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4. Creative relationships.
Frequently, individuals who are described in scripture as exercising spiritual leadership, are portrayed as being supported in community. As well as others providing encouragement for them, they provide an accepting environment in which confession may be made.
The benefits of true fellowship with peers or with others are implied in scripture. Relationships require the expenditure of energy, but it is apparent in the biblical records that such energy is rewarded with the gift of additional energy in return.
The primitive church endeavored to sustain caring relationships that included supportive friendships between key leaders (for example, for some years, between Barnabas and Paul; the apostles in Jerusalem; and Paul and his companions). It appears that leaders in the primitive church did not operate in total isolation from other Christians and that they would not have desired such a ‘lone-ranger’ approach in their ministry. Rather, it was natural for them to consult, support and even dispute with each other for their own good, and the good of the church.
Paul provides an illuminating insight into his personal priority in his ministry of spending time with the elders of the church in Ephesus. In this, Paul’s farewell message to the Ephesian elders, he reminds them of his practice, over three years when in Ephesus, of counseling and weeping with them and with others in the church at Ephesus, ‘day and night’. No demonstration of the value and significance of creative relationships for Christians could be more instructive.