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Gospel Partnerships

There if often criticism about deriving leadership principles from the Bible. Such principles are accused of forcing their agenda onto a passage like an ill-informed review. It was as if the Scriptures themselves would speak up and declare, “that’s not what I’m saying!” and yet the principle is picked up and embraced by eager readers. I want to be clear that this is not my endeavour in this blog series. Nor is it ever my goal in any handling of scripture. In order to do justice to both the biblical text and the context that we’re applying it to, my goal will be to draw out particular observations contained in the text whilst retaining the integrity of intended purpose and meaning.

The content explored in these following posts arise from our text in 1 Thessalonians and will be filtered for the context of leadership development.

Some conclusions will be drawn from:

observation: observing a truth in the text

application: applying a truth from the text

implication: drawing an implication from the text

My hope is that the scripture will do what scripture does best – teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). My prayer is that scripture will equip us for every good work, reveal Jesus and sanctify us to grow in wisdom and understanding as leaders. My heart is that the beauty of scripture will wash over our mind and lives spilling onto the followers around us.

Without further adieu, let’s begin to see the importance of leading together.

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To The Church of Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.”

Road trips are fun because you share the experience with others. Journeying together forms bonds between people and deepens relationships. What we observe initially is that Paul works with a team of gospel ministers. Whilst his commission by God was isolated (Acts 9:15), his outworking of that call has been in partnership with other gospel ministers.

Initially he was sent out with Barnabas by the church at Antioch (Acts 13:2-3). This was their first missionary journey to Cyprus and Asia Minor. After parting ways with Barnabas (Acts 15:39), Paul choose Silas (Silvanus) to partner with him to advance the gospel forward. In this second missionary journey they picked up a promising disciple Timothy in Lystra. And by promising I don’t mean “oh he’s got potential to be great one day,” but promising in the visceral sense that he, as a grown man, chose to be circumcised in order to minister to the Jews. That my friends is commitment!

This commitment to the gospel and its proclamation saw churches strengthened in the faith and increasing in numbers daily (Acts 16:5). They did all this in the context of a side-by-side ministry. 1 Corinthians 3:9 says that they were “co-workers in God’s service” and that the church is “God’s field, God’s building.” These “co-workers” were more than just ring in’s to get the job done, but faithful brothers and sisters in the faith that saw the gospel invade dark places.

These co-labourers shared in the mountain top moments of effective gospel ministry (1 Thess 2-8) and also in the gloomy depth of imprisonment and affliction (Acts 16:22-24; 20:23). They were beside him when they were mistaken for gods (Acts 14:11-12) and when they were pelted with rocks and rioting (Acts 14:19; 19). They were partners in the gospel through thick and thin. There was a sense of ‘togetherness’ about their ministry.

Therefore we learn that Paul didn’t fly solo in his ministry. He has others laboring beside him and others that he was training up. I wonder today do you feel like you have partners in the gospel? Do you have the sense that you have co-labourers with you or do you feel as if you’re somewhat isolated in your leadership? If so, perhaps it’s time to prayerfully consider whom you could invite to join with you as you minister the gospel. Remember, it’s better to share the journey together.

 

…The Take Home

Leaders partner with one another in ministry, don’t fly solo.