Acts 6 has always been the defining passage of scripture for me when it comes to defining my calling as a church leader. As the story goes, the number of disciples was multiplying but people were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. How many know, multiplication will always bring growth pains! Rather than run out and do it themselves, here is what the leaders of the church did:
Acts 6:2-4 NKJV Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. (3) Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; (4) but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Bold and italics mine)
Their two roles – We will give ourselves CONTINUALLY to PRAYER and the MINISTRY OF THE WORD.
That sounds like a lot of prayer and scripture reading to me. I realize this is hard to carry out. We must fight for it. We must constantly re-align our priorities. I am speaking from experience. I don’t have a large staff. In fact, at this point, I don’t have any staff. I am a church planter which means that at one point or another I have had to do EVERYTHING. There is still a large part of the responsibility that rests on my shoulders for many things that I don’t like or want to do. Sometimes I feel like all I’m doing is having meetings (which for the most part I enjoy), doing administrative work and studying for messages. I have had to constantly re-adjust things to keep prayer and study at the forefront of my responsibilities.
Pastors and church leaders, please understand, I’m not downing you. But I am wondering out loud, what would happen if we as church leaders would dedicate our lives to prayer and the ministry of the word just as the apostles did? Would we would see a new day in the Church in America and in our nation? Would the church experience multiplication as it did in the book of Acts? Would we experience the miraculous power (and beyond) that the early church experienced? I long to see this new day in the church; where the church in America a force to be reckoned with; a place where leaders are no longer fighting and bickering over petty disagreements and theology; a place where God’s people are coming together to pray on a regular basis and seeing people, buildings and cities shake as a result.
I see a new day coming. Next time, I will share my story of how God has empowered me to live a life of persevering prayer.