The Empowered Church Chooses Seven. (Acts 6:1-7)

By the time we reach Acts 6, the church has grown significantly – which is great news. But with the growth came some problems. The Greek-speaking Jews thought that they were being treated badly by the Hebrew-speakers. But the exact complaint is not really the issue. After all, we’re all imperfect people. We all have our weaknesses and faults, and no church or community is ever going to be perfect until we reach our eternal life in heaven. As a church grows, some issues will inevitably arise between imperfect people.
So, what did the apostles decide to do? They decided to appoint seven men (often described as deacons) to take charge of the practical issues, so that the apostles could focus on their own calling to preach the word of God. Now take a look at v3: what were the qualifications needed for these deacons? These were practical roles, so we might expect that they would look for people with admin or managerial skills. But no – they looked for people of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom. Their characters were more important than their skills.
This is just as true in the church today. Character is more important than ability or skill – for any ministry or position of service in the church. Because we are a church of imperfect people, we need leaders who are well respected and known for being full of the Holy Spirit.
And who did the choosing of the seven? Look at v3 again. It is easy to assume that the apostles chose them – because that’s how we would do it today, wouldn’t we? But look again carefully: “Therefore brothers and sisters, pick out from among you seven men...” Who did the choosing? It was the church themselves, not the apostles. Verse 5 says ‘the whole gathering’ chose the deacons. This is the Empowered Church in action: “You pick out seven men.”
God wants us to be the Empowered Church today. We’ve got used to the leadership model of the business world around us, where managers make the decisions and the appointments. But God’s model of the Empowered Church is different. God wants the whole church to be involved. None of us should just sit back and expect that the elders or leaders should make all the decisions.
Let us all look to God to empower us with his Holy Spirit, so that each one of us can take an active role in the life of his Empowered Church.