The Catalytic Leadership of Paul (Ephesians)

This past fall we went through the stories and letters of Paul in chronological order with some our network leaders at Gateway. We were trying to determine the characteristics that made him so catalytic so that we might grow in this as well.

We are looking for the ways Paul sensed the moving of God’s Spirit in the following ways:

  • Miraculous methods of guidance
  • Performing miracles
  • Discovering receptivity and accepting suffering
  • Pursuing God and His righteousness
  • Reaching out to others and empowering others

Here is the order we are reading through and discussing:

Here are some highlights of Paul’s message to the Ephesians:

  • Paul invested a great deal of time and energy into the community at Ephesus, so much so that when he left, the people were incredibly saddened (Acts 20:36-21:1). Are we creating that same sort of deep connection?
  • Paul demonstrates a powerful prayer we should be praying those we serve (Eph. 1:15-21; 3:14-21)
  • Paul clearly communicated the relationship between God’s love for us (grace) and our need to take personality responsibility for growing and serving (Eph. 2:1-10).
  • Paul emphasized reconciliation between those who do not know God and those who do and between Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14-18)
  • Paul empowered those he served and pointed out that serving helps bring maturity (Eph. 4:11-16).
  • Paul called those he served to “take off the old and put on the new” (Eph. 4:17-32).
  • Paul taught that healthy relationships include a willingness to submit to each other (Eph. 5:21-33).
  • Paul emphasized being prepared for the spiritual battle (Eph. 6: 11-20).

Here are some questions to apply to our lives as leaders:

  • Who can we pass along the story of Paul and the principles of catalytic leadership this week?
  • How can we apply what we see in Paul’s life to our own life and leadership?
  • Have you noticed other ways Paul served the people of Ephesus in a way unique to their context?
Showing 3 comments
  • John Williford

    1. In the beginning of Acts 19, Paul comes across some believers in Corinth who don’t quite “get it.” This is an interesting scenario, and could be passed along and communicated to those who may perform their leadership in an overbearing way. Paul comes across the believers, and asks if they’ve been baptized. They respond that yes, they have been, in the way that John the Baptist did. Paul had a choice as to how to respond in this scenario. He didn’t say, “Christ is Lord!” and yell at them. He didn’t shake them off as ignorant or stupid. He is able to perceive that they are earnest in their efforts, but are slightly misguided. Paul explains briefly what baptism is for, and baptizes these people. They then receive the Holy Spirit. While seemingly a non-issue, I think that we can pass this message along to those who revel in overt dramaticism. Often, we over-spiritual an issue or recommend that someone attend a 12-step program, when all they needed was a little guidance. Paul provides an ample example here.

    2. As Paul instructs the church elders from Ephesus, he paints a picture for the Christian leader in terms of small acts that may go unnoticed. We are all too aware of the leader’s verse in Timothy which describes a minister devoted to the cause, but here Paul adds a few asterisks that can help the leader further develop a picture. He tells the leaders to be on guard, as wolves will sneak into the church- they will twist the truth and lure disciples away. He speaks on persistence, and perseverance, encouraging the leaders to live the way he has. He’s never coveted money, or looked twice at someone’s fine clothing, but rather spent his time in worthwhile endeavors like tent making, so that he could make an honest living. This is Paul’s gift to them- an example of a life worth lived. This communicates the gospel much more effectively than a sermon or donating some money.

    3. Paul reminds the Ephesians of who they used to be, and in doing so reminds them of the mission they have at hand- saving those who are stuck there still, trapped in the power of the prince of the air, who is at work in the world. He reminds them that they were corpses, dead in life, buried by transgressions, wandering the perverse world. Neither should they sulk on this- all are guilty of falling headlong into the passions of the word, and have been caught up by dark impulses. He reiterates that the Spirit now empowers us, after we have accepted Christ, to stand as a living testimony to His grace and riches. We, like the Ephesians, are to be a proclamation of God’s amazing work. Paul emphasizes this even further by explaining that we were saved by faith- it wasn’t our own doing, but rather was God’s gift. We cannot boast. This is encouraging, as we can take this lesson and inform others that it was not by conscious effort that we found Christ, but by being open to Him, He came for us.

  • Jordan Zehr

    Who can we pass along the story of Paul and the principles of catalytic leadership this week?
    – Those we serve with come to mind. A lot of times I see at Gateway, those who are newer to faith are eager to jump in yet sometimes get lost in the hustle of serving and can feel left aside because so much is going on. Serving is a great opportunity to come alongside someone and help grow them into a new life and into a way they can then turn around and then walk with someone else once they have matured in their faith.

    How can we apply what we see in Paul’s life to our own life and leadership?
    – Being diligent to come alongside the people who are beginning to serve and are starting their deeper walk with Christ. The encouragement Paul gives to those who are serving and the maturity that comes with it encourages me to go alongside with others who are beginning to walk with Christ and starting to serve the body.

    Have you noticed other ways Paul served the people of Ephesus in a way unique to their context?
    – Submission to one another and living at peace with each other are something that jumped out to me as the Ephesians were dealing with reconciliation between the Jews and Gentiles. Paul preached that God was for both and because of that we are called to live together and not separated, which is something I feel like this world needs a lot of even today.

  • Sonja DiNanno

    Paul was so filled with the Holy Spirit he was able to transfer the Spirit to people with a touch. He performed miracles, and even pieces of cloth that he had touched could be taken to people who were sick, and they were healed. Where is this power today? Why is it not as prominent and not used as a daily tool in our ministry as Christian leaders? I know some people believe that the Holy Spirit was only intended to be used this way to “jumpstart” the church. But clearly, the Bible does not support this idea. Christianity as a whole seems to have been holding the Holy Spirit at arm’s length for fear of being thought of as strange or weird. I believe that we deny the very power that people need to see to realize that God is real! Paul relied so heavily on the Holy Spirit, and it was through the spirit that his ministry was so successful.

    Paul prayed for the people every day. He prayed that they would know God more, know the power and the hope he offers. He prayed that they would be strengthened and experience the “full measure of love.” Eph. 1:17 Paul prayed for the people’s relationship with God to grow. This is something I can implement in my own leadership. He reminded people that through Christ everyone has access to God. He encouraged them to live in unity and peace and to be on guard for false teaching.

    Paul went to the synagogue in Ephesus and spoke to the people there for three months. But when they rejected his message he left but continued to pour into the few who did believe. Acts 19:9 tells us that for two years he had daily discussions, disciplining the ones who believed. This is an extraordinary investment of time!

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