Have you ever noticed how a lack of joy negatively impacts your ability to serve the Lord? And to collaborate with those you serve with?
Sometimes in the busy seasons of our lives and ministries—the times when we should most be rejoicing in God’s goodness and the opportunities to serve Him—it is easy to neglect the means that God has given us to renew and spread joy.
Recently, while reading through the first two chapters of Philippians, several attributes of Paul and those he served with stood out to me as qualities that contribute to joy on a ministry team.
1. Loving Influence
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:—Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy were laboring together on behalf of the church, and it brought joy to both of them. A spirit on a team that is “one for all and all for one” encourages all and one!
2. Confidence in God
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:—Philippians 1:6
Confidence is contagious. And a confidence that is placed in God is a confidence to be shared.
People are attracted to vision and to confidence in achieving that vision. Do you believe that God can do anything but fail? Express it to others.
3. Discerning Spirit
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;—Philippians 1:9–10
It is interesting to me that Paul not only wanted the church at Philippi to have discernment, but he wanted their discernment to grow. It takes time to develop discernment in each stage of life, and it takes humility to be teachable to those who point out a lapse in your discernment. But having discernment allows you to serve with more freedom and confidence in Christ.
4. Spiritual Unity
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;—Philippians 1:27
You can’t manufacture the unity that comes from standing in “one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith.” But you can align yourself to the Holy Spirit, seek the mind of God, and determine to stand with others who will strive together for the gospel. Unity around a common, biblical purpose brings joy.
5. Humble Service
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.—Philippians 2:3
We know that there is joy in serving Jesus, but sometimes we struggle to see that serving others is serving Jesus. If you want to increase your joy and the joy of your team, ask the Lord to search your motives for pride, and then look for ways to show greater esteem to other people on your team.
6. Loyal Follow Through
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.—Philippians 2:20
The trust Paul had in Timothy was that Timothy had captured Paul’s mind and would carry out Paul’s wishes in the way that Paul would do it. Timothy didn’t have his own agenda but embraced Paul’s agenda. That spirit of service and diligence in follow through brought joy to both men in ministry.
7. Unselfish Labor
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.—Philippians 2:21
Those who use ministry to fulfill their own needs do not have joy as they serve. Our labor for the Lord can’t be about our egos, getting our way, or even the personal fulfillment of seeing progress. Ministry that is about me becomes misery. But ministry that is about Jesus becomes joy.
These seven traits are important individually, and they lead to joy. But when everyone on a ministry team shares these, they lead to a common joy that knits hearts together in service.