Pastor Barry had enjoyed a long association with Calvary Chapel Portsmouth before taking over as Pastor in January 2012.
Born and raised in a Christian family in Deal, Kent, Barry had learnt to play the drums and guitar, and from the age of 11 regularly played in the worship group at his local Anglican church, and then at age 13 was ask to drum for a local ‘Christian band’. At the same time Barry’s parents had bought him a ‘One-Year-Bible’. Knowing that the band’s aim was to talk to people about God, Barry felt compelled to start reading the Bible so that he would know what he was talking about! (See 1 Peter 3:15-16)
Although never having read much as a child, that year Barry read through the whole Bible, and then again the next year, and every subsequent year since. What started as curiosity, became a habit, and then a passion for God’s Word that has only grown deeper over the years. Barry carried on playing drums in bands, playing all over the Kent and London music scene, the highlight of which was 4 years playing with ‘Maverick’. Of the 4-piece band, three are now serving as Pastors!
At around age 18, Barry started becoming more and more uncomfortable with the lack of teaching, and at times, disregard for the Word of God in the church he and his parents had attended since he was a child. One Sunday morning, prompted by the Holy Spirit, Barry made the decision to leave, and moved to a local Baptist church, that, says Barry, “at least believed the Bible, even if they shied away from anything ‘controversial’ for fear of upsetting people”. [This will be the experience of many who have grown up in the church – either being subjected to a liberal undermining of Scripture or settling for a sincere yet watered down othordoxy].
8 months later, Barry’s parents also left the Anglican church – like so many, they stayed so long believing they could change things. Once again, with clear leading from the Holy Spirit (and encouragement from the late NZ evangelist, Barry Smith), they started Deal Christian Fellowship and soon after, Barry joined ‘DCF’ (www.dcf-online.co.uk), going on to head up the youth ministry for the 11-18 year old’s, and lead the worship band.
At another defining moment in Barry’s life, in 2003, he attended the F.A.C.T. conference in Portsmouth, Hants. Barry recalls: “I was in the front row, and (the late) Bible teacher & author Dave Hunt was pounding the lectern declaring ‘we can PROVE the Bible is true, we can PROVE Jesus is the Messiah’, I though to myself ‘can we?’ ‘can we really prove it?’ a big grin appearing on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I believed it, but no one had ever told me just how solid our faith was.” Chuck Missler then took it to a whole new level (anyone who has heard Chuck teach will understand!) demonstrating that (in Chuck’s words) we can be ‘more certain that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, than we can about any other fact in the universe’. Barry returned from the conference and set about studying the Bible, verse-by-verse, using Chuck Missler’s audio commentaries as a basis – arguably this afforded a much better grounding in God’s Word than most Bible colleges can offer.
By God’s gracious engineering, one of the other speakers at the conference was Ron Matsen, the then Pastor of Calvary Chapel Portsmouth. Over the next few years Barry & family and Ron became good friends. Ron introduced DCF to the whole idea of teaching expositionally through the Bible, verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book. Barry comments: “To some, expositional teaching through the Bible may be nothing new, but to many who have come from a mainstream/traditional church background, it is far from the norm. The impact this had on DCF was profound, and eventually led to DCF becoming affiliated to Calvary Chapel”. Barry then moved out of the youth ministry and started teaching the weekly Monday night Bible studies at DCF, and was also asked on numerous occasions to teach at Calvary Portsmouth when Ron was away, thus getting to know the fellowship well over the next 7-8 years.
Further cementing the close relationship with Ron and Calvary Portsmouth, in 2007 Barry was asked to co-host the weekly live Q&A phone in on Genesis TV (that aired each Friday evening on the Sky network) that followed Ron’s hour-long teaching.
When one door closes another opens, and when the work on Genesis TV came to an end, Barry started Calvary Chapel Poole, as a direct result of contacts made through the program on Genesis TV. For the next three years, through the monthly meetings with Calvary Chapel Poole, God was preparing Barry for the next step in his ministry.
In October 2011, Barry received and email from Ron Matsen simply entitled ‘Leaving the UK’. Ron had been offered to opportunity of partnering with Chuck and Nancy Missler in the work they were doing in New Zealand. Immediately Barry knew the Lord was calling him and his family to Portsmouth. By late November Barry had been officially asked to take over as Pastor in Ron’s stead, starting in January 2012.
Barry is married to Joy, and has 3 daughters, Mahlah, Amita & Connie.