40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 2 – Group Bible Study

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In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.  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 6:1 -7, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context

We got off to a great start yesterday with the valuable comments that were shared about the activities of the local church documented in Acts chapter 2.  We are going to stay in the book of Acts and observe another presentation of the early church in action.  Our primary objective is to foster critical thinking about what activities our local churches should be engaged in.

Bible Study Passage

Our passage today is from Acts 6:1 – 7 (presented above).  Unlike the situation in Acts 2 where everything was going very well, in this instance the local church encounters a problem.  The church’s response provides some key insights into the expected role of local churches.

Question:

What are key activities of the church exhibited in the passage that you believe should be evident in today’s local church?

Sharing your thoughts could be a big help to someone else.  Please submit your response to the question.

8 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 2 – Group Bible Study

  1. From the scripture for today’s study it is evident that in every church, there is a need for helpers or disciples to carry out tasks for the smooth running of the church. These helpers are what we could call the “ deacons” in the present time. They are filled with Holy Spirit, they have wisdom from the Lord and they are ordained to serve the Lord through the body of Christ.

    Activities of the church includes bible study, worship, praying, communion with God ( eating of the bread , usually done once a month), there is also meeting of all members and leaders once in a while to update the body of Christ (the church family) of all that is happening in the church— this is the chance of the leaders to explain many things like budget, missions, bible study groups and many other events in the past or present situations. Sometimes there is also a time when church needs to address issues or get all the opinions of church members by having election or survey.

    Leaders of church should set good examples and should not be biased in dealing with the members. They are to promote unity and share the Love of God, and devoted to the teaching and sharing of God’s word. It is a big responsibility to become a deacon at church, and of course they have strong convictions of faith in Jesus. The deacons support the pastor and all the members of the church. They are important pillars of the church.

    Lastly, a church should be growing and not stagnant. It’s not the number of attendees every Sunday that matters but to see members professing obedience through baptism or acceptance of Jesus as Lord and savior is evidently a church with strong foundation.

  2. It really strikes me how the early church worked in such synchrony. They devoted themselves to each other, which in turn elevated the spread of the gospel. The church then was a definition of an ‘organism’ vs. an ‘organization’, living and breathing.

  3. I appreciated the chronology of activities noted by Luke for the original audience and for posterity that mark the inauguration of the local church and growth of the church. On day 1 It was devotion to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. These seem to be primary and priority activities – core activities that facilitate and strengthen a solid base and familial framework (unity) out of which the fruit of the advancement of the gospel is borne. The second list in today’s passage involves resolving conflict in a peaceful and orderly by way of choosing leaders to take responsibility for a core ministry activity, noting the importance of maintaining the previous list of day 1, and once again the church flourished. This seems to me a snapshot of a healthy functioning church that we should be constantly and intentionally striving for. With this in mind, trying to do things out of order will hinder the growth and fruitfulness of the local body.

  4. Needs are going to arise in the church. It is important that tasks are delegated to the “right” persons so one person, or just a few people aren’t doing everything, which may take time away from the main goal: spreading the Word of God to as many people as possible.

  5. Recognizing that they couldn’t and should be in charge of everything stood out to me. They had areas they would prioritize-the ministry of the Word of God. Delegating the distribution of food for the widows could be the priority of another group to ensure they were living out the word was also important.

  6. Like some have said before organization, delegation of responsibilities, division of duties allowing focus and specialization; as well as a mechanism to ensure issues are heard and addressed appropriately. Key is that they pray on who to assign duties and bless these persons so that their work might be fruitful and pleasing to God.

  7. A day late here, but would still like to chime in. Love the “organism” vs “organization” perspective. And an aspect of this not really commented on yet is an important detail of how they addressed the issue that arose… This organism is living, familial, which means depending on relationships, between interdependent family members. As we all know, trust is essential in relationships. The apostles walked in and fostered this essential trust when they let those who were complaining “choose from among them” seven men who would handle these responsibilities. And then they not only blessed and commissioned these chosen seven, but blessed the choice of those who chose them, a powerful demonstration of trust, and an effective investment in the life of the family.

  8. The importance of separating administrations from Prayer and the ministering of the Word is essential for growth in the Local church. The criteria for leaders in administrations must be faith filled men and filled with Godly wisdom.

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