Wayne Barber was a pastor, teacher, and author who had a passion for sharing the grace of God with others. He served as the senior pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for two periods, from 1981 to 1999 and from 2011 to 2016. He also taught at Precept Ministries International for 14 years, alongside Kay Arthur. He was the founder and president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry that focused on helping people live by the indwelling life of Christ. He wrote several books and Bible studies, including Living Grace: Letting Jesus Be Jesus In You. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. He died on August 29, 2016, at the age of 73, after a short illness. His death was a great loss for the church and the Christian community, but also a celebration of his life and legacy.
Early Life and Calling
Wayne Barber was born on January 26, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sara and Al Dunn. He had two sisters, Shannon and Ashlee. He attended Christ the King School and St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, where he excelled in basketball. He then went to Mars Hill College in North Carolina, where he met his future wife, Diana. They married in 1969 and had two children, Steven and Stephanie. He graduated from Mars Hill in 1970 with a degree in business administration. He then attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He received honorary doctorates from North Florida Baptist Theological Seminary and Covington Theological Seminary.
Wayne Barber felt called to ministry at a young age, but he struggled with legalism and performance-based Christianity. He tried to please God by following rules and rituals, but he felt empty and frustrated. He was introduced to the message of grace by a friend, who gave him a book by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, called The Complete Word Study New Testament. He began to study the Greek language and the original meaning of the Scriptures. He discovered that Christianity was not about what he could do for God, but what God had done for him in Christ. He learned that he was not only saved by grace, but also sanctified by grace. He realized that Christ lived in him and wanted to live through him. He experienced a personal revival and a new joy and freedom in his relationship with God.
Ministry and Impact
Wayne Barber began his ministry as a pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in 1981. He led the church to grow in numbers and in spiritual maturity. He preached the Word of God with clarity and conviction, emphasizing the grace of God and the indwelling life of Christ. He also mentored and trained many young pastors and leaders. He left Woodland Park in 1999 to join Precept Ministries International, where he co-taught with Kay Arthur for 14 years. He also co-hosted a radio and TV program called New Testament Light, where he explained the Scriptures in their original context and application. He traveled around the world, teaching at conferences, seminars, and churches. He founded Living Grace Ministries in 2005, a ministry that aimed to help people understand and experience the grace of God in their daily lives. He wrote several books and Bible studies, such as Living Grace: Letting Jesus Be Jesus In You, Following God: Life Principles from the New Testament Men of Faith, and Following God: Life Principles from the Women of the Bible.
Wayne Barber had a tremendous impact on countless lives through his ministry. He was known for his love for God, his love for people, and his love for the truth. He was a humble and gracious servant, who always pointed others to Christ. He was a faithful and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, who cherished his family and friends. He was a joyful and generous giver, who supported many missions and ministries. He was a godly and wise leader, who influenced many pastors and teachers. He was a gifted and anointed communicator, who taught the Word of God with power and relevance. He was a man of grace and truth, who lived what he preached.
Cause of Death and Legacy
Wayne Barber died on August 29, 2016, at the age of 73, after a short illness. The cause of his death was not officially confirmed, but according to some sources, he had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs, which can lead to a heart attack. He was at home with his wife, Diana, when he passed away. His death was announced by his son, Steven, who is also a pastor. He was survived by his wife, Diana, his son, Steven, his daughter, Stephanie, and his seven grandchildren. He was honored with a memorial service at Woodland Park Baptist Church on September 3, 2016, where hundreds of people gathered to pay tribute to his life and ministry.
Wayne Barber left behind a rich legacy of grace and truth. He touched many lives with his smile and his spirit. He inspired many people with his faith and his example. He equipped many people with his teaching and his resources. He challenged many people with his message and his mission. He blessed many people with his love and his generosity. He glorified God with his life and his death. He finished his race well and received his crown of life. Wayne Barber cause of death was a sad loss for the church and the Christian community, but also a joyful gain for heaven and eternity. He will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.