There's nothing quite like the dynamism of watching a church thrive. When new people are streaming into worship experiences, friends are hugging and back slapping, and the singing sounds like we're about to lift off – there's nothing like a thriving church. But every blessing is met with a challenge and churches are not immune – they may be at the bullseye of the target.
Today's thriving churches face a challenge much like the early church. With every spurt of growth in any church, needs arise that exceed the capacity of the current leadership. Leadership is faced with the question of how to address the need without leaving their post.
In Acts 6:1-6 we find a powerfully relevant example of a church in growing pains. A group of people (Hellenistic Jewish widows) was being overlooked and missing out on essential needs by no fault of the leadership as much as the consequence of rapid growth. The apostles did something amazing. Instead of leaving their post of prayer and the word or setting up a fancy structure for which people could apply and be trained for leadership, they put the ball back into the laps of those who saw the need. They instructed the concerned folks to select godly men that met basic criteria and they would then commission these qualified leaders. What happens next is simply awesome, "the word increased..disciples multiplied...and many priests came to faith". (Acts 6:7)
The church thrived when it stayed organic! He's some observations I have from Acts 6 and life as a pastor and leader:
- Some structure is needed but too much structure stifles growth and flexibility.
- When leadership creates programs we often box people in and box others out.
- Empowering people to create gives a deeper sense of ownership.
- Organic creativity puts responsibility in the hands of the people who know the need.
- When we give authority to people we also embed them with a sense of holy responsibility.
I've learned that God trusts his kids sometimes more than we trust each other. When leadership is willing to resist too much structure but bring order to organic – churches thrive!
Join us this Sunday 10 am @ 180 Chicago Church. Click here for details