Tim Yarbrough of Trinity, Ala., doesn’t do social media, neither do the Christians involved in a bottom-up labor of rebuilding and restoration in Lawrence County.
But he gives me a 25-minute interview about the work of many people involved in a voluntary and biblically faithful work seeking to bring reformation with a multigenerational reach to their part of the world, their country, their hometown.
“If you want to find out what we are doing,” he says, “you have to come visit us.”
Mr. Yarbrough, 62, and his wife Deborah have three grown children and grandchildren, and attend Trinity Free Presbyterian Church at 1280 Old Hwy 24, Trinity, AL 35673, where he is an elder.
“One of the greatest mistakes reconstructionist and pastors make, in our view, is they believe and conduct themselves as though most pastors in their communities are also leaders,” Mr. Yarbrough says. “We are of the opinion by training (I do a lot of management consulting) and observation that at least 95% of pastors are emphatically NOT leaders and are not gifted to be leaders. The leaders are generally the other men and women in the congregation and our present day processes fails to recognize this reality. Positional pastors need to be evaluated on actual leadership skills and NOT on academic training. Almost all of the leaders in our community of faith for all of life believers, excepting two, are not positional pastors.
“This begs the question as to whether or not, when we seek pastoral leadership in the practical application of Kingdom ethics in the community if we are not expecting this leadership from the wrong segment of the believing community. We would answer ‘yes.’”
The following is from Faith for All of Life by Chalcedon Foundtion in Vallecito, Calif.
My county, my communities, my cities
Excerpt from essay in Faith for All of Life by Chalcedon Foundation
*** I was thirty-five years of age before a genuine brokenness for my county, our local communities, our local cities—the place where God planted us to leaven—began to dominate and restructure my life’s mission. Indeed, much is wrong and we will yet pay a heavier price for it, but God influenced us through Dr. Rushdoony: plant where you are; plant intentionally; and maintain awareness for “first the blades.” It is there, in the sprigs that sprout, the seed that swells, the ground that cracks, where hope for the potential of the mature harvest will first appear. Dr. Rushdoony’s great lesson to my life and home is best summed up, so I think, by Pierre Viret:
In reading the Scriptures we learn the theoretical, but we are never good theologians until we practice our theology in divine letters, and never shall we comprehend it well without being exercised in it by various trials, by which we come to the true understanding and knowledge of the matters we read of, and taste the goodness and assistance, help, and favor of God. By this we see how blessed they are who trust in Him who shall never forsake them. For apart from this we speak only of the Holy Scriptures as armchair generals, and as those who discuss the war or other matters after only hearing of it, with no understanding or experience of it whatever. (Pierre Viret, Letters of Comfort to the Persecuted Church, translated by R. A. Sheats, p. 18.)
Our communities, so my experience teaches me, have never been offered the paradigm of a comprehensive, victorious Christian worldview marinated in the aroma of a conquering King. “The meek shall inherit the earth”: “first the blades.” ***
I have owned and operated my own businesses for forty years, which has taken me to several nations and three continents. Our business group has helped successful apprentices launch a number of businesses and we are constantly working with new endeavors and trying to help existing businesses. I teach classes to our Christian young men and women on the dominion orientation of owning businesses and have helped launch over sixty different enterprises. A lot of my direct work today is consulting with companies for energy and structural efficiencies.
The following are a few of the items which we are working on throughout our community (county).
James 127 is a work that flows from the combined efforts of two of our local congregations, in which we seek to identify widows in distress and meet their basic life needs (including housing or house repairs) while engaging their families with the requirements of God’s law in terms of their relationship with the widow. By “engaging their families,” we mean visiting with them and teaching them (whether they’re believers or not) what God’s law requires regarding widows. It is a great way to explain the gospel because of endemic lawlessness. In addition, we have written some short position papers that we use with other churches in the area and are actively working on more substantial position papers for this aspect of the endeavor.
