27 Apr The Treasure of Relationships with Other Leaders
As we see in the recorded history of the New Testament-era churches, they were connected with each other. Their example shows us how meaningful it is to build ongoing relationships and associations with other elders and evangelists in other churches.
In Philippians 1:1, Paul says he is addressing “overseers and deacons” and in Philippians 1:30 he claims what a wonderful help it is to seek advice and inspiration from other leaders who are “undergoing the same struggles” (and blessings!) of leadership that we are experiencing. We can encourage, advise, and support each other. We can share ideas, struggles, strategies, and perspectives, and our shared wisdom will be a multiplied blessing for us and for the people we lead. Proverbs 15:30 encourages us to invite input from many sources in our lives: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” God will use these relationships and conversations to teach and equip us to become the most effective leaders we can be.
I recommend setting up consistent ongoing times to meet with elder and evangelist teams from other churches. My own experience in building relationships like this has been amazing. The friendships I forged with other leaders who shared my love for God and His church were tremendous blessings in my personal life and in my leadership. Ministry can be a lonely, isolated job, but it doesn’t have to be—let’s invite other elders and evangelists into our lives as friends and partners in the gospel.
We can take this connection a step further by setting up some joint meetings between our churches or small groups within our churches. Our entire church will benefit from these precious outside connections, finding new friendships and fresh inspiration from brothers and sisters in other places. This kind of connection will of course take some effort, but the growth and encouragement our church members experience will make it worthwhile.
Paul’s example below shows us the ongoing concern and connection he maintained with churches in many different cities:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-11)
As leaders, let us open our hearts to build relationships with our fellow Elders and Evangelists in other churches, inviting the blessing of their friendship and influence, knowing that it will help us in our hearts, our leadership, and our churches!
*Check out the video!