Ministering as a Team
When Priscilla and Aquila heard [Apollos], they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
~ Acts 18:26 (NIV)
A couple in our church provides invaluable training for people who are planning to go into the ministry. Marshall and Chris show young couples how to love one another and how to raise their children wisely and well. They host a small group in their home in which they study and apply Scripture together. They talk through what it means to shape their homes around Christ, and how to do so while working in the church. Marshall and Chris share special meals with these couples and fuss over the kids.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But the work is draining. There are times when this mature couple would like a break from the emotional demands of such mentoring—even just a quiet night at home. Plus, it’s hard to constantly be saying goodbye to families they’ve grown to love who are moving on in ministry. But Marshall and Chris mentor others because they believe in building the church.
The apostle Paul knew a couple like that, a couple who always worked together as a team. Their names were Aquila and Priscilla. And they understood the price of following Christ. Paul wrote about them in Romans 16:3, saying, “They risked their lives for me.” Their initiative to live for others came from praying together and talking over ministry opportunities; it also came from a selfless love of other believers and, of course, their devotion to Jesus.
In more than 30 years of marriage, my wife and I have frequently invited people to stay in our home. Sometimes we offer a place to a student who is taking a two- or three-week class at Trinity Evangelical Seminary, which is near our home. Other times, we provide a place for someone who has nowhere else to go. Once we opened our home for 15 months to a young woman and her preschooler. Sometimes such commitments proved to be far more complicated than we had imagined; yet the rewards often exceeded our expectations.
Every ministry has its price and its privileges, and every ministry undertaken by a couple can be a challenge to their marriage. Learning to share the work, to complement one another’s gifts, and to pray together through difficulties are not always easy.
Think about some of the issues Aquila and Priscilla must have talked about and prayed through together. They must have recognized and valued one another’s natural and spiritual gifts and determined to work as a team. They were so good at working together that Scripture always mentions them as a team. They were such students of Scripture that they were able to make a significant contribution to the training of one of the church’s most promising leaders: Apollos. And they had the gift of hospitality, for a church met regularly in their home (see 1 Corinthians 16:19). What a model for marriage!
- What about Priscilla and Aquila’s relationship appeals most to us?
- What couples do we know who have effective ministries together (whether in their home or beyond it)? What are some ministries that most appeal to us as a couple? Why?
- What steps might we take to expand or deepen our household ministry as a couple? Are we sensing that God wants us to open our home to others to perhaps lead a youth group, parent foster children, mentor engaged couples or host a neighborhood Bible study?