Skip to main content

Who We Are

Mission & History

Our Mission & Values

Who We Are
Barnabas Community got its start in the fall of 2008. Through our free store, we offer clothing, books, toys, household goods — and hope and hospitality — to all that walk through our doors. In addition to the free store, we now provide two meals per week, a monthly vision clinic, and a weekly worship service. It is through God’s grace and guidance that we have become an integral part of the Belmont Community and beyond.

Mission
Our mission is to live out Christ’s compassion and love by sharing with all as a community.

Essential Beliefs

  • Be consistently present for one another
  • Be in fellowship with one another
  • Serve one another with dignity
  • Demonstrate Jesus’ love to one another in an environment that is warm and welcoming to everyone
  • Empower others in the community to help the community become stronger
  • Honor one another in all interactions and relationships
  • Worship as a faith-based community

Our History

The Start of Barnabas Project
Sheridan Lutheran Church had a strong desire to serve a Lincoln neighborhood in high need and had connections to Belmont through a partnering congregation. Conversations began with Pastor Tom Barber of People's City Mission, who envisioned multiple neighborhood distribution centers around Lincoln. Pastor Tom sought Sheridan’s help to develop his idea and thus a free store and community center in Belmont was born.The name "The Barnabas Project" was chosen. Our namesake, Barnabas, was one of the members of the early Christian community, mentioned in the Book of Acts. He is said to have sold what he owned and gave the proceeds to the community. The name Barnabas translates from the Hebrew phrase “child of encouragement.”

A site was selected on the north side of Cornhusker Highway at 11th Street in the Belmont Shopping Center. It was a single storefront which housed the free store and a small area for refreshments. The People's City Mission primarily provided donations of materials and snacks, while Sheridan provided most of the volunteers. It didn’t take long for word-of-mouth advertising to yield large number of guests who received compassionate care. In a few short years, The Barnabas Project outgrew its small storefront. Space was limited and the donations continued to flow. The need for a community center was also becoming evident.

A New Home
By the grace of God, our current location at 931 Saunders Avenue became available. Very soon, it was determined that the name should be changed to "Barnabas Community" to show that this was not simply a project with an end in sight, but is a growing and thriving community of volunteers and guests coming together to help one another. All who come to Barnabas both give and receive, with the ultimate end of making grace, peace and mercy known.

Growth in our 10 Years
Since then, Barnabas Community has continued to increase in its offerings and services. In January 2018, we were granted 501(c)(3) status as an independent nonprofit organization. We have a governing board comprised of Sheridan Lutheran Church members. Sheridan Lutheran is our primary sponsoring organization and provides the bulk of our volunteers, financial backing and donations. Our community supporters and private donors provide volunteers and resources to keep Barnabas operational.

We also provide a space where the community can gather and support one another, and this is also used each week as a Foodnet distribution site. While we have both volunteers and guests who come into Barnabas, those lines are blurring as we see everyone as a part of this incredibly diverse community.