Summary: A church is positioned to be most effective when leaders are chosen on the basis of their reputation for living a Christ-like life and having wise discernment.
Title: A Culture of Godly Leadership
Text: Acts 6:1-7
Thesis: A church is positioned to be most effective when leaders are chosen on the basis of their reputation for living a Christ-like life and having wise discernment.
We are on a Pathway to Congregational Vitality. We want to be a Healthy Missional Church. By Healthy we mean we are pursuing Christ. And by Missioinal we mean we are pursuing what is important to Christ or Christ’s priorities.
In order to understand what being a Healthy Missional Church looks like, we are unpacking a series called: The Marks of a Healthy Missional Church. Researchers have found that there are at least ten marks, characteristics, traits, qualities, etc., that are consistently found in Healthy Missional Churches.
To date we have noted that The Marks of a Healthy Missional Church are:
• Compelling Christian Community
• The Centrality of the Word of God
• Life Transforming Walk with Jesus
• Global Perspective and Intentional Evangelism
• Transforming Communities through Active Compassion, Mercy and Justice Ministries
• Heartfelt Worship
Today we will unpack a seventh Mark of a Healthy Missional Church. We believe the Scripture teaches and history confirms that Healthy Missional Churches are characterized by A Culture of Godly Leadership.
A man was stranded on the proverbial deserted island in the Pacific for years. One day a boat came sailing into view and the man frantically waved and waved until he got the skipper’s attention. The boat landed on the beach and the skipper got out to greet the stranded man.
• After a while the skipper asked the castaway, “What are those three huts you’ve built?”
• The stranded man replied, “That first hut is my house.
• “What’s the next hut?”asked the skipper.
• “I built that for my church,” replied the castaway.
• “And the third hut” queried the skipper?
• “Oh,” the castaway answered solemnly, “that’s where I used to go to church.” (Mikey's Funnies, 8-20-02)
It would seem that even a church of one has trouble getting along.
In our text today the people at First Christian Church in Jerusalem were not getting along.
I. Wicked problems crop up when organizations have to face change or unprecedented challenges.
As the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek speaking believers complained about the Hebrews speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. Acts 6:1
As ideal as we might like to think it must have been in those early days of the church… even then there was discontent.
A. Sometimes people are just chronically discontent.
Take for example, a toddler crying because his mother has left him to play in the living room while she has a cup of coffee with a friend in the kitchen… a simple open doorway away. "Poor thing," says the friend, "he doesn’t like being left in the living room alone." "It's all the same to him," said the mother; "he would cry if I made him play here in the kitchen where I am. It is a peculiarity of that boy, that if he finds himself in one room, he wants to be in the other and rebels accordingly." In other words, he’s never happy.
Sometimes people are like that toddler. Wherever or whatever, they manage to be discontent.
B. Sometimes there is cause for discontent.
It is said, “The greater the disagreement, the more wicked the problem.” Innovation Journal, The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 14, 2009)
The early church had a wicked problem. It was not just some little spat – they were not only dealing with change, they were dealing with unprecedented change. This was a new problem of crisis proportions they had never had to deal with before.
The text says that as new people came into the early church a problem developed that resulted in “rumblings of discontent.” It seems the original group of Christians there in Jerusalem were orthodox Jews or Hebrews, who spoke Aramaic. But after the Day of Pentecost another category of Jewish people became followers of Christ. They were Jews who had been in other countries, so to speak. They are sometimes referred to as Palestinian Jews or Hellenistic Jews. They spoke Greek.
One of the really great things about Judaism is that historically they have maintained a sense of responsibility for the less fortunate. The Synagogue appointed receivers or collectors whose job it was to visit the market place and make rounds to private homes every Friday morning to collect money and goods for the needy. Later that day they distributed their collection to those in need. Those with temporary need received from “The Basket” a lesser amount of assistance but those who were permanently unable to support themselves were given enough for 14 meals… enough to sustain them two meals a day for one week (until the following Friday).