25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. – Acts 11:25-26 (NIV)
Paul (Saul) and Barnabas went to Antioch on a mission. Earlier, in verses 20-21, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and shared the “good news” and “a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Word of this reached Jerusalem and Barnabas, who was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith”, was sent to Antioch where he encouraged the believers (vv. 22-24). That’s when he went for reinforcements, seeking out Paul (Saul) in Tarsus.
The Book of Acts gives the Bible reader an account of the missionary journeys of Paul. Barnabas, also known as “Son of Encouragement,” went to Tarsus and brought his partner to Antioch. They spent a year there, teaching and discipling a diverse population of believers. Obviously, they did some good works because the people were called “Christians,” followers of Christ. At some point, their teaching and fellowship must have hit home with those with whom they shared the Word of God.
Think it through. There were those who brought the Good News that sparked the movement among the people. Barnabas stepped in and offered some support to the new converts. After that experience, Paul (Saul) was brought in to assist Barnabas in discipling the people at Antioch. That was teamwork. The teamwork occurred in phases or stages.
We need to examine the example of these men further. Our ministries need to do something similar. There needs to be a team who can go into uncharted territory and break new ground with the Gospel. They need to be able to share the Good News with fervor, winning hearts and souls along the way. They need to return to the house of God, sharing what they discovered as fertile ground, so that others like Barnabas can come in and edify the new believers with words of comfort, gladness and encouragement. From there, those encouragers can leverage their relationship with the believers and other evangelists and workers who can support and strengthen the believers. That’s teamwork.
We need prayer warriors who can intercede on behalf of lost souls and those evangelists and missionaries. We need workers within the ministry who are taught and trained, equipped to do good works beyond the confines of the house of God. We need those who have the spiritual gift of exhortation, comfort, and other special gifts to serve in a variety of capacities in order to reach a dying world.
It takes a team who can work together to bring a community together in the name of Jesus.
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
– 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NKJV)
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