I believe that the church, when it follows a Biblical model, is an unstoppable force in the community. It can make a difference in every aspect of it. As individuals, we all play a part in accomplishing this. God designed the church to be made up of individual parts, but work in unison together to accomplish something that is bigger than all of us. When everyone joins together to become who God made them to be, Scripture tells us that even the gates of Hell will not be able to stand up against the church. We can have power in our lives and in our church, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
He is the Creator of all things and still works to hold it all in place. He is the Sacrifice who gave his life and died in our place. He is the Savior who rose from the grave. He is our Redeemer who personally forgives our sins. He is our strength to live beyond ourselves each day. He is our hope of what can be when we put our trust in Him.
Because of him, I believe that the church can do great things. I believe that it can make a difference. As the church, God can work through even small things to accomplish great things. Imagine a place where hurt people can find peace, where the poor can find relief, where the grieving can find hope. Imagine a place where those who are broken can be made whole again. That place is the church.
In the book of Acts we find that at different times there are descriptions given on how the church is growing. Acts 1:15 tells us the church numbered 120 believers. In Acts 2:41 we find that believers were being added daily. This continues to grow as we look at Acts 5:14, believers were increasingly added to the Lord. Acts 6:1 notates that the number of disciples were increasing in number. Then in Acts 6:7 we find that the number of disciples were multiplying greatly. It is obvious that the church here is beginning to move from simply picking up a few people here and there to growing exponentially. Multitudes are turning to the Lord. There are a few things that I see happen in Acts 6:1-7 that causes some increased momentum for the early church and can have the same effect for our churches as well.
Four Simple actions that can create multiplying results.
1. Solve problems quickly. Anytime you have growth, you have growing pains. And we see that the church is definitely growing. So much so that some of the widows were being neglected. This was a real problem. In the context of scripture, this was a matter of life and death for many. But we find in the passage that the apostles didn’t drop everything to take care of this. They realized the need and knew something needed to change, but also knew that they weren’t the ones to handle the change. Problems have a way of forcing change in any organization, but it doesn’t have to stop the forward progress of what may already be happening. If allowed to, problems can lead to focusing on internal needs of the church rather than the external mission of the church. As things change in our church, we have a choice of whether to be a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Our goal should be to glorify God and be used by Him to solve problems quickly. When problems arise, we can take those problems as opportunities to further the work of the church but at the same time keep the focus of the church in check.
2. Set your priorities correctly. The apostles set their priorities as prayer and the ministry of the word. They knew that these were two areas of the church that could not be neglected for any reason. Stepping away from these two areas would have devastating effects on the spiritual life of the growing church. Prayer releases the power of God in our lives and in our church. Without it we essentially cripple the work we are trying to do. The ministry of the word gives us the only true source of truth that can change people. It is easy to get caught up in running programs in the church and lose sight of the main purpose of the church. When the program or system becomes the end goal, we have lost sight of our purpose. We should be seeking to reach people at all times, laying a foundation of prayer and ministering the word as we go.
3. Share the responsibility. The apostles delegated portions of the ministry needs to others. They didn’t try to do it all themselves. We should be always in the process of including more people in the work of the ministry. There are a lot of good things to do in the church, but each of us will only have a few God things that He has called us to. The apostles knew what their God thing was and stuck to it. They could have added some more good things in, but that would have taken away from their God thing. At the same time, God had men He had been preparing to do this specific God thing that was needed in scripture. Let people take ownership of specific areas. We should encourage people to do their part and find a place to serve within the church. This actually multiplies the results and effectiveness of ministry.
4. Saturate everything in prayer. I know we have already looked at this, but it’s worth repeating. The very first thing they did when they started wasn’t getting a food pantry started, developing a Widows in Need program or getting a list of names of all of those who were being neglected. They didn’t just jump in and start working. We see in the scripture that the apostles laid their hands on them and prayed. We could see a lot more happen in our lives, in our families, in our churches and in our communities if we would really take hold of the power of prayer. Prayer has a way of changing the world around us. It can and does make a difference. Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask. This requires us to admit we don’t have all the answers and we aren’t in control. But it also requires us to admit that we know that God is in control. He can make a difference in our churches if we let Him.
If we want to see a multiplication movement take place in and through the church, we must place prayer and the word as a priority. Also we must make it a part of our culture to raise up leaders who will share the load. When we do things in our power, we get what we can do. When we do things through prayer, we get what God can do.