One of my favorite Scriptures is Acts 6:1-7. There we read about how the early church overcame a serious problem and successfully continued to grow. We can learn a lot about how to succeed as a church from the example set forth in these verses.
The church was growing in leaps and bounds when a problem arose. Some of the widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. The church wasn’t doing a good job of taking care of their own poor, and this needed to be corrected if the church was to continue to prosper.
The leaders acknowledged that something needed to be done, but they would not be distracted from their main job of prayer and ministry of the word of God. So they had seven men appointed to oversee the care of the widows. These seven were to be men who were full of the Spirit and wisdom. The plan was successful. The problem was solved and therefore the word of God spread and the church continued to grow in numbers.
We see in this Scripture the need to have the right priorities. While feeding the poor was an important job, the ministry of prayer and the word could not be neglected. The leaders had to take care of feeding the congregation spiritually. Every Christian needs to understand their priorities. What is it that God has called you to do? Don’t be distracted—even by good works—from performing your main duty for the Lord.
A second principle to be found in this text is the need to delegate. No one person can do it all. Qualified people must be identified and appointed to serve in various ways, thus freeing up the leaders of the church to devote themselves to the work to which they have been called. Good leaders will always be looking for ways to assign meaningful work to others so that they can focus on leading the church through their ministry of prayer and the word of God.
A third principle that we see here is the need to accept responsibility. We live in an age where everyone seems to be demanding their rights, while few are acknowledging their responsibilities. Sadly, this attitude is not only found in our culture, it is in many ways creeping into the church. Many Christians only want to be served rather than serve others. A healthy church is one that is filled with people who are ready and willing to answer the call whenever an opportunity comes their way. Of course, you can’t say “Yes” to everything. But you have to say “Yes” to something! The church is like a body composed of parts who each have their own function. Accepting our responsibility to serve is a huge part of contributing to a healthy, growing church.
Any church will experience problems as they grow. The important thing is that we face these problems with a biblical blueprint for how to solve them. Problems can actually become opportunities for the church to serve more people and to get more people involved in the work of the kingdom. As we do so, the word of God will continue to spread and more and more people will come to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.