Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Positive Acts - It Pleased the Whole Gathering

How many times have you seen church leaders make significant decisions without communicating with the church body?

We've probably all seen it.

We also know that wise leaders of any type and in any situation get the group involved. Not only does this give the leadership much valuable information, but it also helps the group feel invested in the decision.

When we look in the book of Acts, chapter six shows us a potentially dangerous situation to the unity of the church. Some of the Gentiles were complaining about how food was being handed out to the Gentile widows. Verses 1-7 show us that the apostles made a wise decision that averted any sort of split within this early church body. We also see that the entire church was a part of it and bought into it.

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:1-7, ESV, emphasis mine).

Interestingly, we never hear about this potentially problematic situation again in the New Testament. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the solution had staying power. Not only was it wise, but it also involved the whole body. Luke tells us specifically that "...what they said pleased the whole gathering." Although we do not have all the small details of the decision making process, we do know that the body was involved and pleased.

We as the church today can and should learn much from this passage about how to go about making critical decisions. Get everybody involved and invested!

1 comment:

Joel Zehring said...

Interesting also that they selected the Seven based on their reputation for being full of the Spirit and wisdom.

And, Stephen and Phillip did not focus exclusively on this ministry, but went on to testify about Jesus in impactful ways.