By Pastor Akinola
We shall be looking at the case study of Apostle Paul as he built the Vision support network of his ministry. Most of the characteristics mentioned in the previous sessions were noticed in the lives of Apostle Paul’s associates, as we shall observe in the present session. Covenant helpers in life and destiny are surely part of God’s ways to our success and divine fulfillment.
APOSTLE PAUL’S VOCATIONAL NETWORK
Apostle Paul had a vocational network to support his apostolic mission that was developed in the Mediterranean region. He spent about 10 years to establish this regional support network (during his second and third missionary journeys).
Key Persons in Paul’s Vocational Support Group : It is worth mentioning that there were up to fifty key persons mentioned in the Bible as vocational and covenant support persons in his network. Their composition covered many kinds of advancements of “the world” in Paul’s time. Intellectualism, politics, military, commerce, trading, agriculture and industry were some of the areas covered by the network. In fact, Apostle Paul straddled the 7 hills of civilization of his time, because, even when you want to doubt the inclusion of the unlikely area of sports and entertainment, it featured severally in many of his writings.
The people came from several known cities and fields of profession. Some had full time ministry callings like Lucius of Cyrene, Silas, Timothy and Apollos. Some others were professional and bi-vocational ministers like Luke, a medical practitioner, Zenas, a lawyer and Gaius, a professional host. Some others were purely people of business and wealth like Lydia, a trader of purple linen, Aquilla and Priscilla, who are builders. There were also people of influence in the society like Erastus, the City Treasurer of Ephesus, Paul’s fellow countrymen like Jason and Sosispater, Macedonians like Aristarchus and Secundus, among many others.
PAUL’S LEVERAGING OF COMMITMENT TO HIS NETWORK
The extent of success achieved in life and destiny is directly proportional to the level and versatility of network building by the individual, as well as one’s commitment to that network. In the case of Apostle Paul, as mentioned above, he was highly committed first and foremost to his calling, and he was productivity-conscious. In view of this he was also similarly committed to his network to carry the same burden as he was, and truly, they were. May the Lord bless you with covenant helpers that will be committed along with you in making you fulfill divine purpose. (Titus 3:14).
THE APOSTOLIC 5-FOLD TEAM NATURE OF NETWORK
It is wisdom to be strategic in the choice of people in your network. Apostle Paul was strategic in this respect, as he built his vocational support system around 5-fold ministers. All the 5-fold ministry gifts were found in his network. Surely the Scriptures affirm that “..in the multitude of counselors, there is safety” (Prov. 24:6). It must be noted that Paul himself “was appointed a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the gentiles” (2 Tim 1:11). Silas was a prophet and apostle, and Timothy also an apostle and evangelist. (Acts 15:32; 1 Thess. 2:6; 2 Tim 4:5).
These were strategic associates of Paul, who added value to his life and ministry. They stayed long enough with him to make necessary impact. In the same way we should be consistent with people in our network for necessary impact to become evident. We will continue on this in the next session.
•J.K. Akinola. (Senior Pastor) The Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT), Ibadan, Nigeria.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Pastor (Dr). E.O. Abina – General Overseer.