The Acts 6:3 Fellowship
Very recently, I was speaking at a luncheon to a group of faithful believers in Titusville, Florida. As a matter of context, Titusville is in Brevard County on the “Spacecoast” of Florida. Over the past three years, a group of pastors and key ministry leaders from across Brevard Country have been praying together every Wednesday morning. The group now numbers 50 leaders. The Lord is working among these united servants in a powerful way. This year, I have the privilege of training them in developing a culture of prayer in their churches via four multi-day visits.
This luncheon, however, involved the church members who have started gathering to pray at another location but concurrent with the pastors. Approximately 40 were at the luncheon. The topic revolved around their role in encouraging their pastors toward a work of revival.
Based on the story of Acts 6:1-7, I reminded them of the priorities of their pastoral leaders. Yet, I focused my presentation on the potential each of them brought to a future and powerful work of Christ in their community and beyond. You may remember the breakdown in the distribution of food to the widows in Acts 6. The apostles received guidance from the Holy Spirit that the congregation would select seven men to handle this important situation in order to keep their focus on “prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:3 says, “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.” Many commentators believe this was the beginning of a deacon-type ministry. However you label it, God used these seven in profound ways.
At the Titusville luncheon, I challenged these folks to be Acts 6:3 disciples and to trust God for amazing results. In summary, my challenge focused on six commitments:
A Heartfelt Commitment to Exemplary Living – The first description of these seven was that they were “of good reputation.” Something obvious caused these specific men to stand out among the thousands of believers in the early church at this time. Maybe they had a reputation for honesty, hard work, loving others, caring for their family, or sharing Christ with the lost. In any case, their testimony was vital and healthy at this moment in the life of the church.
A Humble Submission to the Holy Spirit – These seven were also “full of the Holy Spirit.” Their character was marked by a submission to the Holy Spirit. Their personal ministry surely reflected the power of the Holy Spirit. Their elevation to a greater realm of service surely brought a great advancement of spirituality in the church. Men like Stephen and Phillip appeared on this list. Acts tells us their stories of powerful preaching, evangelism, and even martyrdom. Yet, all seven men were notably Spirit-filled.
A Hunger for Godly Wisdom – These servants also exemplified lives full of “wisdom.” Wisdom is truth applied to life. Their proven biblical insight, judicious decision-making, and prudent choices brought vitality and well-being to the situation.
A Healthy View of Their Spiritual Potential – Too often, Christians today view themselves as mere “laymen.” I often joke that I did not call the people in our church “lay-men” because they would take it as a command and just lay around. The New Testament word for every believer is “saint,” which means a holy one. We are all set apart to God for official, kingdom-oriented service. These seven surely understood this calling.
A Helpful Participation in Ministry – These seven were eager to take the administrative and operational burden off the apostles. I suggested to the men and women at the Titusville gathering that each of them ask their pastors, “What can I take charge of in our church to free you to focus on ‘prayer and the ministry of the word’?” I believe this kind of movement of extraordinary leadership and service would transform the church and empower our pastors like never before.
A Holy Expectation of Supernatural Results – The results of this arrangement in Acts 6 spawned a powerful spiritual advancement. I believe it is the greatest “revival” moment of the New Testament. Read this carefully: “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (v. 7). Imagine this great advancement of the Gospel. Consider the exponential multiplication of true believers. Think of the amazement of those who had previously persecuted the church and even conspired to the crucifixion of Christ, now being converted in droves. Isn’t this the work for which we long and pray?
Find Your Place in This Fellowship
I believe that it is imperative that we continue to call and connect pastors to the priorities of “prayer and the ministry of the word.” I also believe these times demand that people just like you – of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit, and marked by godly wisdom – rise up and free our pastors from their many distractions by taking on serious responsibilities to advance the ministry of Christ. Will you stand and be counted today? If so, you might just play a vital role in the revival our churches need and the awakening that can transform our society.
Copyright © 2013 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.