This past week in staff meeting I shared some simple lessons from Acts 6:1-4; you know, the story about the first Deacons who were chosen to rectify the problem that arose over apparent favoritism that had arisen over care for some poor widows. Here are the lessons I shared:
1. Growth Always Results in Disputes. What worked well back then, doesn’t work anymore when we grow larger. The rank and file are the first people to notice these breakdowns. The Apostles weren’t doing anything wrong, they were just overwhelmed and had become inefficient. This is the inevitable price of growth!
2. Brothers will Murmur Against Brothers. Because we all tend to personalize problems, we seek to blame people, rather than help to identify and fix the problem. Murmuring leads to division (two visions), and was judged severely in the Old Testament. We should, rather, seek to identify the problem and help to heal it.
3. Leaders Deal with the Problems. Followers gripe and complain about the problems. Leaders, however, step up to the plate and try to alleviate the problem. These Apostles did not get defensive and justify their actions; they instead took immediate action to resolve the problem. They listened!
4. The Complainers Were Appointed to Solve the Problem. The Hellenist (Greek) converts murmured against the Hebrew converts. So each of the seven Deacons put forth and appointed by the Apostles had a Greek name. Who can better fix a problem than the one who sees it? If you’re going to complain about a problem in your church, you ought to volunteer to fix it.
5. Leaders Cannot Do Everything: So They Delegate. It is unfair to expect one pastor to do all the ministry in a growing church. A good leader will release ministry to competent parts of the body. The ultimate in spiritual pride is saying: Nobody can do this but me! The Apostles did not relinquish their responsibility, but they appointed others this specific task. Appointees must give account.
6. Leaders Commit to Prayer & the Word. There are so many things for a pastor to do, but prayer and ministering the Word are top priority. You can delegate everything else, but you cannot delegate these things and fulfill your calling. A good leader will build a team and release them, so that these priorities can be maximized.
Tags: deacons, growth, Leadership, murmuring