One critical call of leadership is to face up to issues. It is one that I find most daunting personally. Let me then muse upon the events in Acts 6:1-7. The key matter that I want to note here is that the leaders, the apostles, face up to the problem at hand.
The problem is set before us in Acts 6:1: “the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.” There was a problem; the Hellenistic Jews were not happy and everyone knew it. It appears as well that their grievance was justified; for there does not seem to be any disputing what had developed.
However, the leaders were up to the situation. They did not just “sweep it under the carpet” and engender ongoing disgruntlement in part of the fellowship. The key words are: “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said…” (6:2a). The leaders took action. By this act, they had set in motion a process which would lead to action being taken to resolve the issue.
The critical thing, though, was that they took action. So many leaders fail, and I feel the immense challenge of this as I write, by failing to face up to an issue.
I was reading something by Sir Steve Redgrave who was saying that “bad decisions are better than no decisions. Being willing to take action and make decisions on pressing issues reveals an organisation which is moving on. An Inability to rise up to the challenge reveals an organisation which is not drifting.”
Admirably, the leaders in Acts 6 acted for the good of the church.
- They analysed the situation; they determined that they should focus on prayer and the Word of God, so that the Word could continue to flow into the church.
- They proposed a strategy. Men were to be appointed of suitable character and gifting to sort out the problem.
- The church decided on these men and they were recognized.
Finally there is a great outcome. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
Underneath all this are deep spiritual realities. Satan had sought to hinder the Word of God by splitting the church. The God-ordained leaders rose to the challenge and thwarted this. May there be many leaders among our churches who would emulate the apostles.
Oh Lord, be my helper in these things. I feel completely inadequate.