In the year 2020, most people know what it means to “give a shout-out” to someone. But, and at the risk of stating the obvious, let’s consider some of the meanings that a simple Google search will turn up:
- Oxford Dictionary: “a message of congratulation, support, or appreciation.”
- Merriam-Webster: “a public expression of greeting, praise, or acknowledgment directed toward a person or group often as part of a performance, recording, or broadcast.”
- urbandictionary.com: “a public expression of thanks or gratitude.”
So with these meanings in mind, let’s define “giving a shout-out” as “publicly expressing appreciation for someone because of some good they have done.”
In 2015 the president of HealthKeeperz, Tim Brooks, made a visit to each Healthkeeperz office to introduce a new organizational culture initiative that he called “The Barnabas Culture.” The Barnabas Culture was the name given to what was described as a culture of encouragement that Tim desired to see fostered within HealthKeeperz. At that time, The Barnabas Culture goal was articulated as HealthKeeperz wanting “to be an organization filled with people who are caring, selfless, humble and encouraging.”
Those four characteristics were taken from what we know about a man named Joseph, whose nickname was Barnabas, in the New Testament book of Acts. Luke, the writer of Acts also known for his Gospel, refers to Joseph by his given name only once at his introduction. After that, he refers to him by his nickname, Barnabas, each time he appears in the narrative. And that was 23 times after his introduction!
This significance here lies in the meaning of the name, Barnabas. Luke records the following in Acts 4:46:
“Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)…”
You see, Joseph was so well-known for his character, as opposed to his given name, that his character became his identity! From other scriptures, it appears that Joseph’s conversion and faith in Jesus had a profound effect on his life, such that who he once was became overshadowed by who he became through his faith in Christ. Thus, it constituted a complete name change—not just any name, but one that is fitting of the characteristic, which is now the impulse of every action and sweetness of every word. What a great name to behold, and become through Christ a son of encouragement.
If I am recalling correctly, it was the desire of HealthKeeperz’s leadership that the company would no longer be as it had been. Something of eternal value and importance had gripped their hearts, and they believed that it changed everything. Indeed, God was orchestrating a culture shift, where the primary goal would be to have a workplace culture of encouragement that cares for all people for the glory of God.
Now, what does a history of the Barnabas Culture at HealthKeeperz and the concept of “shout-outs” have to do with each other?
For five years, starting back in February of 2015, each quarter, all HealthKeeperz employees have been encouraged to nominate a coworker for the quarterly Barnabas Award. The nominations are based on our company’s core values, which are:
- Be Compassionate
- Purse Excellence
- Take Ownership
- Put Family First
The idea is that when you see a coworker living out our core values, we should nominate them for being a Barnabas. In the spring of each year, HealthKeeperz hosts the Barnabas Award Banquet. At the banquet, we celebrate our culture of encouragement through being together and sharing in a meal, to see one of the four quarterly award-winners chosen as what we endearingly call the “Super Barnabas.” This event has been our way of giving a shout-out to our coworkers for a job well done and a life example worth following.
So to my coworkers at HealthKeeperz, here’s a shout-out to all of you. With God’s help, may we continue to make HealthKeeperz a place of encouragement for those who work here and a source of compassionate care for the many lives touched by us all!
Happy fifth anniversary to the Barnabas Culture!
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis