Rev. Dr. M. Barnabas Sprinkle

It’s official! On Sunday, November 3, the Congregation voted to call Rev. Dr. M. Barnabas Sprinkle as Lead Pastor of Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church, following a special combined worship service and congregational meeting. Barnabas will begin his ministry with us on December 15. 


ABOUT BARNABAS

Barnabas is the son and grandson of pastors and God called him to preach anyway. His name means “son of encouragement,” and he strives to live up to it. His passion is helping people experience eternal and abundant life in Jesus Christ. He has lived out this passion at three churches before Liberty Corner, in Texas, Georgia, and most recently in Medford, Oregon where he has served for eight years. 


Barnabas earned degrees in physics and communication before getting a Master of Divinity degree and Spiritual Formation Certificate at Columbia Seminary as well as a Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller Seminary emphasizing missional leadership. He enjoys woodworking and has recently tried his hand at wood turning. 


His partner in marriage and ministry is Emi, a professional counselor who has started both counseling centers and wholeness ministries. She grew up in Romania (attending the Hungarian Reformed Church) and came to the U.S. as a political refugee before the fall of communism. She has two master’s degrees in counseling and public administration, and a spiritual formation certificate. Emi is the musical one, playing piano and hammered dulcimer. 


The Sprinkles have three children: Joshua in ninth grade, Matthew in seventh, and Hannah who started first grade this year. All three enjoy scouts and piano. Hannah is a delightful dancer, although they’re not sure it should be called ballet yet! Together, the family enjoys camping and hiking in God’s creation. 


FAITH JOURNEY

I received God’s amazing gift of salvation as a young teen. My father was a minister and church planter, and our family experienced both grace-filled moments and also deep pain. I knew all the answers in Sunday school, but I experienced hypocrisy, gossip, and rejection from many Christians. At one particularly low point, I found myself praying, “God, if you are real, you have to show me Yourself, because I hate your people, and they hate me, too.” At that moment, I heard the Spirit speak into my heart, “But I love you.” I felt a sense of peace and wholeness wash over me, and truly felt beloved. Since that time, I have learned a lot of theology, but the core of my faith is this: God is real, and God loves us! 


When I graduated college (with degrees in both Physics and Communication) I was not ready for seminary. I took two years to earn a master’s in organizational communication, while working as a youth coordinator at a church. I also fell in love with a youth advisor, Emi, and we married before heading off to seminary. 


Seminary was a time of stimulation and challenge. Columbia was a place of strong academics, and sometimes unbiblically liberal scholarship. My advisor, Darrell Guder, recommended that I balance the liberal slant by reading books by N. T. Wright and other biblical scholars. Because I was reading both the requirements and my own program, while working in a church, I obtained a terrific education there. 


In my senior year I became a student pastor at a tiny country church. We started some active outreach, and it was clear that God was moving among those people, so I accepted a call to stay as their first installed pastor. The church grew and thrived—as did our family when our two sons were born. Fatherhood itself has been a spiritual journey, as I have grown to appreciate God’s fatherhood, and taken on the essential role of discipling my children. 


Participating in the New Church Development commission and global mission teams opened my eyes to the ways the Spirit is at work in unlikely places. Perhaps the most spiritually significant element was joining a pastor covenant group with other evangelical pastors—first one led by Keith Hill and Joan Gray, and later one led by Steve Hayner. These experienced pastors mentored and discipled me. In time, I enrolled in a D.Min. program at Fuller to enhance my leadership. It was also a deeply formative experience, as I studied under Dallas Willard, Mark Lau Branson, and others. After six years in my first church, I was invited to join the staff of a large congregation as an associate for mission and evangelism—which included preaching weekly at their outreach service. The position fit my gifts and passions for several years. I was thrilled to lead evangelistic outreach, community service, and over a dozen mission trips. 


I was with a mission team in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake—and that sure developed both my faith and my family’s, as we were out of contact for several days after the quake. While that work was meaningful, I was not fully using my gifts in discipleship and organizational leadership. I felt led to stretch my wings as a lead pastor. 


I have served Westminster for eight years now along with the elders, two associate pastors, and staff. It has been a time of challenge and great joy—including adding a delightful daughter to our family. Emi and I have prayed together to carefully discern God’s plan and God’s timing. We are clinging to Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to shalom you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Pastor Nominating Committee

The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) met, read scripture, and prayed together throughout the search process. Hear what the Pastor Nominating Committee has to share about Pastor Barnabas. 


  • “We saw the Holy Spirit’s handiwork when Barnabas so uniquely met our vision of a special pastor to lead us at this critical juncture, as we seek to reach those around us in need of Jesus in disquieting times.” - David Erlenborn


  • “We conducted many interviews, but we always had reservations about the candidates, until we met Barnabas. Each step of the screening process solidified our unanimous conviction that God is calling Barnabas to LCPC.” - Sharon Lawton


  • “Barnabas and Emi believe that discipling their children to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is their most important task as parents. This sets a terrific example for us that sharing one’s passion for Jesus and showing God’s grace and mercy to our neighbors should be at the forefront of our lives.” - Don Mayer-Brown


  • “What a blessing to encounter a skilled leader, well educated theologian, outgoing, energetic, engaging, passionate for Christ and then have him tell us he is willing to say yes to serve Christ and the community of and around LCPC.” - Jim Owen


  • “I find Barnabas and Emi to be wonderful, spirit-filled people who serve the Lord in a deep and profound way.” - Peggy Simpson


  • “I am amazed at God’s graciousness in leading Barnabas to our church, with his Spirit-filled wisdom and energy for leading the church into richer discipleship, community, and mission in a way that will speak to the heart of the LCPC congregation and the surrounding community.” - Pamela Ohman Strickland


  • “An authentic, humble and compassionate pastor and devoted husband and father, Barnabas emits an energy around his deep faith that is contagious!” - Sharon Szabo

Process for Selecting a Pastor

This is an overview of the process that the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) will use during the search for a new Senior Pastor for Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church. There is not a set timeline for the process. We are committed to letting God be our leader and guide throughout the transition and search.

  • STEP 1: Congregation confirms Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)

    • Session nominates PNC based on recommendations from Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church (LCPC) leadership and committee members
    • Congregation confirms PNC

     

  • Step 2: Conduct Discernment Process

    • Session appoints Catalyst Team
    • Prayerfully seeking God’s guidance, Catalyst Team, PNC, and Session meet with staff and leadership to develop an understanding of our corporate personality, the vision and mission of our church in our community, and long-term goals
    • Catalyst Team prepares a three-year strategic Action Plan with assistance from The Center
    • Share the results of this process with the Congregation
    • Determine the qualities most desirable in a candidate for LCPC
    • Remain in contact with our ECO Northeast Coast Ministry Partnership Team (MPT)


  • Step 3: Initiate the Search for Candidates

    • Develop the Congregational Profile, which reflects the culture and direction of LCPC based on results from the discernment phase
    • Develop the job description and advertisement for a new senior pastor
    • Session approves Congregational Profile and job description
    • Post these documents on the ECO website, as well as other appropriate search outlets


  • Step 4: Review Candidate Profiles

    • Receive and review resumes, faith statements, and other inquiries
    • Conduct initial reference checks
    • Prayerfully develop an initial list of possible candidates
    • Update Session monthly on the status of the search process


  • Step 5: Interview Potential Candidates

    • Develop question list
    • Evaluate, identify, and select candidates who match criteria
    • Schedule and conduct initial interviews, in-person when feasible, electronically when not
    • Prayerfully develop a short list of candidates
    • Schedule and conduct in-depth, follow-up interviews
    • Hear sermons, in person when possible
    • Prayerfully discern God’s will   
  • Step 6: Select Candidate

    • Provide the short list of candidates to Session for due diligence
    • Present the selected candidate to Session for approval
    • Present the selected candidate to our ECO Northeast Coast ECO Presbytery for approval
    • The congregation votes to receive the candidate and approve terms of call   


  • Step 7: Welcome Our New Pastor

    We are so excited to welcome Rev. Dr. M. Barnabas Sprinkle on December 15!