January 2023 News Release

Arctic Barnabas Ministries
1/1/2023 News Release

KENAI, AK – Arctic Barnabas Ministries (ABM) in Kenai, Alaska, announces a leadership change at the executive level of the ministry. Colonel Robert (Rob) Bearden, U.S. Air Force retired, will assume leadership on January 1, 2023, following the retirement of Dr. Jim Hamilton who has been the Executive Director for almost six years. Arctic Barnabas is an aviation-based support ministry to pastors and missionaries in Alaska’s remote communities.

Hamilton said a seamless turnover is anticipated following a transition plan implemented to phase in a new Director. As part of that transition, Bearden joined the staff in October as Operations Director. Hamilton said, “Bearden is a gifted and talented leader who will bring significant value to the mission and the team.”

Rob is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Colonel and has served on four continents. His last assignment was as Commander, Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 9 at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Bearden has Alaska ties through two previous assignments and through his wife, Lisa, who grew up in Delta Junction, Alaska. The Bearden’s, with their three children, have settled into their recently acquired home in Soldotna and are pleased to join Lisa’s family who now also live in the area.

Bearden said his goal in transitioning out of the Air Force was to move into a team ministry where they could provide pastoral care. He discovered what Arctic Barnabas was doing in their aviation program headquartered in Kenai and identified with the mission objectives. “Lisa and I have a passion for pastoral care, and the opportunity to lead and guide a team working through all the difficulties of supporting pastors and missionaries in remote areas is a challenge that appeals to us. We have already discovered that the ABM team loves what they do in providing this type of service, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

“Bearden’s military background, extensive education, and leadership experience is what we were looking for in a new Executive Director, and we were fortunate to already have Rob on board,” noted Tim Van Sickle, chairman of ABM’s Board of Directors.  He also noted the smooth transition underway.

Rob and Lisa’s immediate family includes Megan (18), who is enrolled at Kenai Peninsula College; Hailey (16), a homeschooled 10th grader; and Andrew (13), homeschooled as an 8th grader.

When asked about his leadership style, Bearden said he places great emphasis on the biblical principles of humility and mercy. “Leaders,” he said, “should be approachable and people-oriented. They should strive never to make things ‘about them’ but to make everything about the team and the mission. This approach has served me well in the military, and I suspect it will translate well to leading in support of missions.”

When meeting with his future Board of Directors, Bearden made reference to a signature theme he felt appropriate to emphasize:  Faith – Focus – Family – Fun.  “We are faith-based, focused on our mission statement of strengthening and encouraging pastors and missionaries, always family oriented while having some fun in the process.”