From One Team to Another
Teams are important in God's work. But they need to be led strategically under God's authority. That was Paul's job. Yes, he was an apostle, an evangelist, a pastor and a trainer, but he was also a passionate, dedicated and God-appointed team leader. With Silas, Paul had brought the gospel to Thessalonica; and Timothy had also taught what it meant (perhaps he was left there when Paul and Silas had to flee to Berea). The gospel was their reason to be there, working together despite the persecution it stirred up (Acts 17:1-9).
Writing from Corinth, Paul wanted to encourage the new believers in Thessalonica, a busy seaport on the Thermic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Already some Jews and many God-fearing Gentiles, including important women in the city had put their faith in Jesus (Acts 17:4). They now had important work to do; they were a new gospel team learning to grow together in their knowledge and love of Jesus, and to work together - telling others about Him and urging them to receive His grace.
They were not alone. They were taught and encouraged by the apostolic team, but when they put their trust in Jesus they became part of God's gospel team. The Father and the Son had made their home with them (John 14:23), and the Holy Spirit had been at work within them (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6). And yet, Paul and his team were also part of God's team. In one way it was a different team to that in Thessalonica because they had the responsibility to plant churches and bring them to maturity. But in another way all the gospel teams, whether apostolic or local church based, are all part of Christ's great team with a responsibility to encourage one another.
If you are in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (and you cannot be in God without belonging to Christ), then you are in His gospel team. You cannot be a solo player. Your vertical relationship with the Lord should be matched by a horizontal relationship with other believers. Wherever you are - find them, get to know them, pray with them and work with them in proclaiming the gospel. You may have support from your church team, or those who pray for you back home, but the Lord is forming a local team wherever you are. Become a part of it, grow in it and serve with the people who know Jesus where you work or study. And then send back a report to the teams who have supported you, and ask them how you can pray for them too (Acts 14:21-22).
© Dr Paul Adams