Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

If we could only look upon a difficult crisis as an occasion of bringing out, on our behalf, the sufficiency of divine grace, it would enable us to preserve the balance of our souls and to glorify God, even in the deepest waters. - C. H. Mackintosh

No Truth Without Love, No Love Without Truth

The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle.

Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident–with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.

The homosexual rights movement understands that the evangelical church is one of the last resistance movements committed to a biblical morality. Because of this, the movement has adopted a strategy of isolating Christian opposition, and forcing change through political action and cultural pressure.

Read the entire article by Albert Mohler here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Feelings and the Mind of Christ

One of the great obstacles to our spiritual maturity is our feelings!  We live in a day where feelings are often exalted as good indicators of decision-making.  Many believers have a very up and down Christian experience because they put so much trust in what they feel.

Our feelings change regularly, and our feelings can be affected by any number of things.

We feel like a friend rejected us because they did not contact us when we wanted them to, when in reality they have been wishing we would do the same.

We walk into a room and feel like everyone is negative toward us, where in reality they are all glad to see us.

We completely misread the comments or body language of a spouse and expect negativity when in fact he or she feels positively towards us.

We wake up after staying up too late and feel badly physically, emotionally, and psychologically, reading our negative feelings into the people around us.

We have negative feelings because someone else didn't meet our expectations, when in fact our expectations have been unrealistic.

I have found through the years that some people are especially prone to feeling like other people are routinely rejecting them - reading way too much into things than is reality.  For some it causes them to isolate themselves, building up high walls of protection, rarely allowing other people to get behind the wall.  Other people wallow in self-pity with a "woe is me, the world is against me" view of life.  Still others thrust themselves into perfectionism, trying to out-perform their feelings of inferiority.  Others have high-sensitivity trigger buttons that make them react negatively and forcefully when they sense feelings of rejection.

Charles Stanley has excellent notes about this subject - Victory over Rejection.

Interestingly, when you read the New Testament, you hear the apostles appealing not to our emotions as the barometer for spiritual growth, but instead to our minds.  We are challenged to renew our minds in order to walk in God's will (Romans 12:2).  Paul exhorts us to have the same mind of Christ in us (1 Cor. 2:16) - not the same feelings of Christ.  We are to set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2).  And Paul exhorted Christians that those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; those who have their minds  set on what the Spirit desires the mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so (Ro. 8:5-7).

The battle for the Christian life is in the mind.  We get off-track when we side-step into being buffeted by our feelings.  I have oft-learned that I have to have small, daily deaths to some feelings.  Jesus said that if I am to follow Him as a disciple, I first must deny self.  At times that means taking what I am feeling and saying, "NO!  I deny you.  I die to you.  I will not be controlled by what I feel.  Instead, I submit you to the lordship of Christ."

Feelings come and go.  They change with the wind.  It is wonderful when we feel good emotionally.  We all like to feel like a kite floating on the breeze.  But, as Christians, we should be able to keep going and functioning when the feelings go south and we have those normal, mundane days - or even the ones when we are in the dumps.

Bill Bright used to teach that if the Christian life is like a train, the engine is "truth," the car "faith," and the caboose "feelings."  Our faith must follow truth - or fact.  The train can run with our without the caboose of feelings.  You can see that illustration here on his 4 Spiritual Laws tract. 

The mature Christian is the one who consistently walks with God, exhibits godly fruit, and moves forward irregardless of the ever-changing feelings-barometer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fear Not, Little Flock

In his little book The Red Sea Rules, Robert Morgan shares the testimony of Darlene Rose, missionary to New Guinea.  She and her husband were both imprisoned by the Japanese in the 1930's.  When thrown into a cell, she found herself singing a song she had learned in Sunday School . . .

Fear not, little flock,
Whatever your lot;
He enters all rooms,
"The doors being shut."
He never forsakes,
He never is gone,
So count on His presence
In darkness and dawn.

