Division of Labor, Continued
Last week in our ongoing series To the Ends of the Earth, we encountered tension between two ethnicities in the early Christian movement. Recall that the Greek widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food (check out the message, Division of Labor or read Acts 6.1-7, if you missed it).
Fixing this challenge, however, also provided an opportunity: Instead of merely working harder, these earliest Jesus followers worked smarter! The congregation elected 7 deacons to take charge of this new ministry so the 12 disciples could focus on prayer and preaching the good news. We’ll continue exploring the story of these deacons in worship today and next week. But for a moment, I’d like to reflect on the current challenge and opportunity of ministry at Good Shepherd.
While our church family isn’t experiencing the challenges of racial tension, living into our new mission does present a significant challenge - and opportunity. We have clarified our mission as
Inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family.
And you won’t be surprised to hear me say that doing so requires all of us using our spiritual gifts in ministry and mission. Like the Core Values of ECO assert:
We believe in unleashing the ministry gifts of women, men, and every ethnic group.
We believe in living out the whole of the Great Commission – including evangelism, spiritual formation, compassion, and redemptive justice – in our communities and around the world.
And just like the first Elders in Acts 6 who give away their power and authority to the 7 deacons, current leaders of Good Shepherd need to equip and empower new leaders for ongoing ministry and mission. This reality is confirmed by those that write on “Church Size Dynamics,” who reveal that churches function differently at different sizes. At our current “Corporate Size,” which spans 350-800 members, equipping and empowering of multiple staff, elders, and deacons is the primary role of pastors, (especially if we want to grow!).
Next week we begin our annual nomination process, inviting the Good Shepherd church family to nominate willing Covenant Partners to serve as Elder or Deacon. As we continue this practice begun in Acts 6, would you spend time this week praying over who God may be calling into leadership at Good Shepherd? Ask yourself, simply, who do I know that could lead us in
Inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family?