by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

A Declaration Not to Drift (7 of 14)
Series: Acts
Joe Alain
Acts 6:1-7

When movements grow they face at least two challenges. There is the challenge of organizing to meet the growing needs. And as movements grow they become institutionalized. This is not necessarily anyone's fault, this is just the natural progress of movements. What begins as a movement grows into an institution. But there are a few problems when a movement becomes institutionalized. Institutions naturally try to perpetuate themselves, there is the danger of focusing on protecting the institution at the expense of fulfilling the mission of the institution.

When movements become institutions its members begin to naturally lose their outward mission focus and begin to look inward to their needs. This happened early on in the first church as Luke describes it in Acts 6. The Hellenistic Jews (i.e., Greek-speaking and Greek culture-influenced) believers complained that there widows were not getting ministered to properly. In the early church a significant ministry was taking care of the widows who had no one else. These Greek-speaking Jews felt that the Hebrew Jews were receiving preferential treatment at their expense.

This apparently was a legitimate need and complaint. But how do you meet the growing and ever-present needs of ministry while at the same time not lose your mission focus? The early Christian leaders laid down a principle that is very helpful for us as a church today. We see it in the response of the disciples in 6:2b. "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." Here was a declaration of a fundamental principle. It was "A Declaration Not to Drift." Specifically, it was a declaration not to drift into disobedience.

The church leaders realized that there are some times when doing "good" things can take the place of doing the "best" things. This shift from doing "good" things and neglecting the "best" things is su ...

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