Connecting is the next leadership area I want to address. In my overview I referenced the connection between Paul and Barnabas that enabled the gospel to go forth. There are many others in scripture and I invite you to look for them. We need connections with others to move forward in our calling and purpose and we also need discernment to recognize what is before us. Clearly Barnabas saw something in Paul that others did not and the fruit of that seeing continues to reverberate through the centuries and into eternity.
Many years ago I heard Billy Graham’s response to a question. He was asked about the key to success in ministry and responded, “Find a group of people and grow old together.” This is true in life as well as ministry. What is one of the first things Yahweh had to say in scripture?
18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)
While this verse refers to the joining of the first couple the principle applies to leadership. We cannot do things alone. We need to walk with others as that is how He designed us. We need one another to accomplish our purposes but also to celebrate our accomplishments. Imagine an awards ceremony with a single person on a stage and no one in the auditorium. It would be both literally and emotionally empty.
There is an expression, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” We need to go far and I have had the privilege of consistently walking with friends in ministry, some for decades (perhaps that just means I am getting old) ) and know the depth of fellowship in a common purpose.
Let’s take a deeper look at Paul (Saul became Paul over time) and Barnabas
25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:25-26 (NKJV)
We see here that they were joined together. If we go a little further we also see something else.
1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:1-3 (NKJV)
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out Acts 14:14 (NKJV)
Paul (Saul) and Barnabas were both prophets and/or teachers in the church at Antioch. When they were sent out by the Holy Spirit they are then referred to as apostles (the word means ‘sent ones’). The point here is that these two great apostles in the early church were only fully released into their callings after they were joined together.
Are there others we need to connect with to see our calling and purpose realized?