A ministry taught at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA – we have many missionary families sent from our church and each family has a “yokefellow”, someone who yokes up alongside them.
Acts 14:26-28 – “And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.”
- All we can do is recommend a missionary to the grace of God to do the work that He has called them to do
- We trust them that God has clearly directed their path to their current ministry
- They are promising to give themselves totally to carrying out the ministry that God has given them no matter how hard or discouraging it gets
- They look forward to being able to come and tell us how God has worked in their ministry to His honor and glory
- We ask them to promise to call or write us when they get discouraged instead of allowing Satan to win the victory in their life
- They acknowledge that they believe that they are being sent out of Vision to accomplish the purpose God has for our church and that they are going in our place
- As a church Vision must commit to love, support, and pray for these families
Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
3 John 5-8 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7 because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.
A. Why missionaries need yokefellows?
- Living away from your country and family can make you feel very alone
- When you feel alone, abandoned, forgotten the Devil uses that to play with your mind
- Though the missionary will live very comfortably on the field and have a good life they never completely fit in Yokefellows,
- Negative attitudes develop because no one is truly in the yoke with them
- The missionary begins to feel that no one cares
- The church member begins to think that all he wants is financial help and already has it too good
- The home church will forget their missionaries over time- out of sight, out of mind
- The missionary feels very strange the first time they return to their church after being gone so long
- They do not need to feel that our church is just one more of a large number that support them
- Though you may not understand it they are going to a place that has more Satanic influence and need your prayer support Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan
B. Examples of Biblical yokefellows Yokefellows
- Timothy was likeminded with Paul, he naturally cared for others. Philippians 2:19 – “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
- Epaphroditus was in the work, a companion with Paul, a fellow soldier. Philippians 2:25 – “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
- Barnabas is a true yokefellow
- Helps open doors of ministry. Acts 9:27 – “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.”
- Seeing potential before any one else. Acts 11:22 – “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
- Helping restore one that has fallen. Acts 15:37 – “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus”
C.Why Vision has yokefellows?
- There is no question that as a church we were commanded to take the gospel to the world, that is not the responsibility of missionaries but of the church. Matthew 28:18 – “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching Yokefellows, them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Acts 13:1 – “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them 4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
- We are to bring them forward after a godly sort. 3 John 5 – “Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6 which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7 because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.”
- The Philippian church cared for Paul 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Ideas for being a Great Yokefellow
- Be there for them. Let them know you will always be there with an open, un-condemning, non judgmental ear. Listen to them. Don’t offer so much advice. Let them know that they are loved and accepted just like they are!
- Don’t be afraid to tell them the truth but only after you have earned the right by your un-conditional, never threatening love
- Give honest opinions when asked. Key is when asked. Pray always, listen always, offer advice and opinions when asked for!
- Don’t wait for them to contact you or be your friend. Be their friend. Show them that you really are interested
- Be loyal. Keep confidences. Stand by your friend
- Cheer them up when they need it. Try and improve their life any way you can
- Be vulnerable. Be who you are. No pretenses. Let them relax with you with no need to impress. Let them be comfortable around you. Love them when you really know them and their weaknesses
- Really be happy at their accomplishments. Value them and what they do
- Be there for them when things do not go as expected or hoped for
- Make time for them. It is not about the money, the gifts, the things but them as a person that you value