What we have discovered is that pastors and congregations who are antinomian and/or dispensational are open to the value of this aspect of God’s law because they can see it clearly. It is what we call a necessary bridge work. Our rural county has over nine hundred widows. We have recently purchased nine acres to develop into homes (and have one already which a family has moved into) for genuine younger widows (by death, Biblical divorce, abuse) who homeschool and want to continue to do so. Our goal is to put up a building there this coming year to house outsourced work from various companies we are contracting with. This way, the families can live and work together, supplying their needs in a community of peers with the support of the local congregations.
One of the goals is to teach them the skills to run the company so that it can then be delegated to them.
Home education, mentoring families
All of the CR (Christian Reconstructionist) families in our area are home educators and a large number are basic Reformed as well. There has been a great hue and cry about Christians getting their children out of government schools but not a lot of active evangelizing of them to do so. This project, which we have practiced for some years, is being formalized for launch after January 2017. The framework here is that we are training our existing families, some in their second generation, to become specifically assigned mentoring families to those seeking to move to the home education model.
Our plan is to hold five-county introductory “meet and greet” meetings in different locations where interested families can meet both first and second generation home educators and talk with them one-on-one. From those meetings, the interested families will be invited to three different hospitality meals at the homes of existing home educators just to get to interact personally. Our aim for this coming year is to help launch another five hundred children out of the public school sector by this process.
In addition to the homeschool evangelistic program, we teach in different existing homeschool co-ops. Among our CR participants we have taught economics, history, Greek, music, philosophy, etc. At present I am teaching one particular co-op with the following approach:
1st hour: Life Styles of the True and Faithful in which we seek to define, explore, and apply basic lifestyle principles. As an example, the first one in this series is Why Should Anyone Trust You or Anything You Say? The premise is that one must be willing to embrace that they have a duty to earn the trust of others by being trustworthy in both word and practice—including in their home.
Next 30 minutes: This is a class on “Who Said That?” wherein we take the declarations of a historical figure, read them, and discuss the implications. Of course, attendees try to guess who “said that.” The goal here is to get them to see and understand the different philosophical approaches to life and why the Biblical view is superior.
Final 30 Minutes: Biblical Economics: Understood and Applied
All three of these teaching segments are designed for significant interaction.
Deeper outreach at multiple levels
We meet constantly with our County Commissioners, mayors, city councils, etc., providing them with instructions from the Scriptures, history, and present-day problem solving. As a group, we have pored over our county, city, and school budgets and are preparing to provide privatization alternatives (we did this in 2002 and the politicians did not want to give up spending other people’s money). We are planning to launch a countywide program identifying the tremendous benefits of everyone becoming “debt free” and that there is a way to do that.
Tied to this is the launch in January 2017 of our classes for training Proverbs 31 men (see verse 23 of that chapter). Our textbook will be The Institutes of Biblical Law with a specific emphasis on what the local problems are that can be solved at the local level (certain things that are federal and state concerns require a different approach). The goal is to have qualified individuals prepared to run for every open county office in 2018. It must be understood that the courage for interposition will be a necessary component.
At present, with all the groundwork we are and will be doing, our game plan is to run on a idea: Restoring Community Through Faith, Freedom, and Frugality using Article 1, Section 35 of the Alabama Constitution as the platform launching pad: “That the sole and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” We have one group here in our county, another group that we will be teaching in Colbert County, and this year I am making my first attempt to teach this class online. These classes all require the undertaking of community based projects that are intentional and where one can actually exercise influence.
Historically, we developed a program in our area where Christian families who saved their money and were able to buy their land and the material to build a modest home had access to organized donated labor to build that home debt-free. So far, we have built seventeen of these.
This approach reaches across all kinds of denominational barriers via the homeschool community. What we are now doing is combining some resources (Lord willing) to purchase thirty acres in the local area (the price per acre drops significantly when you buy more acreage). Then the young men and/or young families will be able to purchase the land in increments of three to five acres while paying for that land at the thirty-acre rate. The goal is to allow them to own and build with a reduced cost function and without debt. This is an effort entirely premised on inter-generational thinking and planning. Such intentional capitalization for benefit to future generations also holds forth promise that sacrificial examples will spur greater maturity in those generations and their vision will go beyond where we have been.
We put on three major conferences each year, one at our congregation (fall—3-day) and two at Pastor Jim’s (spring and fall—one evening and one day). The young men and women govern this and they are simply excellent at handling it. Their work here has a wide impact and influence.
