This fall, Moody Publishers released a book by Dr. Ryan Lokkesmoe, lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Richmond, called “Paul and His Team: What the Early Church Can Teach Us About Leadership and Influence.” In his doctoral work, Lokkesmoe focused on the historical setting of the New Testament and how the first-century Christians negotiated external social pressures and internal leadership struggles. He believes that we can learn a lot from the early Church about how to approach the challenges facing our families and communities in the 21st century.
Most Christians know who the Apostle Paul is, but he was not the singular heroic figure we make him out to be. He was part of a team. Who were his teammates and what can we learn from how they wrestled with the spiritual and interpersonal challenges they faced? In Paul and His Team, Lokkesmoe brings the first-century Church to life by highlighting the lesser-known members of Paul’s team, people like Silas, Luke, Priscilla, Erastus, Phoebe, Onesimus, Tychicus, Epaphras, Titus, and Timothy.
This team worked together to apply timeless, Christ-centered leadership principles like finding common ground, maintaining relationships in the midst of discord, empowering behind-the-scenes leaders, fighting the battles that really matter, working for unity, relentlessly pursuing reconciliation, and relying on God in the face of adversity.
While Paul and His Team is clearly relevant for ministry professionals, it is not written with just pastors in mind. It is accessible, written in plain language, and meant to inspire and equip anyone who wants to be a more effective influencer for Christ. Parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, neighbors, supervisors, community leaders, grandparents – anyone with any influence over someone else can gain wisdom from this book.
Paul and His Team is a fairly quick read (200 pages), and is available wherever books are sold. It includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, making it an ideal choice for a church small group or staff team to read together.
What people are saying about Paul and His Team:
We can learn so much from the lives of the earliest Christ followers—a small group of ordinary people who, obedient to God’s leading, propelled the spread of faith that now circles the globe. In Paul and His Team, Ryan Lokkesmoe gives us a fascinating look into the hearts and actions of these pioneering believers, yielding valuable insights into how we, too, can be salt and light in a challenging world.
-Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. and author of The Hole in Our Gospel
Ryan takes a powerful yet practical look at not just the apostle Paul, but at Paul’s team, as it applies to leading in the church. If you are a leader, the people and team you build are critical to moving the mission of the church forward. In Paul and His Team, Ryan pulls out important insight on church leadership and influence.
-Carey Nieuwhof, Founding Pastor, Connexus Church
Ryan Lokkesmoe has given us a fresh window into Paul’s leadership and influence, focusing on the team he recruited, developed, entrusted, and unleashed. While Ryan has the academic credentials to give us a deeply theological understanding of the life and ministry of Paul, this book is not merely theoretical. Ryan has not simply studied these topics in the classroom; he is also a practitioner who has learned these valuable lessons in the trenches of real-life ministry.
-Heather Zempel, Author of Amazed and Confused and Community Is Messy
Ryan Lokkesmoe explores the real-life implications of how the body of Christ is supposed to work together to fulfill the Great Commission. In a day and age where there is far too much emphasis upon upfront leaders and not enough on the power of a team, Ryan offers a helpful contribution that is both accessible and scholarly. If you are a leader or part of a leadership team, you will find his insights helpful.
-Larry Osborne, Pastor and Author, North Coast Church
Popular-level leadership manuals abound. Many Christian manuals exist as well, often prooftexting principles initially derived from sources other than the Bible. Ryan Lokkesmoe carefully studies Paul and his coworkers, fully abreast of the highest levels of scholarship, and discovers principles that really are in Scripture! But he wears his learning lightly and writes with the heart of the church planter that he currently is. Easy to read and highly recommended.
-Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
Build bridges, be voices of reconciliation, seek common ground, stay focused on your mission as Christ’s ambassadors: Paul and His Team offers practical advice to advance the gospel, rooted in solid biblical teaching for both pastors and lay leaders. Helpful questions at the end of each chapter make this an excellent group study book.
-Lynn Cohick, New Testament department chair at Wheaton College
Viewing leadership as Christ-centered influence, Ryan Lokkesmoe insightfully lays out the principles employed by Paul and his ministry cohorts. With solid biblical scholarship and practical application to Christian leadership, Ryan has provided a significant, readable gift to the church. This book is much richer than the trendy “how-to” leadership books currently on the market. Highly recommended for pastors and lay leaders!
-Dennis P. Hollinger, President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
In a day when we only think about the “super leaders” in the big lights, Lokkesmoe insightfully highlights the whole cast of lesser known men and women who supported Paul’s apostolic mission. In the process we learn valuable lessons about leadership, conflict resolution, and true kingdom collaboration. This book quietly turns most leadership books on their heads, demonstrating the real work of God through the lives of ordinary, flawed people who offer their disparate gifts to the Master. I heartily recommend it.
-Timothy C. Tennent, President and Professor of World Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary
Ryan Lokkesmoe (PhD), is the Lead Pastor of Real Hope Community Church, a church that launched right here in Fort Bend County in 2016. Real Hope meets on Sundays in two locations near W. Bellfort and Grand Parkway. Learn more at realhopecc.org.