When you see in this number, 222? Some see redundancy. Others see a mathematical product. Some folks my age and older see an obscure TV show from the 66’s.

What do I see in this number? A biblical text, one that radically changed my approach to ministry. Let me explain.

When I began in ministry I was pretty arrogant (That’s hard to believe, right J). Not that I saw myself that way, but hindsight is 20/20. I knew any ability within me to serve God was His gift, as opposed to any strength of my own. Still, I overestimated my personal importance to His work.

This was especially true in my early pastorates. Back then I assessed my staff in terms of how they empowered my ministry, or how they reflected on me. I loved them, but for me it was all about how they helped me lead the church. And, regrettably, I treated my lay leaders in much the same way.

It took several years and some unfortunate battles to learn my error. Along the way God provided some Godly examples who redefined for me ministry leadership. Rather than use their staff and associates to elevate themselves, these individuals elevated their team. Leadership for them was about assuring that others had everything necessary to become what God has called them to be.

I’m glad to say their lesson stuck. My goal as a pastoral leader now is to enable the men and women God places within my influence to thrive in their personal faith and ministry.

And this brings us back to 222. The verse is 2nd Timothy 2:2, where Paul says, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Ministry is not merely about sharing God’s truth. It is about raising up others who will also share His truth with still more who do the same. It’s not your race to the finish. It is a relay, in which your greatest responsibility is passing the baton.

Pastors, your strongest ministry will come when you elevate and empower your staff and key leadership. Church staff members, glorify Christ by building a team of ministers from the body, rather than being the “go to guy” for your area of ministry. Think of how different, and better, your experience would be if you had even one more faithful, godly, Christian serving beside you.

I spoke the other day with a pastors who felt he was doing all he could and needed help. He said, “If only God would bring us a few leaders to help.” I understand. I was sympathetic. But then I thought to myself, seldom do leaders come to us ready made. Most often, if we have Christian leaders standing with us, it is because we intentionally developed them. That’s 2nd Timothy 2:2. It’s also the Great Commission.

Hope your summer ministries are flourishing and that Christ’s power is evident in your churches.

Bro. Jim