We carry on a public outreach at our fairs, trade days, etc., where we set up booths and prepare literature to pass out, films to see, and training for young and old in one-on-one apologetics. This is great training.
We have a number of other activities, such as our public reading clubs, minister newsletters, and instructions to judges and other public officials reflecting our objective to demonstrate that the ideas of CR are well founded in both Scripture and history. The work here is now influencing similar undertakings in six other Alabama counties. Our prayer is to reach all sixty-seven counties in the state and that such work would be undertaken locally and grown organically. We are often asked, but we honestly do not have nor desire any formal organization for our endeavors. What we have discovered is that the free market works just as well in the influence market as it does in the product/service market. We consider the example of Acts 8:1–4 to be one of the greatest examples of genuine leadership in all of history.
One of the latest developments has originated with a young man in Bibb County who has developed an excellent method of creating a news alternative online for his county. He’s still working out the bugs but he has been successful so far and we hope to duplicate what he is doing in our own county this spring and encourage it across our state. His initial process for gaining access to readership was simply a stroke of brilliance and its most notable feature is that we then govern the conversation. This is a frightening prospect for enemies of the gospel and Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Our greatest obstacle and challenge is the toxic creation of dependency by families, churches, and the civil government.
Our second greatest challenge would be antinomianism (but there is a way to work with that), followed by dispensationalism (but young people are abandoning that in droves here) and dualism. The need to apply wisdom in confronting these and other obstacles has never been greater nor the opportunity more favorable.
We do not have full-time people on these initiatives because we determined long ago that our local work would be funded by those actually involved (an idea that we gleaned from one of Dr. George Grant’s books, as well as from the example of David in the Scripture). We determined that if something was worth pursuing, one of the questions that must be answered “yes” is that it also be worth paying for.
Personal mentoring/counseling also consumes, on average, twelve hours a week of my time. As we say, it is an intentional lifestyle. Actually, it is a glorious lifestyle.
Radio interview with Roger Oliver and Jerri Lynn Ward regarding the Yarbrough work against sex trafficking.
Tim lives in the county where he was born and raised and always lived with his wife Deborah. He has been a serial entrepreneur for over 4 decades and a dedicated mentor to others.
At the local level, where Tim’s real passion resides, he and other local Christians have developed processes for (1) the care of widows and seeking to recover that care back within the framework of the family; (2) the care of abused women and children from inside the religious world (mostly Protestant) including immediate care, housing, Biblically-based counseling, job training, work opportunities, etc. (3) helping rescue victims of sex trafficking by working on the ground and with legal teams, (4) the creation of an adoption program where the goal is that all abandoned babies throughout their North Alabama area will find permanent acceptance within a committed Christian family, and (5) supporting orphans in a variety of applications.
A Symposium on Christian Reconstruction, Family Business, and Dominion: Reconstructing Our Lives, Families and Assets
Mr. Yarbrough contributes to a book about his labor in Christian rebuilding. https://chalcedon.edu/store/868933-a-christian-symposium-on-christian-reconstruction-family-business-and-dominion
The Pacific Northwest Christian Reconstruction Symposium presented the importance of Christian Reconstruction for Christian families and around the recognition of the tools of dominion that God has given to families for the home and the marketplace.
One early June weekend, in between swatting mosquitos and camp style dinner, we sat fellowshipping with many other Christian families in the Pacific Northwest. We learned about the origins and core ideas behind Christian Reconstruction from Mark Rushdoony, President of the Chalcedon Foundation, then about the principles related to separate spheres of influence from Tim Yarbrough. Michael Kloss, Pastor of Redeemer Church, inspired and edified with beautiful pictures of the glorious Kingdom of our Savior.
Entrepreneurs Joseph Graham, and Daniel Stachofsky discussed the Christian principles behind productive and service-oriented family businesses that work side-by-side with each other. They taught that God has given families tools that are meant to be honed and used for multi-generational productivity.
Susan Eby, author of AutumnSong.net blog, shared with wives and mothers the incredibly important place women have been given by the Lord in supporting their husbands and raising godly children.