A Concise Theology of Changing the World (Volume 3): Together

Ministry is a social endeavor.

Ministry is not the lone ranger appear and disappearing from ministry project to ministry project. It’s a team effort.

Early in his ministry, Paul was teamed up with Barnabas and John Mark (Acts 12:25). And that was before their received their specific commission from the Holy Spirit in Acts 13:2.

This kind of team ministry continued throughout Paul’s ministry which is why Paul writes in the plural first person: “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor. 4:1) and “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again?” (2 Cor. 3:1).

Paul’s ministry is not Paul’s ministry. It is God’s ministry through Paul and the people with him: “Paul…And Sosthenes our brother.” (1 Corinthians 1:1) “Paul…and Timothy our brother” (2 Corinthians 1:1); Paul…and all the brethren who are with me.” Galatians 1:1-2) and so on.

Getting a special (read: scary) call to ministry typically makes us control freaks. And control freaks are not typically inclusive.

But if Jesus himself could delegate His ministry to those under His care (Matt. 10:1) and eventually unleash that ministry to the world (John 16:7), shouldn’t we be at least as open handed?

The fact of the matter is that we cannot follow in the ministerial steps of the Christ or the early church fathers if our plan is to go it alone.

We need each other. Those of us who are called to expand the kingdom of God must have “team” encoded into our DNA.

That’s why we encourage every leader, “Change the world. Don’t do it alone.” We need each other. We need the accountability and support that Solomon describes:

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)