(Only Believe by Daniel Reader)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within." Joseph Stalin

Standing at a Distance

            All I could do was stand at a distance.   My wife had been in labor all day, and for the past two hours had pushed like a champion to no avail.  Never had I seen her so exhausted physically or emotionally.  I kept hoping and praying that our little boy would come on out and meet our world, but he stayed put.  Finally, the doctor called for a C-section.  They quickly wheeled Tracey off to the operating room.  Minutes later I stood  and watched as doctors performed the procedure on my wife.  An awesome sense of the fragility of life overcame me as I observed my dear wife  and that precious child – both in the hands of the doctors.  There was nothing I could do but watch and pray.  So, I stood at a distance and witnessing the miraculous procedure.  Finally, the nurse brought that big bundle of nine pounds and ten ounces over to me and plopped him in my arms.  As tears streamed down my face, I thanked God for the help of someone better than I at delivering babies! 

Experiencing God’s miracles at times calls us to stand at a distance.  We like activity.  Our natures thrive on doing something.  But, as Henry Blackaby wrote, God may call us to not just do something but stand there. 

Miriam faced such a situation.  This famous sister of Moses models intercession in Exodus 2.  Picture it.  The need is severe.  Pharaoh orders all of the Jewish baby boys to be murdered at birth.  Under God’s protective care, Jochebed hides her baby Moses for three months.  When circumstances demand other action, “when she could hide him no longer” (2:3), this Jewish mother hides her child in a wicker basket, setting this life-boat in the bank of the Nile river.  Entrusting the boy’s survival to Elohim, she leaves Moses’ sister Miriam, who “stood at a distance to see what would happen to him” (4). 

Providentially Pharaoh’s daughter arrives on the scene, walking along the Nile. She spots the basket, discovers baby Moses, and has pity on the child.  Immediately Miriam steps forward, exclaiming, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” (7).  The Egyptian princess responses positively, “Yes, go.”  The baby is saved, grows up in the prestige of Pharaoh’s household, and God allows Jochebed to care for her child.

Experienced intercessors learn that many times God does not allow you to take any action in a situation that deeply concerns you.  Maybe you have done all you know to do to help a loved one and God finally says to you, “Don’t do anything but pray.”  You may have interest in a new job; you want to call your friends and try to manipulate the situation; but when you pray, God tells you to just stand there and trust him. 

Faced by an enemy army, Jehoshaphat stands in the presence of the Lord.  As he and his people cry out to God, the prophet speaks this word: “You will not have to fight in this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. . .o” (2 Chronicles 20:17).  Later in the life of Moses, cornered by an Egyptian army and a sea (there’s a cul-de-sac of trouble), this man of God challenges the Israelites, “Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. . . .  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14).

“Lord,” we say, “I don’t want to keep silent.”  I want to speak up, take action, be productive!”  But the gentle presence of God comes to us and says, “In quietness and in trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

The word stand, according to Webster’s New Dictionary, means “to take or be at rest in an upright or firm position” or “to be steadfast.”  Faced with impossible situations, intercessors must learn to be at rest in the Lord as they stand and pray.  The psalmist writes, “Be at rest once more, O my soul” (116:7), and challenges us to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him” (37:7; NASB).  How can we do this?  Because, as David writes, “On God my salvation and my glory rests” (62:7; NASB).

Miriam, watching the ripples of the Nile river rock her baby brother, entrusts his care to Almighty God while she stands at a distance.  Just as one day her brother would be required by Jehovah to lay down his rod, his only source of protection in the desert, so Miriam and her mother have to lay down an impossible situation and their ability to solve the problem.  God responds to their faith, and the rest is history.

What challenge in your life tempts you to push, yell, or manipulate circumstances?  What person close to you do you want to fix?  What impossibility evokes your desire to act when God says, “Rest and stand”?  Run to the Lord.  Pour out your heart before Him.  Rest in His nature.  And stand as an intercessor, committing the outcome to God.  Who knows? God may end up plopping the baby down into your arms.



Thursday, May 16, 2013


I told my children that next week I would be at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers' Conference. I explained, "There will be some agents at the conference." My eight-year old let out an emphatic, long, "coooooooooool." I thought about it for a second, looked at him, and replied, "Not secret agents." He immediately let out a disappointed "oh." Sorry kid.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Christian Home

As I plan for worship tomorrow, I am thinking about the many godly mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, and godly women out there this weekend.

