Barnabas: Strengthening and Encouraging Families

Barnabas Family Ministries (BFM), a family camp on Keats Island, is dedicated to strengthening and encouraging Christian families. With this mission it’s no wonder there are connections between BFM and Trinity Western University alumni. We are pleased to have BFM as a sponsor for Alumni Weekend 2014.

This tranquil retreat centre began with a vision to create an impactful camping experience for adults and families, similar to that found at Christian kids camps. Since opening in 1988, many TWU students and alum return yearly to Barnabas as campers, speakers, and staff members to rest and serve.

Rob Bentall alongside his wife Kathy, is the director and founder of Barnabas Family Ministries. When asked why so many summer staff members have come from from Trinity Western, Rob says, “Because they’re leaders. Every time we’ve hired someone from Trinity their leadership skills have far surpassed almost anyone else.” Rob, whose daughter Sharon is a 96’ alum, has seen the effects of a TWU education firsthand. “If I have a choice between a Trinity student and a student from anywhere else I’ll take the student from Trinity, because I know the product that’s coming out of it,” he explains. “Almost every year we have a couple of TWU students on staff.”

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 Photograph taken by Levi Schiach

Former summer staff member and TWU alumna Michelle Stephen (’13) is one of these students. She worked at Barnabas for two summers during her undergraduate years, convincing friends to apply along the way. Michelle also speaks highly of the connection between Barnabas and TWU. “Barnabas is so focused on strengthening and encouraging, pouring into a foundation,” she says. “Trinity students are all about community, and that’s what Barnabas is about; they’re intentional about growing together.

Dan Cloake, a current Trinity Western student and BFM staff member, also appreciates this connection between TWU and Barnabas. “TWU helped me take initiative and implement ideas that I think are important, like bringing my faith into everything I do,” he explains. “As a student you’re taking on a lot of knowledge, and at Barnabas you’re putting that information into action. TWU encourages community, and Barnabas does the same thing.”

giant-beach-ballPhotograph taken by Levi Schiach

Trinity Western alumni and students are also drawn to Barnabas’ unique vision of family-focused ministry. Michelle, who has worked at other camps in the past, said “At other camps it was all about building a relationship with the kids. But at Barnabas you’re helping kids get closer with parents, and getting to know them in a family context.”

The focus on family and community is perhaps what makes TWU students and alumni feel so at home at Barnabas Family Ministries. The skills and values that Trinity Western students acquire are lived out at Barnabas Camp, where they are encouraged and strengthened as godly Christian leaders.

If you would like to experience Barnabas Family Ministries for yourself, visit their website.