“CHOOSING HELPERS”                                 By Pastor YAU

Text: Acts 6:1-7                                                 September 14, 2008

 

INTRODUCTION:   

1)      The biblical scenario: Some scholars and pastors believe that the early churches were so good or so perfect that they deserve to be models of churches today. The fact is there were many difficulties, problems and needs in those early churches as they are today in modern day churches. The very first church in Jerusalem faced internal problems, needs and difficulties as much as any church in Christian history. Anyone who reads this passage can see that problems, needs and difficulties is not limited to churches today. The fact that the first church needed to choose helpers to handle church business is self-explanatory.

2)      The practical scenario: No one will argue that societies have changed, needs have increased and structures become more sophisticated in modern-day churches, the need of helper to carry effective ministries in today’s churches are inevitable and more compelling. No church is able to cover all the grounds or do effective ministries or growing to fulfill either the Great Commission or the daily operation without the contribution of the people in the service of the church. Choosing helpers from the people to meet the needs of the church is not just biblical, it is also essential to the growth and health of any church.

 

ALL ABOUT HELPERS:

1)     This is a godly method: With all the powers God has, He chose to do most of the things by calling and using helpers. The fact that God called and used Abraham, Moses, Elijah and all the prophets in the Old Testament to fulfill His purposes and commands. We also see that Jesus called the Twelve disciples, giving them the Great Commission and the early church history are just a few examples that God loves to call and use people to carry out His plans. We are not asking people to help the church because someone is lazy but because this is God’s way.

2)     This is about service: The very Greek word, deaconos, which was translated “deacons” in the New Testament refers to those who were chosen to serve tables in the early church which we call “waiters” or “servants” today. This is about what they do, not about a position of power or authority as some may believe and do in many churches today. This is a very important concept and biblical principle: we are chosen to serve, not to occupy a position of authority.

3)     This is about delegation: Delegation is a very important concept and approach for effective ministries. It is not because Peter and the other disciples didn’t know how to manage food distribution but because they had other things God designated them to do: prayer and preaching the word. God called different people with different tasks to build His Kingdom. While there is no difference in importance of jobs, there are differences in nature of jobs. God gives some gifts for this job, He gives gifts to some for other jobs. They are different but all are important.

4)     This is about God’s people: Some may think that prayer and preaching the word are the more important tasks of a church to reach the unsaved. But meeting to the needs of the saved is as important as the unsaved. Neglecting the needs, spiritual or otherwise, of members of the church is going to hurt the church the same way if not more. Some churches are very fervent in reaching the unsaved at the expense of neglecting to meet the needs of their members. People inside the church are as important as that on the outside. Paul encouraged the early church to care those in the household of God. (Galatians 6:10)

 

HERE ARE SOME WRONG WAYS:

1)    Not about talents: Most people will choose helper because they have talents but that’s not how it happened in the Bible. No one will argue the importance of talents needed to do things, but in God’s church and in God’s work, talents is not a prerequisite. Normal people can learn to do things if he or she is committed.

2)    Not about fame: Some churches and Christian organizations have invited people to be leaders because of their fame or name in the society. We see many para-church organizations invited big name people to be so called “Advisors” or “Board of Reference.” This is very secular in nature.

3)    Not about money: Another temptation to choose people to sit in positions is about their money. No one will argue that money is important in doing works in the church, but money alone does not qualify anyone to be chosen to serve in a church.

4)    Not about personal favor: This is a serious problem in choosing people to serve in the church: some people choose helper because they are buddies. Friendship is good and important in the church. But friendship is never the right reason we vote for someone to serve in God’s church.

 

HERE ARE SOME RIGHT WAYS: (Refer to the text today)

1)   Meeting practical needs: When there are things need to be done, we need to choose people to do them. To ignore the needs of a church or to ignore the needs to serve is going to hurt the health and growth of the church. All people in the church need to see the needs and be willing to step up to meet the needs.

2)   Share responsibilities: God called the 12 apostles for specific tasks in prayer and preaching the gospel. Others need to step up to share other responsibilities in the church so the apostles won’t be over burdened by too many responsibilities.

3)   Chosen by the people: There are few examples that helpers were chosen by God or by God appointed servants such as in the case of Moses chose Joshua and Paul chose Timothy, but in the New Testament time, helpers were chosen by the people. This is true here and has been followed through the centuries. There are pros and cons in both election or appointment methods.

4)   Choose quality people: We are talking about spiritual quality and personal integrity as the criteria of choosing people to serve in church positions. The Bible lists these qualities in choosing the seven brothers: Full of the Spirit, wisdom and faith.

5)   Seeking God’s approval: The fact that the apostles lay their hands on the helpers and prayed for them means they sought the approval, blessing and guidance of God on these elected brothers. All who are elected to serve need to seek God’s leadership and wisdom to truly do a good job. Remember we are talking about serving in God’s church. Following God’s way in doing His work is required of all church helpers.

6)   Seeing great results: With the dedicated service of the quality helpers and problems in the church solved, the Jerusalem church was blessed with many great results: The word of God spread, the number of disciples increased and even the opponents of the gospel became obedient to the faith.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Ready to choose: Today, we will choose many helpers to serve in church ministry positions. We need to follow the biblical guidelines when we nominate and vote to choose people to serve in committees who will carry the ministries of the church on their shoulders. Be prayerful and serious when you nominate and vote. If we do this in accordance of God’s mandate, we will see blessing of God in our church.

2)   Ready to serve: We do not see in the Bible passage anyone who was nominated to serve declined or refuse to serve. Committed Christians need to stand ready to serve God and His church when they are called. Serving the Lord and His church is both a duty and an honor and all Christians should be ready to step out and take the baton.

3)   Ready to believe: The church in Jerusalem chose seven brothers among the believers to serve the needs of the church. Those who were chosen had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. To believe in Jesus and baptized into the church are prerequisites in being chosen to serve in the church. If you have not accepted Jesus, you can do it today and join the New Believers class starting in October and be baptized on Christmas Sunday, December 21.