My wife picked out a fantastic song for our congregation to sing tomorrow - it is one called A Christian Home by Barbara Hart and Jean Sibelius.  I have been worshiping the Lord today as I have meditated on its words.  This hymn is a fantastic guide for your own praying - I commend it to you!  Oh that these words would be true in our homes again and again and again . . .

O give us homes built firm upon the Saviour,
Where Christ is Head, and Counselor and Guide;
Where ev'ry child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho' his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster,
And praise is natural speech to ev'ry tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor:
Be Thou our Guest, our hearts and homes to share.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.  - Abraham Lincoln

Monday, May 6, 2013

Distractions and Unrealistic Expectations

I talked yesterday from Acts 6:1-7 about the subtle attack of distraction that could have sidetracked the early church.  It is ever-so easy for churches and ministries to become distracted with seemingly good things and miss the main things.

The consumer-oriented culture of America has created sub-cultures in the church that are often consumer-oriented.  We easily become obsessed with "me," which shows itself in a myriad of ways.  Churches can become distracted due to unrealistic expectations of people.

Perhaps the biggest surprise my wife and I have experienced in our 15 years of pastoral ministry is how easily Christians in our culture get their feelings hurt - and stay hurt.  In our me-driven society, even Christians will stay stuck in "they didn't appreciate me," "they hurt my feelings," "they neglected me," or, as Kent Hughes writes, they can even get sidetracked in imagined offenses (ones that in reality did not happen but they feel or perceive that they did).

One of the built-in disciplines of being a pastor is that you have to stay spiritual (or just choose to live in the flesh).  A spiritual pastor knows that he can't "do church" or "do ministry" in his own strength without the Lord.  One of the disciplines that it creates is the reality that you have to keep your heart clean and the chips off our your shoulders on a weekly basis.  I can't expect the Spirit of the Lord to anoint my preaching if I have sin in my heart towards people in my church fellowship (unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.). 

Likewise, if I have unrealistic expectations of other people (she should have spoken to me, he should have checked on me, they should have attended that special event), I have to regularly give those to the Lord.  I just can't go into a Sunday with habitual sins hanging around my neck and shoulder.

I remember a man in one church I served who taught a discipleship class once a quarter.  He said that about a  week prior to teaching it, he started being very aware of whether or not he was walking with the Lord and keeping his life free from things that displease God.  He knew that God would not work through him mightily during the discipleship class if he were walking in the flesh beforehand.

I think that is a wise practice for every believer to do on a weekly basis.  Keep your sin list very short.  Check your attitudes daily.  Lay your expectations of other people before the Lord regularly.  Who knows - while you are disappointed in something they did or did not do, they may be disappointed at one of your flaws as well!

We all need a good dose of "getting over our self" and learning to bear with one another.

While expressing love, grace, and mercy to those who are hurting, a wise church, like the church in Acts 6:1-7, will not become distracted from their primary tasks every time someone has their feelings hurt or feels neglected.

One of the qualities that made The Builder Generation great (the WWII generation) was the fact that they understood that their individual worth came from making a positive contribution to something bigger than themselves.  They were not obsessed with pleasing self as much as they were driven to be dutiful to things greater than themselves.  Sadly, since that generation, our society has become more and more obsessed with pleasing self and creating a world that thinks that the institution (family, church, government) exists to make them happy - not that they exist to serve the other.

When a church focuses on making people feel good and putting bandages on people’s hurt feelings, it becomes easily distracted from her great work of making disciples and being Christ’s witnesses.  A distracted church will become a weak church. 

Mature Christians learn to get over their hurt feelings, to overlook offenses, and to get on with God’s program!  It is a mark of immaturity to wallow in self-pity.  It is a mark of maturity to clothe oneself with Christ, forgive your brother, and let go of your past disappointments.  If you don’t, you will distract not only yourself and your family but perhaps the whole ministry.

Unrealistic expectations can distract your ministry!  Guard against getting off course just because someone had their feelings hurt or felt neglected.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why Attend Church?

