How to Become Partners in Ministry

As we journey through the Book of Acts, we see how God places different people to partner with Peter and Paul in their missionary work. We believe in the empowerment of lay leadership (i.e. people who are not employed by the church) so that the primary tasks for pastors are to teach, to preach, and to equip others in the church to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12).

A great example of these partners in ministry that we see in Acts 18 is a husband-and-wife team named Aquila and Priscilla, who supported the work of Paul first in Corinth, and then in Syria and Ephesus. Here are 3 principles from their example that you can learn to apply immediately on how to become a ministry partner with your church to serve your pastor.

1. Serve Where You’re At

“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”   Acts 18:1-3 (NIV)

Paul had a similar career as Aquila and Priscilla as a tentmaker. There was a season when each of them had to manage their ministry duties along with their businesses to provide a means to their livelihood. Many of the pastors at Coastal Church began their call to ministry while working in a “tentmaking” career of their own.

Pastor Dave worked in the oil and gas industry and continued to do so in the early years of his pastoral work. I (Pastor James) worked as a Project Engineer in the public transportation sector for almost 10 years while serving actively in the local church before switching to full-time vocational ministry at Coastal Church.

You do not have to quit your job immediately to pursue a call to ministry. It is very possible that God may be calling you to minister as you remain in your current vocation. As you step out to serve where you are at, God will develop the spiritual gifts and calling necessary to prepare you for the next step.

2. Use What You Have

 “So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” Acts 18:11 (NIV)

As Paul devoted more and more of his time to teaching and preaching, he was supported by Aquila and Priscilla through income from their business and accommodation in their home. Their gift of hospitality was instrumental in the establishment of the church in Corinth.

While Priscilla and Aquila assisted Paul by being a blessing to him, we can see that they were also blessed by having the opportunity to hear the truth of the Gospel regularly and maturing in their own faith as a result. When you open your homes and business to the Lord to host ministry gatherings, you often get first-hand teaching from the Word of God that can be more profitable than seminary classrooms.

My wife and I enjoyed every opportunity we had to host out-of-town pastors in our home because of the intimate conversations we would get to share with other spiritual leaders. Their stories and call to ministry would always inspire our own faith and devotion to the Lord’s work. Those of us who host weekly Life Group meetings in our homes understand that while there is work to prepare and clean up after, there is always a blessing to our families when we steward what God has given us for His Kingdom purpose.

3. Trust the Lord to Direct You

“Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila… They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.”  Acts 18:18-21 (NIV)

I am very thankful for spiritual mentors that God placed in my life at different stages of my call to ministry. My initial mentor was Darwin Dewar who was the UBC campus minister who led me to the Lord and coached me to do ministry with college students city-wide. When God called Darwin and his family to move to Edmonton, the Lord led him to ask me to take over the ministry that he started. I did not think I was ready to do it at the time and asked to spend more time with him, but he declined just as Paul did to Priscilla and Aquila.

Good leaders keep things healthy when they stay. Great leaders keep things healthy when they leave because they have empowered others to step in and to step up. I would not be the leader that I am today if mentors like Darwin, and Pastors Dave & Cheryl had not trusted the Lord to point me towards my ministry direction. I am thankful to serve Godly leaders that hear from the Holy Spirit, and I can trust them to direct my spiritual journey.

As Priscilla and Aquila were faithful to serve where they are at, and use what they have for ministry purposes, they matured in their spirituality as well. This was evident in their subsequent mentoring of Apollos in the Word of God (Acts 18:26).  There are many couples, business owners, and leaders today who are faithful partners in ministry at Coastal Church and we want to see God continue to bless them and direct more of you to serve  His Kingdom purposes in a similar way.