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Growing The Team

Acts 16:1-5
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. (NIVUK)

Paul and Silas travelled overland to the cities, in what is now southern Turkey, where Paul had previously preached the gospel and new believers grouped together as new churches. Last time he visited, religious activists opposed his teaching and their hostility overflowed into violence. Nevertheless, he knew that the spiritually immature believers needed encouragement and further teaching: that was why he returned, despite the threat of further violence.

Paul understood that gospel ministry required teamwork. In Lystra, where he had been stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20), Paul met Timothy, a mixed-culture young man who seemed just right to join his team. Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5) but his father was a Gentile. Although the local believers attested to his Christian devotion and godly character, Timothy was not circumcised or a member of the synagogue.

That was a problem, because Paul believed that he should not abandon the Jews; rather, the gospel should be preached to them first (Romans 1:16). So Paul's team needed to be able to access the synagogue and Timothy was circumcised. That decision removed a barrier for some Jews to hear the gospel and come to Christ. It was not a rule for all Christians but enabled Timothy to join the team and witness for Christ. And so Paul's team travelled on, sharing what the Jerusalem elders had said about how to handle the interface between Jews and Gentiles so that no obstacle would get in the way of either group responding to the gospel (Acts 15:19-20). It was productive ministry.

Although the Old Testament depicts prophets as solitary characters, Jesus sent His disciples out two by two and formed new believers into churches to be the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Paul's ministry employed networked teams. If you are a solo Christian where you live or work, seek out another to share and pray together, encouraging each other to live for Jesus and speak about Him. It is the Jesus-way. So if you are not a part of a team, find one and join it. If you are, then work together in love and mutual respect, and value the variety of spiritual gifts with which you can serve the Lord together.

Lord God. Thank You for being such a wonderful divine team of Father, Son and Spirit. Thank You for including me as a part of Your Body. Forgive me for ever thinking that I do not need to work with brothers and sisters. Help me to know how to fulfil my calling by identifying the right team with which You want me to work for You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams