Growth is painful, and complicated. When growth happens in church, especially rapid growth, some people feel overlooked, and, sometimes, they actually are. Take this situation in Acts 6. Some of the widows who looked to the church for their needed financial support, we’re getting left out (vv.1-2). A storm was brewing.
Storms are never far from even the best led churches. The danger, in these fraught times, is that the church’s mission slows down in order to deal with its crises. Here we learn the power of appropriate delegation, in order that the whole church might be committed to Gospel care, whilst not distracted from Gospel mission.
So the right people are identified and set apart, and needs are met (vv.3-6). That means that the right people are freed up to continue the church’s task of sharing the Gospel. “And the word of God spread” (v.7). It spread, because Spirit-led men have the diaries and energies to commit to Word and prayer ministry, as the churches ministries are shared around.
Whether we’re called to lead or to follow our leaders, we must always be vigilant about the church’s work. Are we failing to serve the needy? Are our leaders being distracted from their core tasks? Are we taking our eyes off mission? This episode is brilliantly practical, and a superb example of delegation and prioritisation in church life. May God give us grace to see how we are to serve together in our situations.
And then we learn that Spirit-led servants are often led straight into trouble as they serve. One of the men set aside for practical service is Stephen. His insight into the Scriptures and courage are matchless (v.10). He is, therefore, Satan’s number one target. Tomorrow we will see how Stephen stands in the face of opposition.
A Prayer to Pray
Father, thankyou that You want Your church to be a place of tender, humble care, as well as of Gospel-sharing courage. Please make me aware of the needs of others, and humble to serve them. Make me also brave, that when You call me to risk myself for Your Kingdom, I will not hold back, but offer myself. For Your Son’s sake, amen.