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These they set before the apostles and they prayed
and laid their hands on them. ~ Acts 6:6 (ESV)

READING: Nehemiah 12:27-43

The apostles were so wise. They were not only visionary leaders but calm administrators. New churches need both. The visionary sees where God wants the church to go; the administrator charts a course to get there. The visionary excites and mobilizes; the administrator plans and organizes. Most church planters cannot be both. But every visionary leader must be convinced that organizational attention is crucial, and must find a way to attend to it.

The “widows” crisis in the Jerusalem church is a case study in good crisis management. The apostles not only averted disaster, but strengthened the unity of the church and increased the number of godly leaders.

The fifth principle: they celebrated the solution that God brought to the crisis. Like Nehemiah before them, they chose to spotlight the accomplishments of God’s people in working together, solving problems and strengthening community.

The seven “deacons” chosen by the congregation were publicly commissioned. There must have been great joy among both the Hellenists and the Hebrews. Joy that unity was restored, that godly solutions were found, and that their church had wise and unselfish leaders who humbly shared the credit and joined hands in celebrating the solution.

The conclusion? “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 6:7). It’s a great illustration of a key church planting principle: Attending to organizational and administrative matters will protect and stabilize the new church, and enable it to grow in a healthy way.

Jesus, Help me share the credit and celebrate the solutions You provide to whatever problems arise in the church You’ve given me to lead – and administrate. Amen.

Jim Carpenter