Summary: The apostles were blessed by God with great growth in their fellowship as a result of their Spirit applied solutions to a prickly problem. Dr. Luke wrote, Then the word of God spread and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.
1. Remember that there are plenty of cycles of ups and downs in every relationship, ministry and group. While the first century church grew in maturity they were faced with the tensions between Grecian and Aramaic speaking Jews.
The differing tribal perspectives meant that Grecian Jews felt that they were being considered inferior and consequently grew resentful to their Aramaic speaking Jewish friends. The early church leadership found solutions through the leading of the Holy Spirit as they found creative ways to meet the physical, social, material and spiritual needs of all tribes represented without practicing discrimination.
Application: Trust the Lord to give you a Spirit led wisdom to know how to meet the needs of your people without sacrificing the essential priorities of your organization. The disciples remembered what Jesus said, You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
2. Refuse to get discouraged when you hear complaints, criticisms, or accusations. The disciples were convinced that the Lord would fulfill His promise to build His church in quantity and quality regardless of the kind of problems they might encounter.
Acknowledge each persons concern as being important, but ask them to allow you to meet with the plurality of Godly elders in your fellowship to find a creative solution.
Often times when there is a problem, the Lord will give someone a relevant way of solving the problem without sacrificing on the priorities of the fellowship.
Application: Trust the Lord to help you deliberate with the Godly leaders of your organization who will be able to pray, refer to scripture and synthesize a sensible solution to whatever complaint threatens the progress of your church.
* Resist the temptation to try to do all things for all men, merely try to become all things to all men so that you might save some.
Paul the apostle graciously recognized his limitations without overstretching his God given constraints. The first century apostles voiced their concern that it would not be advisable to leave the preaching of the word just to wait upon tables to widows. They recognized their God given calling to the prayer and to the ministry of the word.
God expects leaders to remain on course with the priorities of the gospel ministry in the face of all kinds of temptations to take detours.
Application: Trust the Lord to help you to withstand the pressures to give in to various trends that run counter to evangelism, disciple-making and the planting and growing of the church of Jesus Christ.
* Ask the Lord to help you exhibit creative leadership by communicating with all the people who are involved in a transparent, loving, and progressive manner. Do not assume that critics are your enemies. God can use suggestions of all types to help the leadership of the church to be all that He wants them to become.
Application: Remember that we please the Lord most when we are speaking and listening to the truth spoken in love as we grow in all aspects in to Christ who is the head of the church. (Eph. 4:15) Read, study and practice ways that you can improve your communications.
* Look to the Lord for the wisdom to solve problems in a timely way that is evidenced by the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit.
Application: Many problems are allowed to arise in the church so leaders will be given an opportunity to demonstrate how the Spirit supernaturally intervenes just as the right time in the right way with the best people to provide timely solutions to problems.
* Ask the Lord privately and corporately to give you the kind of discernment that often comes with Godly experience with difficult problem solving. Solid food is for the mature who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Heb. 5:14)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you bring to bear many discerning peoples perspectives to help provide solutions for tough questions.
* Assign responsibility to responsible people. The apostles found ways of appointing Godly Greek men who were able to take care of the needs of the widows. Stephen and Philip grew from their service to be significant leaders in other fellowships.
Application: Trust the Lord to bring forth people who are willing to prove themselves faithful in little things before they are entrusted with responsibilities over large ministries.
* Believe that the Lord will use your creative problem solving in all kinds of ways to bring about quantitative and qualitative growth in your members and in the church. The apostles were blessed by God with great growth in their fellowship as a result of their Spirit applied solutions to a prickly problem. Dr. Luke wrote, Then the word of God spread and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.
Application: Never underestimate the importance of solving any concern in the church. God will multiply your fellowship through obedient problem solving ministries.