Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 3 -- By: Bard M. Pillette

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 06:1 (Summer 1997)
Article: Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 3
Author: Bard M. Pillette


Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 3

Bard M. Pillette1

Paul’s Successes and Failures at Teamwork

The Investment Required for Good Partnerships

My wife Pam and I have been married twenty-six years. She is my friend, confidante, and partner in the work. She has home schooled our three children and raised them to be sincere, committed believers who actively work with us in starting new works. Although not gifted as a teacher, she teaches the women and accompanies me on our evangelistic Bible studies, sometimes five nights a week. She sits next to me, putting her arm on my leg. Often we have stopped after a study at a café for coke or coffee and French fries to talk about our impressions of how a particular couple was responding to the gospel. I have never had a friendship with anyone else like what I have with my wife. There are very few couples who are as like-minded as we are. We make a great team.

Nevertheless, we must periodically struggle to maintain our good working relationship. I would like to have people over all the time for meals. My wife thinks our lives are busy enough as it is and once a week is plenty. She dares me to bring in a third party to give their opinion. I know that the only women who would defend me are bedraggled and worn out, and that would only prove my wife’s point. True partnership is not easy nor automatic. It requires great investments of emotional energy and of humility. Partnerships are painful because they remind us just how difficult we are to get along with.

I am somewhat reluctant to address the issue of teamwork since I have not always enjoyed success in this area — but then of course neither did Paul. Many have experienced disappointment in their attempts at teamwork because they enter into it with unrealistic expectations. Paul’s experience is insightful and encouraging.

Analysis of Paul’s Partnerships

Time Physically Present with Partners

Most Bible students are aware that Paul almost never was alone and that he most often worked with a number of other men. But few have given much thought to how he actually worked together with others.

It may be surprising that Paul worked with a total of forty-one itinerant workers. Yet only fifteen of those itinerants labored with him for any significant time, and only ten maintained considerable contact up until his death.2 Those ten friends worked with Paul for a minimum of fourteen years and a maximum of twenty-five.3

Some perhaps have a ...

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