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Ryan Lokkesmoe: Paul and His Team

Ryan Lokkesmoe, Paul and His Team: What The Early Church Can Teach Us About Leadership and Influence (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2017), 224 pages. ISBN-100802415644, ISBN-13978-0802415646 

Ryan Lokkesmoe has a doctorate in New Testament from the University of Denver. He currently serves as lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church, which he helped plant in the Houston, Texas area in 2015. Paul and His Team is his second book.

As the title suggests, this is a book about relationships. God puts people in our lives in order to mold us, help us, and shape us. He also, at times, gives us people to lead. The author uses the experiences of the apostle Paul to call our attention to important principles of life and leadership that are found in the New Testament. The main body of the book consists of twelve chapters. The titles of the chapters are: “The Quest for Common Ground,” “Watch the Burden,” Offstage Leadership,” More Than a Ceasefire,” “Worthy Conflicts,” Genuine Collaboration,” “Kingdom Diplomacy,” Relational Stewardship,” “Relentless about Reconciliation,” “Trust in the Fog,” and “Fade to the Background.”

In the introduction, Lokkesmoe shows us that a lot of things go into making us who were are. The influences on our lives include family, friends, books, and churches. All of these have in some measure helped shape us into who we have become. Now, we in turn are influencing others. As Christians we should desire to have a positive and powerful impact on our world. However, we cannot do this effectively by ourselves. In order to maximize Christian impact, we need relationships with other believers. Teamwork is essential; the apostle Paul’s example makes this clear. Lokkesmoe says that qualities like humility, self-sacrifice, and radical grace are essential to the task. In the remainder of the book he sets forth the positive principles that we should pursue and the problems that we will encounter along the way. In the book he uses the words leadership and influence interchangeably.

In chapter 1, the author discusses trying to find common ground. He shows us how the apostle Paul sought to do this with the people he ministered to. In the synagogues he sought to build bridges to the Jewish community by citing the Old Testament scriptures, which they would be familiar with. When he spoke to a non-Jewish audience he altered his approach, he directed his speech to connect with them in their particular culture. For example, in Athens he spoke about their altar to an unknown God in an attempt to bring the gospel to them. As Paul himself wrote in 1 Corinthians 9 he became all things to all men in order to save some. He did not alter the gospel message, but he did craft the message to his listeners. The author says that seeking common ground is wise because it helps to reduce the barriers to the proclamation of the gospel. He points out that if we can find common ground with people they are more apt to like us, and this is a great help in Christian ministry.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2018

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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