The first Operation Barnabas summer ministry team photos were posted during the summer of 1999. Bill Clinton was President. A gallon of gas cost $1.22. The movie The Sixth Sense had just come out and high-speed Internet was just beginning to be available. Dial-up was the most common way to connect to the Internet.
I remember going on Operation Barnabas 39 years ago,” says Timothy Kurtaneck, (TK) now director of Operation Barnabas. “It was a fantastic summer, on the complete other side of the United States, with my new “best friends” doing ministry together.
I know our adult leaders gave us time to call home each week but I think I may have only called home once that entire summer… no news is good news, right?? 🙂
My parents heard from me because our leaders made us write a letter, put a stamp on it, and send it through the US Mail. This may have been the story for most families with students on OB through the first 25 years or so of OB tours… and then everything changed!
Twenty years ago we were able to start posting pictures and sharing updates on a website—and everyone back home could see what was going on! Every day they saw a write-up summarizing the day and got to see pictures of the ministry going on hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. We got better prayer coverage. Plus people became more aware of Operation Barnabas and the opportunities high school students had in ministry.
In ’99 the leaders took pictures with digital cameras and transferred them to laptops. In order to send the pictures the leaders had to find a phone line in the church, connect through dial-up, and stay up late into the night waiting for photos to transfer. It was slow and prone to failure. Steve Koontz, now the IT developer for CE National, was a youth pastor in Florida in 1999. “TK asked me to post the pictures and reports,” says Steve. “The leaders emailed them to me overnight. I got up early in the morning to upload the photos to the website.”
Now the leaders use their cell phones and post directly to the Operation Barnabas Instagram accounts. Sometimes they video part of a program or an interview and post it to social media.
The mission of Operation Barnabas hasn’t changed over the years. But the advances in technology have made it much easier to share that mission with others.
Follow the 2019 Operation Barnabas teams at blogs.operationbarnabas.net/2019
See what else CE National does to encourage, coach, and empower students.
A Student Perspective of an Operation Barnabas Summer Ministry Experience!