad, so they just didn’t show up. As bad as that was, the minister doing the funeral was new and this was his first funeral. Once we called and learned the family wasn’t coming to the graveside service, I asked if he’d like at least say a brief prayer. Well despite it being extremely cold and pouring rain, this guy wasn’t going to miss the chance to do his first funeral, so he did the entire 28 minutes for myself and the grave digger. Dr. Rabb was talking about a number of funerals he’d done early in his career for people with no minister. He talked about how sad it was that almost no one would attend some of those funerals.

Shortly after this lunch, it occurred to me that not having anyone at your funeral does not necessarily mean you didn’t have an impact on the lives of other people. So I came up with an idea that got the wholehearted support of Dr. Rabb and Rev. Mac. We wound up calling it the Barnabas Project. Barnabas was something of a relatively minor biblical character who had a tremendous impact by standing up for Paul to the Christians in Jerusalem, and who inspired many?more of the early church leaders.

The Barnabas project consists of a blog where we have invited everyone (not just members of the church, but anyone) to post stories about the people that have inspired them. To introduce the project, Dr. Rabb preached one of his best sermons talking about how we all need Barnabas’es in our lives, and how important it is for us to encourage and inspire other people. You can click here to hear the sermon as a Real stream.

Dr. Rabb got a lot of positive feedback after the service, and I’m very proud of this project. i think its a great idea that I hope will get picked up and done by other churches and organizations. I can’t think of a better tribute to pay to people that have inspired others.

The project already has a number of posts, and I started it by posting a story about my high school band director.

I’d be very happy if each of you that read this article visited the project site and left your own story about a person that has inspired you. We have instructions to help you, so don’t fret if you’ve never posted on a blog.

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