When we think of Paul, we often think of a spiritual giant, going through the Roman world planting churches, routing the philosophers in Athens, writing the most profound letters ever written, getting bloodied by stones, whipped, flogged, and shipwrecked–all by himself. A one man superhero.
Paul didn’t accomplish all this or endure all this by himself. He constantly had people around him: co-laborers, associates, apprentices, friends, partners in the gospel. There’s a reason that when Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them out in pairs. You are not meant to do gospel work by yourself.
If you want a ministry to be short lived, start it by yourself, do it by yourself, and share authority with no one but yourself. If you’re really gifted and dynamic, you’ll see something grow up for a time. People will flock to it because you have a lot of gifts, but then when you’re done it will be done. No team, no partners, no investment in future leaders, no future ministry.
How do you do ministry? Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many others entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
A huge part of ministry is constantly training up others, releasing others, and empowering others, so that they can replicate what you do or replace you when you’re done. How are we doing?
Books by Kevin DeYoung:
- The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
- Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will
- What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission
- The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism
- Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion