No One Should do Everything – Including the Pastor
Acts 6:1-7 is a helpful look at the young and rapidly growing early church in Jerusalem. It is not surprising to find out that some of the same problems and distractions that plague churches today also threatened the Acts church. Looks like we haven’t learned a whole lot over the last 2,000 years.
In Acts 6:1-7, there is a complaint or grumbling (Phil. 2:14) about a problem in the Jerusalem Church. The apostles hear of it and address it by involving the people who are a part of the problem. But in verses 2 and 4 Luke makes clear that one of the biggest problems that apostles want to avoid by addressing the complaint is to keep from neglecting the word of God as those who are specifically called to be teaching and preaching witnesses. In his commentary on Acts, John Stott comments:
True, pastors are not apostles, for the apostles were given authority to formulate and teach the gospel, while pastors are responsible to expound the message which the apostles have bequeathed to us in the New Testament. Nevertheless, is a real ministry of the word to which pastors are called to dedicate their life. The apostles were not too busy for ministry, but preoccupied with the wrong ministry. So are many 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 the pastor’s fault (he wants to keep all the reins in his own hands), and sometimes the people’s (they want him to be general factotum). In either case the consequences are disastrous. The standards of preaching and teaching decline. And the lay people do not exercise their God-given roles, since the pastor does everything himself. God calls different men and women to different ministries.
May God give us Spirit-led wisdom so as not to be distracted from His word. But may God also help every member of the church, including the pastor, do what they are supposed to be doing so that churches will stay on mission. No one needs to be doing everything.