The Architect of the Church
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:4-6)
Have you ever been part of a building project? Even if you haven't experienced it, you probably know that it takes many people to construct an edifice from the ground up. Before any holes are dug in the earth or any supports are erected, an architect draws up the plans. Architects usually do planning drawings and detailed drawings. You can tell what the building will look like with the planning drawings, but the detailed drawings indicate specifics such as information on insulation, electrical outlets, and cabinets. Once the architect finishes the detailed drawing, other professionals get involved and bring the plans to life.
In 1 Corinthians 3:4-6, Paul wrote that he planted the church in Corinth, but Apollos watered it. In other words, Paul began the work. Paul was an apostle. Apostles are the first ones sent into a new area.
The Greek word for apostle is apostolos. It means sent one or an architect. Paul, an apostle, planted the ministry in Corinth and many other cities. He opened the church and then turned it over to Apollos, a teacher, who continued to water the seed that Paul planted.
Although Paul founded many churches, he acknowledged that he was simply doing what God had called him to do. Several times throughout his epistles, Paul mentioned that he received his ministry from Jesus Christ. Paul knew what he was called to do – start churches – but he also knew that God used other ministry gifts to complete what Paul began. God has called me to start churches, and I have followed Paul's model. I plant ministries and then turn them over to those with pastoral ministry gifts, who, like Apollos, water the seed I've sown. God, however, is always the One who gives the increase.
Practical Application – If you're an architect in the body of Christ, don't try to be a roofer. If you're a carpenter, don't try to be a plumber. Find out what God called you to do and do it.
Acts 20:24; Romans 12:7