Servants of the Gospel need support

Narelle Jarrett

In the very beginning God recognised that reflecting his image and filling and governing the earth required more than one person.  As well as being the world's first man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother, Adam and Eve were the first of God's earthly "co-workers'.

There are many instances in the Bible of God providing co-workers for his leaders.  For example Moses with Aaron; Jethro's encouragement of Moses to appoint elders to assist in sorting out the requests and needs of the people in the desert; Elijah was given, by God, the help of Elisha; Samuel and Jonathon supported David; Jeremiah was assisted by Baruch.

The New Testament is replete with similar examples.  Jesus chose twelve men to take up the responsibility of taking the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Roman world.  The eleven, plus Mathias and Paul, chose men and women to assist them in that task " their names are well known "Stephen and Philip, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Epaphras, Priscilla and Aquilla, Euodia and Syntyche, to mention a few.  They were all precious co-workers assisting the Apostles in encouraging and teaching congregations throughout the Roman world.

The principle of working with and alongside others in ministry is well established.  A few ministers may be lone, long distance runners. Most of us, however, thrive best in working with and alongside others. 

From within our groups and Christian circles, we need to find the one or two who will listen to us, provide us with wisdom in challenging times, call us to grow in holiness -  people who are a safe haven for us, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, praying with us and for us.  Those who will rejoice with us and weep with us.  Who will not draw back from providing the encouraging rebuke when it might be needed.

Everyone in ministry needs an Aaron or a Jethro, or a family like Mary, Martha and Lazarus' to spend time with.  Everyone in ministry needs a Biblically wise person who will remind us of God's teachings so that we become neither loose with doctrine nor oppressed by a doctrine of works.

Do I have such a Christian friend or friends? Yes I do. 

Do you have such loyal Christian friends? If not, why not make it one of your first priorities in 09 to establish such relationships? Ministry is often very lonely " we need others to encourage us and to pray with, and for us.  Who might God be providing for you? Jethro and Aaron were related to Moses; Samuel was a prophet and leader; Jonathon a friend; Elisha was God's gift to Elijah; the fellowship of the apostles was established by Jesus; Paul was particularly encouraged by Barnabas; Paul invited men to work with him and then discovered the help of Phoebe along the way.

The work of ministry can be very lonely; finding support is our responsibility.  Who will you approach?  Could it be someone from your own extended family?  Or a member of a Bible study group?  Or someone from College?  Or a person you've met through Ministry Training & Development?  Or someone who attended a small group meeting with you?  And if there is the opportunity, why not enlist several people to pray for you, to meet with you occasionally and to support you?

All servants of the gospel need support.

Narelle Jarrett is the Sydney Diocese’ Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry