Aquila and Priscilla, ‘Bi-vocational’ Tentmakers

Volunteer workers support themselves and serve
the Body of Christ

Those who teach children should read study #58 for children.


1.    Prepare your heart and mind by prayer and the Word of God to recruit new workers.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, we love you and want to serve you. Please, prosper the work of our hands, so that we can meet our daily needs, can continue serving your Body, and can extend your Kingdom into neglected places.”

In many places shepherds and apostles must have another job to support themselves while serving the Body of Christ, as Aquila and Priscilla did. These places include …

a.       Where believers are starting many new congregations and cells.

b.      Where you, or the apostles that you send, need to demonstrate a proper attitude toward labour, as Paul did for lazy Thessalonian Christians, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13.

c.       Where civil authorities are hostile towards followers of Jesus.

d.      Where believers are too poor to pay their shepherds and must train many new leaders rapidly.

As your flock reproduces by starting new cells and congregations, you must recruit new leaders and help them to know what they are to do, and to serve steadily. As you start new flocks in other towns and far-away places, perhaps you or the apostles you send can start a small business to support themselves.


Aquila and Pricilla had a small business and employed Paul.


Find in Acts 18:1-3

·         What kind of small business Aquila and Priscilla had. (18: 3)

·         What city they left and brought their business with them. (2)

·         Who was the evangelist they were able to employ when he needed work. (3)

Find in Acts 18:24-26…

·         To whom Aquila and Priscilla gave more training in their home.

·         Where they met Apollos. [A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer.]

Find in Romans 16:3-5…

·         How the Apostle Paul described Aquila and Priscilla who supported themselves. (3)

·         Whether the place they and Paul worked in together was a safe or was hostile. (4)

·         Where the congregation that they attended met. (5)

2.    Plan with your co-workers activities for the week
and for starting new flocks.

Review with your co-workers what you learned about Aquila and Priscilla. Explain to your co-workers that they have two jobs, a secular job to earn their living and a pastoral job that they do for the Lord. Discuss with them whether members of the flock should start a small business that would allow them to go start new flocks.

Describe what kind of small business they should develop.

·         It should be a business that can be taken to another town or city.

·         The business should be small enough to manage by themselves.

·         They should be able to employ a co-worker who also works to start new flocks.

·         It should be easy to start, using a simple technology and inexpensive materials.

·         It should provide contact with people of the local community.

·         It should allow bi-vocational workers to choose their own working hours.

·         It should enable them to serve the Lord in their own home.

Pray to discern the Lord’s will about the business.

Discuss what kind of shepherding work they should do. Since they will not have many resources or a lot of free time, they must…

·         Lead a new flock in their own home until others open their homes.

·         Make disciples in small flocks, not in public places or chapels.

·         Train new leaders privately or in very small groups.

·         Quickly put new leaders in charge of new flocks.

·         Obtain training materials like the study you are reading right now. Studies should be cheap, easily-copied, and menu-driven (having options from which to choose).


3.    Plan with your co-workers the upcoming worship.

Choose activities that fit current needs and local customs.

Read the Bible texts listed under part 1, and tell the story of Aquila and Priscilla.

Act out parts of the account of Aquila and Priscilla.

Ask questions about what you found in the verses you studied in part 1. Encourage the believers to talk about bi-vocational work.

Let bi-vocational workers give a testimony of how God has blessed their work.

Encourage the believers to look for ways in which they can serve the Body of Christ while earning their own living.

Have the children present the drama, poem and questions that they have prepared.

To introduce the Lord’s Supper, read Matthew 22:1-14 about the man who attended a wedding who did not wear the proper garment.  Compare that to Aaron who had to wear the special priestly costume when serving at the altar. Explain that we, too, must “put on Christ” as our spiritual clothing when we come to the Lord’s Table.

Memorize together Acts 20:33-35.

Have the believers form small groups to encourage one another, plan together and pray one for another and for people living in neglected towns.