Romans 16:1 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:”
Paul finished the Book of Romans by commending several people who had helped him in the ministry. We often overlook the names in this final chapter, but these are names that God gave to Paul to write. Yes, these were special people to Paul, but they were more than that; they were people who the LORD wanted to commend for their help in the church. God wanted to point out some of the things that every ministry needed.
No church is great simply because of the pastor, but it is mainly great because of great believers who help their pastor. I have been a member of many great churches, and I have the privilege of pastoring the greatest church in the world; and what has made the churches I have attended and am pastoring great are the people who support the pastor. No church will ever be great without the members of that church doing what it needs to be great. Make no mistake; every city needs a great church, but no city will have a great church without a bunch of believers who contribute to their church to make it great. Let me point out the actions and characteristics of the special people who make up a great church.
First, every great church must be filled with servants of God. Phebe was special because she was a servant of the church. You can't fight over position and have a great church. Great churches are filled with people who are happy to serve in whatever capacity they can fill for the great cause of the Gospel. Every pastor needs people who are happy with doing whatever is needed to help grow the church.
Second, every church needs helpers in Christ. Everyone can’t be the leader, and a church that wants to grow must have the mindset that they don’t need position to serve the LORD. Struggling churches are churches whose members are unhappy because they are not in front of everyone. The church will always have more helpers than leaders, but both are necessary to the health of a growing church.
Third, every church needs new converts. In verse 5, Paul pointed out Epaenetus who was the firstfruits of Achaia. A healthy church will always have new converts. A church that doesn't have new converts attending on a weekly basis is a dying church. The lifeline of the church is soul winning. You can add all types of programs to make your church look good, but it will die if it doesn't have new converts. Soul winning should and must be the heartbeat of the church.
Fourth, every church needs people who will labor for the leader. In verse 6, Mary looked for ways to help her pastor. You must be careful not to be a discouragement to your pastor. Look for ways to encourage him. Let him know how his sermons help. When you see he has a need, do what you can to get that need filled. If everyone tries to lift up the arms of their pastor, whether in prayer or in deed, their pastor will be encouraged and will be better able to help and lead the church.
Fifth, every church needs people who are willing to suffer together. In verse 7, Paul talked about people who were his fellow prisoners. The church must be a body that is not self-focused but is others-focused. You can be a great asset to your church if you learn to suffer or rejoice with your fellow believers; this will always build a great spirit in the church.