The ministry of the gospel is a team effort. Our focus on “the minister” in contemporary Evangelicalism is not Biblical. The New Testament model depicts the whole church, all Christians, as ministers. In his final conclusion to Titus, Paul demonstrates again the importance of team ministry in gospel work. Gospel ministry is an every member ministry.
Paul mentions seven people or groups of people in this conclusion. He writes:
12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
Artemas and Tychicus are mentioned in verse twelve, along with Titus (implied you). Zenas and Apollos are mentioned in verse thirteen. Verses fourteen and fifteen highlight two distinct groups: “our people” (v. 14) and “all who are with me” (v. 15). Each individual or group is included in the work of the ministry at some level. Paul does not work alone.
All are called to “good works.” The goal is not simply to be a good person, but to be able to “help cases of urgent need.” Paul here instructs Titus to help “our people learn” how to do this. It is their responsibility as a church to minister to those in need. Gospel ministry, church ministry, happens best when the whole church learns to care for one another. Paul teaches the same thing in Ephesians 4. He tells the Ephesian leaders that they are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12-16). It is the saints who do the work of the ministry, and the church leaders whose job it is to equip them.
Paul does not view his role as doing ministry, nor does he simply instruct Titus to do all the work. The role is to develop a strong team of diverse people to carry out the work of the church. Paul’s seven individuals or groups are all involved in ministry and he celebrates their inclusion. This is the model we need to follow today.
Far too much ministry in the contemporary Evangelical church is focused on paid staff, the “professional Christians,” the “ministers.” But this contemporary model is not consistent with the New Testament picture of ministry. Gospel ministry is a team effort. It involves all of us working together to care for one another, to show the love of Jesus, to “do the work of ministry.” We need one another to fulfill the gospel commission. Gospel ministry is a team effort and it takes all of us working together.
Pastors, leaders, who are you training to do the work of ministry? How are you training them? How are you including them? Gospel ministry is a team effort and it takes all of us working together.