Summary: Sermon looks at the importance of teamwork in any leadership setting.

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“Effective Leadership Requires Teamwork”

Acts 20:17-36

When the water begins to get rough and a change of direction is required, you quickly come to the realization of the importance of teamwork. A collection of individuals, each of whom is looking out for number one, will not be able to survive in the hostile waves of the world. That is exactly why thriving organizations are committed to moving everyone in the same direction regardless of the cost or consequences. There will always be those who disagree with the process or the plan, many of those individuals just are not yet able to see the vision. However, there comes a time when everyone must buy in. Team work comes to the forefront when you burn your bridges and everyone is committed to the overall cause despite their different opinions. Teamwork is the key to success in the local church. Under Christ, capable leaders with varying talents combine their efforts to carrying out the God given mission of the church. The ministry staff, leaders and the people sitting on the pews must work together in harmony for the local church to be successful in carrying out its mission. We live in an era of transition. In the midst of the rapid changes of direction taking place in our society, the church needs to realize that teamwork is as important as ever. Today I want us to take a very serious look at what is necessary to have an atmosphere of teamwork and the benefits of teamwork for the cause of Christ. Paul’s relationship and ministry with the church at Ephesus gives us some deep insight into this subject.

I. Paul and the leadership at Ephesus had a deep love for one another.

A. When individuals share in work, weariness, or worry they come to understand each other better and to love each other more.

1. Many commentators believe that Paul did his greatest work at Ephesus for two main reasons.

a. Paul spent more time in Ephesus than at any other church.

b. Paul and the Ephesians shared a deep love for each other.

2. The Ephesians had heard and tested Paul’s teaching. They watched him and he watched them.

3. Paul knew their weaknesses as well as their strengths and vice versa.

4. Paul was not one to work into his ministry gradually like a diplomat feeling his way. “From the first day” he gave himself unsparingly to the work of the Lord in Ephesus, for Paul was an ambassador and not a diplomat.

B. The love and devotion that the Ephesians and Paul shared for each other and the Lord provided a harmonious spirit for their work.

1. Paul served with great humility and tears to show his deep devotion to the Ephesians and the Lord.

2. God loves the church and will never bless a church where dissention exists.

3. In Proverbs 6:16-19 there is a list of seven things the Lord hates with a passion. Verse 19 addresses this subject with number seven on the list, “a troublemaker in the family.”

4. It is a dangerous thing to wound or divide the body of Christ, but where a spirit of harmony exists, the Holy Spirit flows and God blesses the church.

5. Paul loved the Ephesian church and its leaders and the loved him enough to walk thirty miles to see him one last time.

6. When the church fights ministry comes to a halt, the baptistery will not be used very much.

7. In order for the Church to grow there must exist a harmony and deep devotion between the ministry staff, leadership and the congregation.

II. Paul and the leadership at Ephesus shared a deep commitment to the truth and sharing it passionately with all they came in contact with.

A. Paul declared, "I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you."

1. The message of his ministry was also widely known, because he announced it and taught it publicly as well as in the various house churches of the fellowship.

2. Paul’s message to the Ephesians had been simple and single-minded—he had one message for Jews and Gentiles alike—the need for faith in Christ that follows a turning from sin and turning to God.

3. Paul was passionate about the message and shared it with all he came in contact with. He stressed you have eternal decisions to make, and you are responsible for what you do with the information.

4. The truth is that man has a sin problem which can only be taken care of by Jesus Christ.

5. Paul worked to help people see the truth and actively apply it to their daily lives.

B. Paul brought his farewell message to a close by warning the leaders of the dangers they had to recognize and deal with if they were to protect and lead the church.

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