Scripture Reading — Acts 6:1-7
"It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God ..." Acts 6:2 —
When we start new churches, we look for church planters with key attributes: resilience, faith, self-motivation, and an ability to relate well to folks outside the church. We also look for spiritual gifts that are essential in starting new congregations: leadership, evangelism, and faith. Starting new congregations includes an overwhelming variety of tasks: setting budgets, finding facilities, negotiating contracts--all in addition to pastoral work like preaching and visiting with people!
Any pastor will be able to tell you of the endless demands inside and outside the church, but in all this work, a pastor cannot neglect the ministry of the Word. A wise church allows its pastor ample time to prepare for preaching and teaching that will help keep the congregation healthy.
Improper food distribution threatened the unity of the early church, and yet if the apostles had responded by focusing only on food distribution, the whole body would have been weakened. It wasn't that these leaders were above waiting on tables or helping others. Every pastor occasionally needs to set up chairs, serve food, or pull weeds. We all follow the One who washed his disciples' feet (see John 13). The apostles decided not to wait on tables because that ministry would limit their time for prayer and preaching the good news.
Father, keep our pastors strong in your Word. We pray especially for pastors in new churches with an overwhelming list of tasks. Give them time to study your Word. Amen.