In Acts Chapter 6 we see the growing pangs of the early Church in Jerusalem. There were growing complexity in a nascent church as the number of believers increased. They were waiting for Christ’s return and had adopted a communal style of living.
Resources were pulled together and they shared finances and resources in the church. Funds were distributed daily to those in need, including widows. Though they were all Jews, culturally they were different as some were Hellenistic Jews and some were Grecian Jews. Due to some unhappiness in the sharing of resources, the complaints went all the way to the Apostles.
The Apostles felt that they should not leave the Word of God to “serve tables” and instead devised a system to select seven men of good repute and full of the Holy Spirit to manage the financial matters of the church.
The example of the early Church in Jerusalem provides an example of what to expect in any growing church. A growing Church, especially an independent church without the supervision and guidance of a hierarchal structure, will experience all kinds of strain and stress over ministry focus, theological foundation, structure and organization of the church, human resource deployment and financial management. The list can go on. Church leaders must expect such convulsions in the Church and prepared for challenges if we are working towards Church growth.
Learning from our long years as an independent church, we have experienced all kinds of pulls and challenges in our several decades of existence. We must expect distractions to come each time when we are heading for growth. Leaders must stay focus to prevent distractions from pulling us away from the Word. We also encounter problems over how the church is to be organized and it is indeed crucial that for the continuity and stability of the church, it is of paramount importance that we ought to have a sound organizational structure to ensure separation of responsibilities. Other problems commonly experienced in a growing church but not limited to these, are selection of suitable, committed and clear-thinking leaders with the primary focus of protecting the flock entrusted to the care of His Church. In short, leaders are answerable to Him and not to men.
Whatever the distractions and challenges faced by a growing church, a church must not be distracted from the teaching of His Word and Prayers. Teaching and Prayers (particularly corporate prayers) are the heart of His Church.
A/P Lee Fook Choon