Relationships (Acts 18:1-4)

“And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” (Acts 18:2–3, AV)

My first real church experience was at a new church plant in Bartlett Illinois. It was called the Alliance Church of Bartlett and it met in a school building near our home. In that little congregation I met some who became some of the closest friends I ever had. We had a bond that was very special. We grew quickly to know one another and love one another. In this group I had a special friend, named Dave. Our families had a special relationship. Dave and I became partners in ministry in that church and served together as elders, leading small groups, and as elders. We often encourage one another in life and ministry. I came to understand the need for close relationships in the Christian life.

Ministry is the same way. God promises to provide us everything we need for ministry (Phil 4:19). While we need many things, one of the most important things we need are relationships with other believers. We need one another as believers in ministry. We have an example of this in Paul’s meeting with Aquila and Priscilla. After Paul left Athens, he arrived at Corinth. There he met a couple named Aquila and Priscilla. He became close friends and partners in ministry with them. They helped Paul by giving him a place to stay and some part time work (v3). God provided everything Paul needed in life and ministry.

It is amazing how the Lord in divine providence works to bring people together. Aquila and Pricilla were tent makers who apparently had an international tent making business. They had established a business in Italy and probably would have remained there except that Claudius had ordered the deportation of all Jews from Italy. The couple decided to set up shop in Corinth, a natural choice since this was a prominent and bustling center of commerce in Greece. Paul arrives at Corinth on this missionary endeavor and meets the couple who have the same trade as he. This established a wonderful relationship for Paul in his ministry. 

The ministry is about relationships. Within the many relationships in our church and life, there are those special people that the Lord brings into our lives. How do we identify these special relationships? Primarily, it is a matter of getting to know people. We need to spend some time together, talking. In these times of fellowship, we will find common ground, certain synergies that exist between others and ourselves. These synergies can be passions for ministry, gifts and talents, vocations, hobbies, backgrounds, family, education, etc. These synergies are the springboard for those special relationships.

Henry Blackaby speaks of seeing where God is already at work and then joining Him there. Perhaps we have never realized this, but the Lord is already at work in bringing unique people to the church fellowship. He does so by bringing unique people into our lives. Our struggle is taking the time to get to know these people. For some people this seems easy and for others it seems a struggle. Yet to see where God is at work, we must strive to know the people he has brought into our lives. It is vital for us to identify the areas of synergy that uniquely connect us, just like Paul with Aquila and Priscilla. Therefore, make the effort to get to know others. When you do, you will experience a blessing.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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