By A.B. Vines
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
When you have a threefold relationship with brothers in Christ, you’re not as easily broken because you have the stability of accountability. Such a threefold relationship also helps ministry leaders be humble and outward-focused; it protects them from the earthly trinity of me, myself, and I.
I have such a threefold relationship in my life. It consists of three men who hold me accountable at different levels: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.
I encourage you to seek out people to fill these roles in your life and ministry.
1. Find Your Paul
A Paul is someone you look up to—a person who inspires you to be the best you. He’s also the one who motivates you to walk right and live at a high level of integrity for Jesus.
Furthermore, Paul is the person who’s also allowed to ask you the tough questions and get real answers regarding your ministry goals and dreams. You need a Paul in your life. I exhort you to find one as soon as possible.
2. Find Your Barnabas
Barnabas is the person who keeps you grounded in your walk of faith and in the struggles of life. This is the most critical guy in the group!
Not only does he get to ask questions, he must ask the question to pastors who’re married: “When was the last time you had a date night with your wife?”
Why is this the question? Well, sometimes we married pastors become so ministry-minded, we forget the church is not our bride! Our bride is the one we said “I do” to in front of God and others.
In the effort to be all things to all people, married pastors who are also dads can often forget their wife and kids! For this reason, if you’re married, your Barnabas must ask you the date night question!
Why? Because he knows how driven you are about ministry.
How? Because he knows and cares about you and not just your church.
Pastor, you need a Barnabas in your life. A brother who’s there to encourage you, build you up, and who’s willing to ask the most important questions.
3. Find Your Timothy
Finally, we have a Timothy. He’s the guy you’re pouring into; you’re his Paul, so to speak.
Timothy is a guy who’s looking to you as a role model. This helps keep you on your toes because you don’t want to let your Timothy down.
Keeping Priorities Straight
Brothers, when you have someone you’re looking up to, someone who can check your public and private life, and someone who’s looking up to you, it will help you keep your balance!
And we could all use some balance, amen?!
As you look to advance the Kingdom of God in your community, your city, or wherever else you believe the Lord is called you to serve, please don’t forget your first ministry which is your family.
Let’s not save the world and lose our family in the process. Having a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy in your life will go a long way in making sure you live by integrity and honor.
Keep your priorities straight, and finish well.
Dr. A.B. Vines
Dr. Vines has been the pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego for the past 13 years and was elected first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Vines currently serves as president of the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) and is a trustee at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He is husband to Karen, the father of four, and “PaPa” to nine.