“God has already determined which Christian should best assume which ministries in the church. The role of church leadership is to help its members identify their gifts and integrate them into ministries that match their gifts.”
The ABC’s of Natural Church Development, 11.
Such a statement only makes sense if you are a Bible reader. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 that the church in Corinth did not lack for any gift and later in the same letter he says that all have been given a particular gift or gifts for the building up of the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12).
In the early church, they really believed this, even before Paul wrote his more elaborate treatment of the subject, the apostles acted on the belief to solve one of the first internal problems in the church. They knew that God had called and gifted them for a particular ministry and were in danger of being diverted from it. The effect would have been to take the place of others who were gifted and called in a different way.
6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Acts 6:1-7 (ESV)
A Couple of Quick Observations
- Rapid growth always has its attendant problems.
- Sin and nearsightedness will always produce disharmony.
- Releasing people for ministry maximizes your potential.
- The “teaching elder” did not come up with a plan to solve the problem. The whole body of elders came up with it.
- The end result of the elders coming up with a plan was verse 7.
- Isn’t verse 7 what we want to happen in all of our churches?