He wasn’t some decision-maker who functioned in a advisory capacity behind the scenes.
New Testament Scripture tells us that he was a very operative, soul-conscious member of the early first-century church.
Acts specifically reveals that Barnabas was a good leader for several reasons:
He SACRIFICED his own property in order to the meet the needs of new converts: 32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:32-37).
He VOUCHED for a new convert with an awful past: 26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus (Acts 9:26-27).
He STRENGTHENED a very culturally diverse group of new converts by instructing them to be true to Jesus: 19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord (Acts 11:19-23).
He HELPED a relatively new gospel preacher conduct a lengthy gospel meeting for new converts in a large, heathen city: 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26).
As one of the founding members of the church of Christ disaster relief team, he CO-DELIVERED a contribution to impoverished brethren: 27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:27-30).
He not only started a ministry, but he actually FINISHED that ministry: 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).
He MINISTERED to the spiritual needs of believers: 13 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (Acts 13:1).
He SERVED as a co-missionary: 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant (Acts 13:5; cf. v. 49; 14:20).
He wasn’t simply a supporter of the Word of God, but he was a TEACHER of the Word of God: 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God (Acts 13:7).
He not only had a part in teaching and influencing people to obey the gospel, but he CONTINUED TO PERSUADE new converts to keep obeying the gospel: 42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:42-43).
He wasn’t AFRAID to expose, contradict and even refuse those who opposed the gospel: 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; cf. v. 51).
He REFUSED to accept any glory or accolades for what God was doing through him: 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them (Acts 14:14-15).
He was READY and WILLING to engage those who tried to introduce error into the church: 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question (Acts 15:2).
He not only DETAILED what God was doing in the church, but he also EXPLAINED the spiritual significance of these events: 12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles (Acts 15:12).
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike