Category Archives: Laymen

Laymen – involving in ministry the key to church growth – Part III

This blog concludes the impact of Acts 6:1-7 on the early church.  In essence, why lay people are essential to church growth.  The apostles took two significant steps to disarm the crisis in Jerusalem.

First, they retained their God-given priority as men of prayer and study.  Emphasizing the reason ministers must be students of God’s word.  Only by such study, reinforced with prayer, will preaching regain its rightful place in worship.

Second, to give the time those duties demanded, they put the laity in charge of daily church activity—in this case, feeding Grecian widows.  The men chosen had to be Spirit-filled disciples, even if they only served tables.  Any ministry needs Christ-like messengers because any ministry is a sacred trust.  Whatever giftedness may be needed to lead, Christ-centered life in the person is essential.

The apostles’ decision had astonishing results.  One, those who complained—the “Monday-morning quarterbacks”—were enlisted in the solution to problems they defined.  Nothing turns skeptics into believers like personal involvement.

Two, this pleased the people.  And why?  Because, for the first time in religious history, lay people assumed an active role in their faith.  They chose their own leaders, who determined a procedure to meet the need.

Three, RAPID growth occurred, as more-than-ever additions came to the church.  Even priests as a group converted.  An especially significant change since leaders of a religious faith are the last to surrender their theological position.

All this came from an administrative, not a doctrinal, change.  The apostles kept preaching Jesus Christ crucified!  A correction for ministers today who think a new message has to be employed to reach people.  Do not alter the Gospel message.  Change only methods.

A concluding thought.  It’s only natural for us to sink to whatever mediocrity is allowed OR to rise to whatever excellence is demanded.  Jesus constantly calls his people to their feet and forward in his cause.  Let us be reminded that people can find a church in the Yellow Pages, but find Christ only in Christians.  – Fini –

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Laymen – involving in ministry the key to church growth – Part II

This blog studies the impact of Acts 6:1-7 on early church growth.  In essence, why lay people are essential to church growth.

First, without involvement in church life, they will become a problem.  That happened in the Jerusalem church.  The communal life practiced in the early months collapsed under the addition of numbers.  Additions to membership that had stretched the organization snapped it like hurricanes snapping power lines.  In another figure, tires all blew on their Meals on Wheels program.

An “outside group” forced the break—the Grecian Jews.  A true-to-life result.  The “In” group in any assembly hardly ever feels irritation with procedures.  The “impatient” newcomers nearly always create the friction.  The Grecians felt their widows slighted by an apostolic corps manned by Hebraic Jews.  And, naturally, their complaint focused on unmet physical needs.  People will tolerate a lot of poor preaching and loud music, but leaders better be there when need arises.

Second, the apostles ingeniously disarmed the complaints.  Remember that prior to the Babylonian exile, Judaism had been a prophetic- and priest-driven religion.  After the return to Israel, it settled into a rabbi- and priest-controlled religion.  The early months of Christianity seemed to continue the trend by making it an apostolic-monopolized faith—a Christian Judaism—with clerical/laity distinctions evident.  After all, the Rabbi-disciple format Jesus established offered this model.

Therefore…the unexpected discomfiture imposed by Grecians must have been God’s will in re-directing church leadership.  Since no doctrinal issue was raised, God allowed the communal lifestyle to exist JUST SO it would fail.  That gave the Spirit-led apostles the opportunity to install a procedure that, like love, could expand exponentially with any numerical growth.  To disarm the crisis, the apostles took two significant steps.  – End Part II –   We’ll conclude this blog tomorrow.

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Laymen – involving in ministry the key to church growth – Part I

Read Acts 6:1-7 to appreciate this blog.  When Rick Warren’s runaway best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life, sold at least 19 million copies, he considered a spiritual awakening imminent.  He even traveled back east to consult with those he considered “cultural influencers”:  media, entertainment, business and university leaders.

Point of fact.  Meeting with those people had more apparent than real impacts on spiritual renewal.  It excited more admiration than change and produced more sentiment than substance. For a simple reason.  God seldom calls the politically- or socially-connected to ignite spiritual renewal, especially in a culture depraved by many of the very people Warren interviewed.

However, the spiritual impact of those 19 million books on the multiple millions who read them was, and remains, incalculable.  It could have by now heralded a revival like the pounding staccato of kettle drums heralding a symphony’s finale.

It didn’t, since America is deeper than ever in its depravity and subject to judgment, not renewal.  This may have been stated in previous blogs, but it bears re-reading.  Our nation has crossed the line between God’s patience and God’s wrath, and only tribulation awaits us.

While God shuns those important in their own eyes when looking for servants, he consistently uses Spirit-filled laymen as his ministers.  The text reveals four reasons lay people are essential to building and expanding a church’s ministry and mission.  That will be the subject of the next blog.  – End Part I –