When I was a boy, we went to church every Sunday morning unless someone was sick.  If I was sick, either Mom or Dad stayed home with me, and the other one went to church.  If Mom was sick, Dad and I went to church.  If Dad was sick, Mom and I went.
During the school year we attended church every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening (youth choir started about 4:30), and every Wednesday evening.  There were no exceptions.  I never once remember my parents getting up on Sunday and saying, We stayed up late last night.  We don't feel very good today.  We will just stay home.  (I did not hear of that until I became a pastor!)  
Sporting events and other diversions did not keep us from going.  (I remember when my swim team had a lock-in on a Saturday night.  My parents would not allow me to go because it was more important to worship God on the Lord's Day than to be at a lock-in!)
We looked forward to going to church weekly.  It was one of the main highlights of the week.  We loved our church family, we enjoyed being with them, and we enjoyed worshiping together.
When I look back on that practice of my parents, I do so with no regret.  We honored the Lord on His day by ordering our lives to worship Him and be with His people.  I learned early how to sit, be quiet, and listen to a sermon, how to sing songs to God, how to listen to adults pray and give testimony.  I watched people respond to the Lord and His Word at invitation times.   I learned the Bible in Sunday School classes.  I learned about the work of missionaries on Wednesday nights in RA classes. 
No, I don't look back on that and think, they drug me to church!  I am glad we were involved with the church and the people of God.  I learned the discipline of regular church attendance: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25).  And not just attending but getting involved.  Being an active participant. 

I don't think we have to go to church three times a week in order to be a Christian that pleases God.  However, in our day, statistics say that 40% of American evangelicals do not attend church regularly.  Many people who claim Christianity only attend on large holidays - Christmas and Easter.  And many believers are simply out of the discipline of meeting regularly and being involved with a local church.  Compare that to the habit of the early believers: Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad an sincere hearts (Acts 2:46).
The following is a great reminder of why we need to attend church regularly with other believers

I am sure that every serious Christian at times wonders, "Why do I really  need to go to church weekly?  Why can't I just stay home, worship with my family, and watch good preaching on television?  Why keep going to church when I don't always seem to get a lot out of it?  Churches are imperfect anyway." 

David Roach has some very good words with Scriptural reminders.  In our day of low commitment, of people being overinvolved and overextended, of a consumer-oriented culture, of Sundays and Wednesdays being crowded out by 100 other things to do, we are wise to read them and put them into practice.

Structuring for Growth

Acts 6:1-7

The tiniest events sometimes cause great problems.  Again and again a church has warded off a frontal attack only to be subverted from within.  Countless works for God have been hurt this way.  God blesses a work.  Then someone complains that he or she is not appreciated or is being neglected.  Acts 6 describes such a situation.  – Kent Hughes

Biblical church organization responds to needs and to what the Spirit is already doing.  Organization is never an end in itself, but only a means to facilitate what the Lord is doing in His church.  – Johnny Hunt

3 attacks on the young church:   Persecution (Acts 4), Corruption (Acts 5), Distraction (Acts 6)

Greek Jews and Hebrew Jews and the food distribution

Diakonia / diakonos  - primarily denotes servant; “through the dust” – leaving a ministry trail


1.      The need (1).  Complaints arose because of a legitimate, unmet need within the congregation.

When Satan does not succeed in stopping the church with a frontal assault, he attacks from within.  This usually happens subtly – an invitation not sent, a job unnoticed, a critical comment overheard, jealousy over something that really doesn’t matter.  Someone complains that he or she is not appreciated or is being neglected.  Perhaps in the form of a critical glance, a name forgotten, a social gaffe, or some imagined offense.  Biter dissension ignites and spreads, and the whole work goes up in flames.  When the murmuring begins, the devil smiles.  – Kent Hughes

When believers are unhappy and begin to murmur, the first place to look for the problem is in their own hearts.  If they feel they have just cause for criticism, by all means they should express it to the right people in an appropriate way.  But they must avoid murmuring or gossiping and must be willing to be a part of the solution.  – Hughes

When a church focuses on making people feel good and putting bandages on people’s hurt feelings, it becomes easily distracted from her great work of making disciples and being Christ’s witnesses.  A distracted church will become a weak church.

