Seven Chosen to Serve
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (ESV)
- Pastors need to be focused on the right priorities.
Today, it seems as if there are always a million different things vying for the attention of pastors. In reality, not much has changed. People need the Word, and people also need practical help with necessities like food and shelter. Both matter. However, God has appointed different roles within the Church to see that both needs are adequately met. Pastors are to focus on teaching the Word, leading, and prayer while deacons focus on the numerous other needs of the body (1 Timothy 5:17).
- Deacons are essential to the health of the Church.
The word deacon simply means server. In a sense, all Christians are to lovingly serve one another and their neighbors. However, deacons do this in an official capacity, caring for and meeting many practical needs in the Church body. In fact, in this text, it is through the deacons and their service to the Church, that the unity of the Church is protected and nourished. Deacons play a vital role in the health of any local church.
- Unity is not uniformity.
Elders are not deacons, and deacons are not elders. Each office performs a unique and vitally important role within the body of Christ. No church can be healthy without both elders and deacons. This principle of unity in Christ and diversity in gifting and role is true for the entire Church body. Each member has a gift to give and a role to play. It is only when we embrace God’s unique calling for our lives that the Church is able to be all that God has called it to be.
- What are some common expectations that people have of pastors? How are these expectations similar or different from their biblical roles?
- How is a deacon different from a pastor or elder? How/why is this difference an important blessing?
- Not everyone is called to formal leadership within the Church, but everyone has a role to play and a gift to give. How has God uniquely created you to be a blessing to your Church family?
Call to Worship
Bless the LORD, O My Soul
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, and the good we have left undone. Lord, you are full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; there is always forgiveness with you! Restore to us the joy of your salvation; bind up that which is broken, give light to our minds, strength to our wills, and rest to our souls. Speak to each of us, and let your word abide with us until it has wrought in us your holy will. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.