Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Team”

Paul’s Partners in the Work of the Kingdom

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.                               1 Corinthians 3:9     (NIV  1984)

As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ.                                  2 Corinthians 8:23     (NIV  1984)

In Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthian church, he addresses the issue of factions forming around certain leaders – particularly Apollos and himself.  He defuses the argument with the statement that all are nothing more than God’s servants (doulos) and fellow workers (synergos) with God.  And he continues that it was truly God who brought about the spiritual growth in their lives.

Paul’s perspective on the work was what Jesus taught in Matthew 11 – “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:29-30  (NIV  1984)

Paul was very clear that he was yoked together with Jesus as he sought to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.  And yet, while he was laboring as an “expert builder,” he was under no illusion as to who was truly bringing about the results.  It was Christ!

Paul uses that same word picture of a “fellow worker” (co-laborer) in his second letter to the Corinthian church.  But this time the term is used to refer to Titus, who had recently met Paul to report the response to his first letter.

It appears that Paul had entrusted the delivery of the first letter to Titus with that plan that they would meet in Troas to debrief on the response (see 2 Corinthians 2:12ff).  But, for some reason Titus was delayed, and therefore Paul moved on to northern Greece and it was there that they met and Paul sent his second letter, again carried by Titus.

In describing his relationship to Titus, he says that Titus is a “partner and fellow worker.”  Titus had previously joined Paul from Antioch to meet with the Twelve in the Jerusalem to discuss the essence of the gospel message that Paul was teaching among the Gentiles (see Galatians 2).  Titus (probably a Gentile believer), joined with Paul and Barnabas on the trip to Jerusalem as “exhibit A” of what a Gentile believer looked like.  And Titus was later sent on special assignment to Crete by Paul to help establish the work after Paul had left behind a foundation for the spread of the gospel (see the book of Titus).

Paul acknowledges two partners in his work – Christ, first and foremost, and Titus, illustrative of his teammates like Apollos, Silas, Timothy, and  Luke.  Both are key to accomplishing the work.  Christ the center of our work as Kingdom leaders and then the team whom God gives us to accomplish our calling.

Who are your ‘fellow workers’ or ‘co-laborers.’  Have you told the Lord recently how grateful you are for the privilege of being yoked to Him?  And have you expressed to your co-laboring team (including your spouse) how appreciative you are for their hard work and sacrifices that they are making?

Leadership Team Responsibilities

Leadership team members have a unique relationship one to another.  They are often thrown together and told to function as a team because the leader chose them.  But they were chosen individually, most often without much say as to who else joined the team.  We may or may not be “naturally” drawn to our teammates.  Though we are united on our mission and vision, our personalities, backgrounds, or interests may present challenging obstacles to our effectiveness as a leadership team.

How do we relate to one another on a leadership team?  What are our responsibilities to each other?  No doubt you could list several, but let me suggest two that I see in the Word.

In John 13:1-17 Jesus models the attitude of a servant before his leadership team.  After finishing, in vv. 13-14 he says, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”  Jesus’ instructions to “wash one another’s feet” were given to explain how the members of His leadership team were to relate to each other.  They were to serve each other, choosing to meet the needs of fellow team members rather than promote or serve one’s own self interests.  As members of a leadership team we have a responsibility to serve one another, helping each other become a success in our individual responsibilities.

In Acts 20:28 we see another responsibility.  Paul had gathered the Ephesian elders together for some final words and he reminds them, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”  We often neglect to notice the first part of this passage.  The members of the Ephesian leadership team were to “keep watch over [them]selves.”

Yes, I am my brother’s keeper!  We have a responsibility to one another on our leadership team to make sure we continue to walk with God, fulfill our family responsibilities, and fulfill our leadership calling.  Spiritual leadership requires the utmost in Christlike character and we are to “keep watch” on that as well, as we fulfill our duties.

‘Serving each other’ and ‘keeping watch over each other’ are two of our responsibilities as leadership team members.  Let’s not be so focused on the outward responsibilities related to our leadership roles that we neglect to fulfill the responsibilities to those on our team.

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