The story in Acts 6:1-7 is not only a captivating description of a great move of God in the early Church, but serves as a powerful reminder and prescription of how the Church today is to function. We can clearly see in these verses the priorities of our pastoral leaders to be committed to prayer and word powered ministry, and of the potential each church member has to contribute to a powerful work of Christ in their community and beyond. You may remember the breakdown in the distribution of food to the widows in Acts 6. The apostles received guidance from the Holy Spirit that the congregation would select seven men to handle this important situation in order to keep their focus on “prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Acts 6:3 says, “Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.” Many commentators believe this was the beginning of a deacon-type ministry, yet the operative word in this context is “disciple.” So we could also point to this passage to see an example of what a mature and growing follower of Jesus looks like. However you label it, God used these seven in profound ways.
Acts 6:3 challenges and inspires us to be the kind of disciples who walk with God in such a way that we are positioned to be greatly used by Him. We can see that these disciples in Acts 6:3 were a vital part of the root system God was building to produce supernatural fruit for the Kingdom of God.
In summary, an Acts 6:3 disciple focuses on the following six commitments:
A Heartfelt Commitment to Exemplary Living – The first description of these seven was that they were “of good reputation.” Something obvious caused these specific men to stand out among the thousands of believers in the early church at this time. Maybe they had a reputation for honesty, hard work, loving others, caring for their family, or sharing Christ with the lost. In any case, their testimony was vital and healthy at this moment in the life of the church.
A Humble Submission to the Holy Spirit – These seven were also “full of the Holy Spirit.” Their character was marked by a submission to the Holy Spirit. Their personal ministry surely reflected the power of the Holy Spirit. Their elevation to a greater realm of service surely brought a great advancement of spirituality in the church. Men like Stephen and Phillip appeared on this list. Acts tells us their stories of powerful preaching, evangelism, and even martyrdom. Yet, all seven men were notably Spirit-filled.
A Hunger for Godly Wisdom – These servants also exemplified lives full of “wisdom.” Wisdom is truth applied to life. Their proven biblical insight, judicious decision-making, and prudent choices brought vitality and well-being to the situation.
A Healthy View of Their Spiritual Potential – Too often, Christians today view themselves as mere “laymen.” I often joke that I did not call the people in our church “lay-men” because they would take it as a command and just lay around. The New Testament word for every believer is “saint,” which means a holy one. We are all set apart to God for official, kingdom-oriented service. These seven surely understood this calling.
A Helpful Participation in Ministry – These seven were eager to take the administrative and operational burden off the apostles. Consider this vital question, “What can I take charge of in our church to free my pastor(s) to focus on ‘prayer and the ministry of the word’?” I believe this kind of movement of extraordinary leadership and service would transform the church and empower our pastors like never before.
A Holy Expectation of Supernatural Results – The results of this arrangement in Acts 6 spawned a powerful spiritual advancement. I believe it is the greatest “revival” moment of the New Testament. Read this carefully: “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (v. 7). Imagine this great advancement of the Gospel. Consider the exponential multiplication of true believers. Think of the amazement of those who had previously persecuted the church and even conspired to the crucifixion of Christ, now being converted in droves. Isn’t this the work for which we long and pray?
Finding Your Place as an Acts 6:3 Disciple
We believe that it is imperative that we continue to call and connect pastors to the priorities of “prayer and the ministry of the word.” We also believe these times demand that disciples – of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit, and marked by godly wisdom – rise up and free our pastors from their many distractions by taking on serious responsibilities to advance the ministry of Christ. Will you stand and be counted today? If so, you might just play a vital role in the revival our churches need and the awakening that can transform our society.
So where do you start? We suggest that you start on the Discipleship by Design pathway by clicking HERE.
Copyright © 2022 Daniel Henderson and Justin Jeppesen. All rights reserved.