“In those days the number of disciples was increasing, and a few among them complained against others because their helpless were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the 12 gathered all the disciples together and said “it would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God to wait on tables; choose from among yourselves those who will accept this responsibility so that all may be served.”
Paraphrase of Acts 6:1-4
I take great joy in watching our Corgi Ted as he attempts to organize the house! Actually, that is, herd the cats! The first thing he does when Anne and I come in from a journey away from the home is lead us to where the cats are, letting us know that he has been watching out for them and making sure they are not getting into trouble! It is a wonderful sight, but there is a part of me that is always tempted to borrow a few cats from folks and see if he could keep up with 12-15 of these independently minded creatures. My guess is that as the number of cats multiplied, he would wind up simply chasing his tail in a circle and losing his mind!
The early church discovered a challenge which still exists today; eventually a community of faith will grow to the point where it can no longer be adequately staffed by just a few; situations fall off the radar, the goal of doing an exceptional job suddenly finds itself compromised by time and demand constraints. Pretty soon the best the community can hope for from the few is simply a job done instead of well done. When this issue was recognized by the early church they decided in order to continue growing the tasks would need to be taken on by the many rather than just the few. Paul would eventually state in Ephesians 4:12 that the leaders are to equip the saints for the work of ministry. One big mistake made by congregations is assuming that the clergy do the ministry; actually, the clergy prepare the disciples to do the ministry.
Church growth specialists have found that a pastor in a growing church can only effectively serve about 125 people; the growth beyond this number will be thwarted by the pastor missing many of the “unspoken” concerns and situations. This creates hard feelings and, as the text tells us, complaints. SHUMC is working with about 300 + who are regularly present in the ministry. Needless to say, Rev. Amy and I will at times miss a situation not because of a lack of concern or care, but rather because we are not aware the situation exists.
* If you are having some difficulty or experiencing a period where you need pastoral assistance, please let us know. Hospital visits, significant losses or surgeries will often not make it to us through the grapevine any longer. Rev. Amy and I long to be there in your time of need, so please, give us a heads up at the office and we will do our utmost to be there for you. Do not assume that we have been informed of your situation or need. Otherwise, we may all end up disappointed.
* Offer your talents to our awesome programs! Accept a role in planning some of our special events like the Christmas Party, Trunk R Treat, or serving during Christmas and Easter Season. Your willingness to help will free up our staff, and ensure that we know you have grabbed the reigns and are getting the party started.
These are just a few ways you can help us be the effective faith community the Lord is calling us to be! Let’s help build God’s Kingdom together!
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