Mature Christians learn to get over their hurt feelings, to overlook offenses, and to get on with God’s program!  It is a mark of immaturity to wallow in self-pity.  It is a mark of maturity to clothe oneself with Christ, forgive your brother, and let go of your past disappointments.  If you don’t, you will distract not only yourself and your family but perhaps the whole ministry.

Unrealistic expectations can distract your ministry!  Guard against getting off course just because someone had their feelings hurt or felt neglected.

2.      The problem (2).  It was an incorrect move for the apostles to directly meet the need and neglect their priority task.

The apostles had no liberty to be distracted from their own priority task.  – John Stott

Waiting on tables would have left the apostles little time for anything or anyone else.  The apostles would have dried up spiritually under the pressure of serving meals plus all the counseling and preaching, with little time for preparation and prayer.  Furthermore, if the apostles had agreed to personally run the food program, others might have hesitated to perform the slightest ministry without apostolic direction, and that would have fostered overdependence we sometimes see today, with followers afraid to tie their shoes without getting permission from the pastor.  Delegation is at the heart of developing followers.– Kent Hughes

It was not that the apostles thought it beneath their dignity to run the errands of the church; it was simply a matter of putting first things first.  Keeping the main thing the main thing.  There was no point doing something anyone could do when they could do things no one else could do. – Johnny Hunt

The ministry of the Word, without prayer that the Spirit will water the seed, is unlikely to bear fruit.  – John Stott

The apostles’ statement tells us that more than the corporate witness was at stake.  Evidently some had suggested that the way to dispel hard feelings was to have Peter, John, and the others divvy up the widows’ goods.  Though such counsel may have appeared sensible at first glance, it actually brought apostolic principles of discipleship and delegation under well-meaning but deadly attack.  The power of the apostolic church would have been greatly diminished, and this glorious chapter of early-church history would have been sadly tamed.

The ill-advised suggestion must have been a substantial temptation for the apostles.  No one wants to think they see themselves as above common work.  There was also the temptation to think, “Things will not happen the way they should if I do not do them myself.”  They could not set themselves up as little gods.  – Kent Hughes

a)         The apostles did not get distracted by the murmur of unrealistic expectations.

b)         The apostles did not get distracted by neglecting the main thing.

c)         The apostles did not get distracted by becoming too important and fostering                                 overdependence.

d)         The apostles did not get distracted by refusing to disciple other leaders and                                         delegate  ministry.


3.       The solution (3).  The responsibility needed to be turned over to godly people within the congregation.

Their ministry was increased through spiritual delegation and discipleship.  The apostles made the people a part of the solution.

Spiritual men – godly character, full of the Spirit, wisdom, and motivation

When this church was choosing leaders it was not concerned about how much money the men had or how much management experience they had acquired, but whether or not they were wise and Spirit-filled.  The reason was that their main problem was essentially spiritual.  Therefore, it needed persons who were Spirit-filled to deal with them.  And people with wisdom.  – Boice

John Maxwell says that the first mark of a leader is the ability to delegate:

            1. If someone else can do a task better than I can, I give it away.

            2. If someone else can do a task at least 80% as well as I can, I give it to them.

            3. If someone else has the potential to do a task at least 80% as well as I can, I train them.


4.      The focus (4).  The apostles could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

The apostles were able to maintain needed spiritual discipline.  The apostles’ prayers were accompanied by the ministry of the word – preparation.  They all prayerfully poured over the Old Testament, working hard at understanding and communicating the spiritual truths of God’s Word.  This is where shepherds often fall short today.  This contrasts sharply with today’s average pastor, who according to a Christianity Today survey, spends only three minutes a day in prayer.  Unrealistic expectations, the feeling of needing to be present at every meeting and every function, and an overcrowded schedule often leaves today’s busy pastors little time for fellowship with God.

