Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him; a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV
Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. Matthew 18:20 ESV
Paul uses the word “synergos” 13 times in the New Testament. He uses this word to describe those that he worked with. His team! Though “synergos” can be translated “co-worker” or “partner,” the word implies complete unity of effort.
I love to work with a team if I’m in charge of the team! Confession: this was my former manner of leadership. I repent! I really do want to work with a team as several of us or a dozen or a hundred or multiple thousands working together can change the world.
This happened with the church in the first century.
The Apostle Paul was organizationally responsible, more than any of the other apostles, for how the church spread throughout the Roman Empire. The church must learn Paul’s methodology today, in the last few years before Christ returns.
Paul’s “co-working” leadership style:
- Discipling strategies. Paul discipled most of his co-workers. His signature discipling principle can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (NIV).
- Committed prayer. Paul prayed and battled spiritually for his co-workers. Paul writes, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2 ESV).
- Determined unity. One of Paul’s great chapters on leadership is Ephesians chapter 4. He discusses apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Before this teaching to leaders, he gives this encouragement: “Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Verse 3 ESV).
As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, “synergy” means “working together.” The Apostle Paul uses a synonym for “synergos” throughout his writings. That word is “allelon” interpreted as “one another.”
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that we are to encourage “one another.” In about 50 other verses the Apostle Paul gives insight into how to be co-workers with one another: tolerate one another, forgive one another, be of the same mind with one another, and serve one another. There are dozens more “one another” principles and practical steps for being co-workers.
Jesus gave the commission that we are to go throughout the world making disciples and teaching obedience to His commands. Paul did it. He took the gospel to the Roman Empire with his “co-worker” strategy.
I am excited to be your co-worker. Still lots to do before Jesus returns. I am going to follow Paul’s example who was following the example of Jesus.
Let’s do this with one another!