Today’s reading is Acts 6.
Sadly, there seem to be some Christians who do not want their congregation to grow. Why? Because of the Acts 6 principle. You know, the larger the congregation, the bigger the problems. But perhaps that is the wrong way to look at it. In Jerusalem, the congregation grew and so did their problems. Specifically, an ethnicity problem. I am sure the apostles were not purposefully ignoring the Hellenistic widows, but they had a lot on their plate. In fact, they had everything on their plate. Some of it was toppling off. If we are not careful, we will read right through this chapter and miss how revolutionary the solution was. They had to completely change their structure for accomplishing work within the congregation. Perhaps they were able to do this because they hadn’t been doing it for so long that people were married to their methods. Up until this point, the money collected had been laid at the apostles’ feet to distribute as they saw fit. But now, it was going to be laid at someone else’s feet. Someone else was going to be in charge of distributing the funds collected to those who were in need. Seven men were selected to do this work of ministering, literally deaconing. And it worked. The church had been threatening to divide, but instead it multiplied. What had seemed a humongous problem turned into a terrific opportunity. Yes, as congregations grow numerically problems increase. However, they aren’t really problems. They are opportunities. Opportunities to grow spiritually, opportunities to grow maturity, opportunities to relationally. True spiritual growth doesn’t come from ignoring potential obstacles, but from facing them head on and overcoming them. Don’t be afraid of the potential problems coming in your congregation. Attack them, solve them, conquer them, and grow because of it.
Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 6.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, churches have problems. All of them do. The very first church had problems. Every single one since then has also. Churches are made up of people–not perfect people, but forgiven people, growing people. Your congregation is no different. Don’t get discouraged just because things go wrong sometimes. Don’t get discouraged just because the leaders make mistakes some times. The apostles did. Don’t be discouraged because people sin sometimes. Ananias and Sapphira did. Don’t be discouraged because folks don’t always get along perfectly. The Jerusalem church didn’t. We are saved people, not perfect people. Hang in there with your congregation and be part of the solution, not part of the ongoing problem. But when you discover you are part of the problem, don’t get defensive, just work on the solution. That is how churches grow.