Many ministries have incredible ideas but struggle to make them happen. They need practical help from practical people. The Barnabas Group offers mentoring for ministry leaders to improve their logistics and increase their reach.
With 200 members and 20 business sponsors, the Kansas City chapter of the Barnabas Group is the fastest growing chapter nationwide—and they’re only getting started.
Ministry Leaders Find Mentors
The Barnabas Group started in California in 1999 with a vision for helping ministries improve their operations. They found great ideas everywhere, like an engineer who turned a lawn chair into a low-cost, durable wheelchair for poor countries with rocky terrain. By planning production, shipping, distribution, and fundraising, the Barnabas Group helped Free Wheelchair Mission donate over a million wheelchairs to people in need.
Ministry vision and business structures make a great team. George Commons, however, didn’t know that yet.
Discovering Purpose in the Business World
When George Commons came to Christ, he thought all good Christians became pastors. His own pastor challenged him to instead build professional skills, then let God turn those skills back into ministry. So George worked, learned, and grew. Fifteen years ago, he and some friends heard about the Barnabas Group and launched a Chicago chapter.
One ministry called NEXTmanga needed help distributing manga (Japanese comic book) Bible stories. Moved by the Holy Spirit, George suggested that the leadership expand their ministry into prisons. Soon, inmates were fighting over these books that made the gospel clear for those with lower reading levels.
Chaplains across the country began ordering cases, and inmates requested copies for their kids—all because of brief yet targeted input. While ministries sharpened their effectiveness, businesspeople enjoyed stewarding the training and insight God had invested in them.
Mentoring 600 Ministries and Counting
When George Commons moved to Kansas City, he hoped the Barnabas Group would move with him. He asked God to confirm his idea by sending two people to join. Right on cue, two friends helped initiate a chapter.
Two years later, the group has mentored over 600 Kansas City ministries. While the Barnabas group’s help is free, it isn’t easy. Ministry leaders fill out an extensive application and identify tangible needs, like improving their website, messaging, HR policies, long-term plan, or board of directors. This analysis helps assess whether they’re a good fit while prompting ministries to see themselves through business eyes.
Often called “Christian Shark Tank,” the Barnabas Group then invites ministry leaders to present in front of a 150+ marketplace believers. Afterwards, professionals can connect and brainstorm ideas to move each ministry forward.
Outside of their in-depth mentorship, the Kansas City chapter is constantly helping ministries excel in smaller ways, like hosting workshops on nonprofit boards, grant writing, and vision casting. One member worked with the Attorney General’s office on a training to help hospital staff identify and support victims of trafficking. The group also hopes to add a volunteer opportunity marketplace connecting churches and individuals with shorthanded organizations.
A Ministry to Ministries
The Barnabas Group brings believers with different spiritual gifts together into one room so they can benefit from one another’s strengths. One person shows up with a dream, another with a plan; one has a calling, and another has a list of influential contacts he can call.
The group is named Barnabas for a reason. Like the Apostle Paul’s assistant, this team of professionals is content to work from the background as they watch all the wonders God will soon do.
To learn more, visit barnabasgroupkc.org.