Priscilla and Aquila – Partners in Ministry
Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Rom. 16:3; I Cor. 16:19; II Tim. 4:19 HCSB
Priscilla was a true partner in ministry. She first appears in Acts 18 in Corinth where she and her husband had just moved from Rome. Because they were tent-makers and Christians, they made an immediate connection with Paul. They became bivocational ministry leaders.
In just a few verses we see their lives unfold. First, they provided a place for Paul to live and work. “Paul came to them, and being of the same occupation, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade” (Acts.18:2b-3). Then they traveled with Paul on part of his missionary journey. They partnered with Paul to spread the gospel.
When they were in Ephesus, they met Apollos, a powerful preacher who understood just part of the story of Jesus. Priscilla and Aquila took him to their home and explained the rest of the story. Priscilla and Aquila were able to redirect this amazing preacher with their gentle ways.
Later they housed a church in their home. Paul writes to the church at Corinth: “Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, along with the church that meets in their home” (I Cor. 16:19b). Paul also greets them in two other letters, calling them “my co-workers in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 16:3b). Priscilla, also called Prisca, is often mentioned first in the passages.
She was valued as a co-worker. She undoubtedly was an able partner with a keen mind.
In 30 years of ministry, I have met many ministers’ wives. Most of them were content faithfully serving the Lord. Some, however, have not discovered the joy of serving the Lord. Two of my favorite ministers’ wives books are Don’t Miss the Blessing by JoAnn Leavell, and Lose the Halo, Keep the Wings by Virginia Wilson. These women have written about what I have discovered. In spite of many struggles, there is great joy in ministry. The ministry is not about being perfect, but is about relying on God to sustain you and give you joy as you serve. Priscilla had her share of troubles. She moved multiple times, had a church meeting in her home, and served in ministry in addition to secular employment. In addition, she often had houseguests like Paul. She did not complain, at least not too loudly. She simply worked hard for the good of the Kingdom, just like her husband.
When I was younger, I worried that I didn’t measure up to the ideal pastor’s wife. This was a very self-centered approach to ministry, and I was unhappy and ineffective. Then I realized life was all about loving and caring for others. I didn’t have to be a certain personality type or have certain skill-sets. No one cared that I didn’t type well or play the piano. They only wanted to know that I cared.
In ministry, I have seen women serving in many different capacities. Whether a woman has secular employment, is a homemaker, has a ministry role or any combination of these, the key is attitude. Women who acknowledge and encourage their husband’s calling and find some way to serve God either in the community and/or in the church are finding the blessing of ministry. We have been in ministry for almost 30 years. We have lived in four different states, had five different ministry roles in four different churches. I have found, like Priscilla, there is one common thread though it all: love God and love others, and you will find the blessing of being a partner in ministry.