For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33a (ESV)
READING: Acts 6:1-7
There’s an old saying: “The devil is in the details.” But for church planters, it’s far truer to say, “The Lord is in the details.” For many church planters, administrative matters are dull and dry, and have little to do with the exciting business of establishing a church. But without attention to the details, without wise systems in place, church life can become haphazard and chaotic, and people will be hurt.
The new church in Jerusalem was a cultural blend of Hellenized (Greek-speaking) and traditional Jews. They all believed in Jesus, but their customs and language were very different. Though numerically large, the congregation was young and fragile. Its ethnic diversity made for a climate where misunderstanding could erupt into a crisis. That’s exactly what happened. The church’s “feed the widows” program somehow neglected the Greek-speaking widows. Understandably, the Hellenists were hurt and complained to the church’s leadership.
If the apostles had not handled this first, major crisis with wisdom and sensitivity, the church might have been split, even destroyed. Christianity itself might have been permanently identified as an ethnic movement, rather than as a faith for all peoples. Thankfully, the apostles showed great skill and integrity. They handled things administratively, and the Lord was in the details!
All church planters can learn from their example. Let’s look at five administrative principles from the apostles.
First, they listened and took the problem seriously. Sometimes spiritual leaders ignore trouble until it’s too late. Or they may treat a problem as if it is an assault on God’s vision, rather than an opportunity to minister to genuine needs.
Thank God for the administrative example of this first church’s leaders!
Lord, Help me listen compassionately and plan wisely. Amen.
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