Last year, I experienced something that made me want to throw up in a bucket. I had just come off of a meeting and had about 30 minutes before my next meeting. My assistant at the time, Jazmine, said to me, “Pastor, we need to talk.” I’m not sure why, but immediately in my gut I knew she was letting me know she would be leaving our church’s staff. Over the next few minutes, she told me it was time for her to leave the Bay Area. She explained to me how God had opened a door for her to move home to Arizona. Long story short, she continued to serve our staff and my family virtually from Arizona for almost a year. Eventually, God opened up a door for her to work for a wonderful church outside of Phoenix.
Last week we scheduled her “exit-interview.” She didn’t know that we had planned a surprise Zoom call with our executive team, so Stacie and I got to watch her cry through the next 30 minutes as everyone on the team expressed their love and gratitude for her faithfulness.
Jazmine served as an assistant for our family for almost four years. She prayed, shuffled kids from appointment to appointment, worked on major projects, helped keep meetings on schedule, challenged me to become a better leader, and improved the culture of Echo. She hardly stepped on a stage and rarely had a mic in her hand, but she had a huge impact on our local church. She will always have a special place in our hearts.
Sometimes people like Peter and Paul get all the credit, when in reality it takes a whole army to accomplish a vision. A vision is not built on the talents of a few, but the sacrifices of the many. Silvanus, or Silas, was instrumental to Peter and Paul’s work. He shows up in many places throughout the New Testament, alongside the apostle. Silvanus was a helper, and he was content to take a back seat as long as the Gospel was being preached.
These two verses remind us that even the great apostles needed a team. Peter needed Silvanus help to write the letter. My guess is that Peter did a lot of talking and Slivanus did most of the writing. The Greek in 1 Peter is some of the best in the New Testament. Silvanus would have been more educated and more articulate. He could take Peter’s passion and curate it with a pen. It’s beautiful to think about how God even used teams to write the Bible.
I’m so grateful for the team at our local church. I’m grateful for Stacie being the first to believe in our vision, followed by others—like the Santos and Hibiske families—who moved across the country to help start Echo Church. I have such a deep love for those on our executive team at Echo, including Tim, Lucille, Darren, Vivian, Billy, Pastor Paul from Crossroads, and so many others who have made great sacrifices to accomplish this vision. Most of you don’t know them, and that’s okay. What’s important to know is that every great vision requires a team. God’s dream for your life cannot be accomplished without others.
Peter ends his letter with a final thought about standing in grace. He acknowledges Silvanus and then turns to the subject of standing strong. I am certain Peter’s transition was intentional. Peter was able to write with grace because of the Holy Spirit’s power and Silvanus’ help. They go hand and hand. We need help from God, and we need help from people.
We were not meant to do life or ministry alone. We need each other. We need one another to make a difference and to finish strong.
I’m encouraged to do two things because of this verse. The first is to give credit where credit is due. People who have supported you should be honored. If you get to the platform, acknowledge those who helped build the platform. As a project succeeds, pass on the credit. When your family wins, let your spouse shine. Find creative ways to distribute the glory. If you do this, people will want to be on your team! This will create a culture wherever you serve. I love when I give praise to a team member here at Echo, and they immediately give credit to someone else. It is a sign to me that they have embraced our culture.
Second, I’m reminded that I need to always work to do things with others. Every project needs more than one set of hands. The Lord designed each of us with gaps so that we could rely on one another to fill those gaps.
Who do you need to thank today? Who do you need to give credit to? Maybe there is someone on your team who needs recognition. Your words of encouragement could fill the sails of another leader today.
Also, what have you been trying to accomplish alone? What if you took a step to come alongside another person with their dream and then invite someone else to come alongside you with your dream?
Grace is required to stand firm, and a huge part of that grace is the support of other people.