I know of no department of human activity, from the governing of a great nation to the doctoring of a little body, where the disposition is not constantly appearing to invent some sudden method or to seek some magical and concise preparation which shall obviate the need of careful, comprehensive study and long-continued application.  But this disposition is nowhere so strong, I think, as in the ministry.  – Phillips Brooks

No man is ever going to be able to fill the pulpit adequately unless he spends thousands of hours year after year in the study of God’s Word.  – Donald Barnhouse

Prayer and the ministry of the Word are inseparably linked.  Prayer must permeate a pastor’s sermon preparation.  Without both, our sermons are superficial and dry.  – Johnny Hunt

Every Member a Minister (everyone has a gift and a ministry)

God calls all his people to ministry, he calls different people to different ministries, and those called to ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’ must on no account allow themselves to be distracted from their priorities.  We do a great disservice to the church whenever we refer to the pastorate as “the ministry.”  All Christians without exception are called to ministry, indeed to give their lives in ministry.  The expression “full-time Christian ministry” is not to be restricted to church work and missionary service; it can also be exercised in government, the media, the professions, business, industry, and the home.  We need to recover this vision of the wide diversity of ministries to which God calls his people.  – Stott

The apostles could have been preoccupied with the wrong ministry.  Today’s pastors, instead of concentrating on the ministry of the Word (which will include preaching to the congregation, counseling individuals, and training groups), they become overwhelmed with administration.  Sometimes it is his fault (he wants to keep all the reins in his hands), and sometimes the people’s (they want him to be a general factotum [a servant with many diverse responsibilities] ).  In either case the consequences are disastrous.  The standards of preaching and teaching decline, since the pastor has little time to study or pray.  And the people do not exercise their God-given roles.  For both reasons the congregation is inhibited from growing into maturity in Christ. 

What is needed is the basic, biblical recognition that God calls different men and women to different ministries.  Then the people will ensure that their pastor is set free from unnecessary administration, in order to give himself to the ministry of the Word, and the pastor will ensure that the people discover their gifts and develop ministries appropriate to them.  – John Stott

5.      The people (5-6).  Godly men are chosen and commissioned to oversee ministries.

They may illustrate the general principle that much of the work is carried on by the unknown, unsung individuals who faithfully carry out the tasks entrusted to them.  – John Phillips

The Bible’s evaluation of success if completely different from the world’s evaluation.  If you want to be great in God’s sight, try serving people.  - Boice

They are allowed to use their gifts.

Every Christian has at least one gift.  If you have a situation in which people are not exercising their gifts, the result is always an impoverished church.  No one person has all the gifts.  So if the gifts he [one pastor] does not have but that others have are unused, the church is poorer by that amount.  – Boice.

Healthy church – at least 60% of people engaged, using their gifts

6.      The result (7).  Evangelism, discipleship, and apologetics flourish.


By divinely-directed delegation, the apostles not only freed others to grow in their service to God, but they freed themselves for prayer, preparation, and powerful preaching!  Thus the spiritual ministry of the church was enhanced.  – Kent Hughes

The main thing stayed the main thing.  A unified, well-taught church will be a powerful witness to the lost world.  – Johnny Hunt

Besides being biblically obedient, the involvement of the church in ministry has many immediate benefits to the church:

·         Pastors and other staff members are freed to do other ministries, especially prayer and the Word.

·         The number of ministries increases proportionally to additional lay involvement.

·         Involvement of the laity in the ministry is the best assimilation method.  Those who are involved rarely leave the church.

·         Involved people are generally happy people.

·         People who do ministry are typically generous financial supporters of the church.  They see the benefits.   

-           Thom Rainer, Eating the Elephant



If the widows are being neglected, we should be willing to wait on tables.  If the Sunday school needs help, we should be ready to assist however we can.  If we see a need for a small group, perhaps we should host one.  If we see the need for evangelism, we should be willing to share Christ.  We must not just complain but must be willing to lead, to delegate, and, above all, to serve.

So here we see a pattern: a legitimate need leads to wise delegation, allowing church members to take responsibility and be overseers of ministries, leading to the multiplication of the church!

Healthy churches will follow their pattern, allowing people to be initiators of ministry.