A Church that Acts – Unselfish Leadership

Today we continue with our journey through the book of Acts. Remember, our objective here is to rediscover the origins, history, divine influences and governing principles which drove the first century church and followers of Jesus through the centuries to follow in order to discover some practical lessons which are relevant to our walk of faith today.

Central to what we hope to glean from the book of Acts is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. Apart from this event the early followers of Jesus would have been committed but powerless. The arrival of the Holy Spirit is THE defining catalyst for the success of these early believers.

Today we move to Acts, chapter six, where we discover an important principle for effective leadership.

Acts 6:1-7
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

Hellenistic Jews = Gentiles converted to Judaism

Hebraic Jews = Jews born into Judaism

This appears to have been an inadvertent oversight in the food distribution as we see no argument given to justify the disparity. Rather it may have simple been a matter of proximity and convenience.

2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.

This is a significant insight. Knowing your ministry priorities enables you to say “no” to important and necessary responsibilities which are beyond your ministry focus.

3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

An important leadership principle involves unselfishly delegating responsibility. No one person can do all the leadership and ministry requires, so recognizing and utilizing the gifting of those who have proven themselves to be faithful and committed allows the ministry load to be shared.

It’s also important to notice the trust the apostles placed in the collective wisdom of the spirit-filled church. They did not make the selections for the people but allowed the people to chose (not the same as a democracy). The apostles didn’t micromanage the process or the ministry which followed. Such trust was rewarded with sober and wise candidates.

5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The apostles response to the church’s selections was to bless these trusted servants who were then charged with overseeing the daily ministrations of the church.

Bless those who labor alongside you in ministry. Encourage them, cheerlead for them and provide them with the training and tools to effectively serve in Christ’s Kingdom. Invest in leadership growth and the Kingdom will flourish.

7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

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