Skip to content

The major tasks of a church

September 14, 2014

diaconos

“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 disciplestogether and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of Godin 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 prayedand 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

 

This is a text that tells us about the organization of the early Christian community. As the church grew, various activities were taking place that were different from the new believers’ past life. The Christian community appreciated the word of Jesus Christ. They met once a week, where they shared not only the word of God and prayer, but also the bread and wine, and they had community meals. During the week, however, they needed to live and carry on their work and activities.

One of the requirements was to assist the weak and dispossessed. These widows, mentioned in the reading, who were there at that time, were women without a husband who no one took care of unless their own children did it. They had no government support, no retirement, no survivor’s pension, no nursing home or medical care and no medicine or vitamins. They did not even have a warm comfortable home in winter or a cool one in summer. Christians that had committed to the good news of Jesus Christ entrusted that they have to love the neighbor through concrete acts of love.

But apparently the material aid was not well organized as the community continued to grow. The preachers could no longer give enough help and friction grew between them for reasons that were only organizational.

 

 

As a result, there arises what is known as the first clear demarcation in the church history between proclamation and service (diaconia) activities.

The disciples were commissioned to preach the word of Jesus Christ. They could not dedicate themselves to stewardship and service activities.

So they made ​​it clear that their mission was to preach the word of God, which included prayer, healing, the rebuking of evil spirits, etc. Specifically it was the mission Jesus had given them when he left. Surely there were also other people who had the gift of preaching. But they were missing people to be in charge of the services provided to the needy and for that, surely, there were people with the required gifts.

 

It is important in a Christian congregation to be clear what activities God commands us to undertake. As we have already seen in various Bible studies here in the church, we can say that there are basically 5 vital tasks that every church should undertake and maintain if we truly want to follow the mission that Jesus entrusted to us.

 

The first major task is:

The worship of God, that every Christian does, especially during the service on Sundays. It is one of the most important tasks for the church. The five are the most important; it does not matter the order, but none of them should be neglected or forgotten, and also worship. The worship of God is a very important activity for Christians. We do it in the church, a place where we dedicated to meet on Sunday, the first day of the week, where we remember that Jesus rose. In this way we love God through worship. Worship is just that: ‘coming to church with a grateful heart.’ Here we can obey God when we are told in the greatest commandment: “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We use our time as a gift to God and in this way we show our devotion.

 

The second major task is our commitment to the church. We want to participate and be active members of a congregation. It is important that every Christian decides to actively belong to a visible church. This includes helping to support the church materially with our gifts and talents and with our time and dedication. That is what baptism means, we are called not only to believe in God but also to belong to the Church of Christ.

 

The third major task is teaching: The congregation must be taught to understand and interpret the word of God through the Bible. For this, every congregation has Bible studies in the church or even in homes, Sunday school classes for children, confirmation for the young, the Alpha course, bible studies for women and youth meetings, etc. Training is provided for lay people who have different kinds of gifts that they want to put to use in service of the church.

 

The fourth major task is service to others. In the church we call it diakonia or Christian stewardship or service in general. The second part of the greatest commandment tells us: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and we want to show it through this activity. We want to help our neighbor through concrete and material help: By helping the needy, the hungry, the poor or any one of those who needs our practical support through either money or work, or time or any effort which would help alleviate their needs. The church must take a specific task in this regard. We can do this by helping Food Banks, helping with money for the local mission or abroad, and we can also be creative in whatever else we as a church can offer to help those in need in our city. It must always be clear in our minds that what we do, we do in the name of Jesus Christ; it is not just social work.

 

The fifth major task is evangelism. Evangelism is the concrete announcement so that other people may have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ’s message of salvation and it happens specifically through preaching, sermons, devotional materials, etc, –preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ–. Evangelism occurs in our services and may also include written preaching, TV, radio, newspaper and the internet. Pastors and preachers are specially commissioned for this. It is a task that should not be neglected, especially by those who are called to be preachers and pastors. But every Christian can also do it through his or her life’s testimony, just with simple every day words and actions. We must preach the gospel out of the four walls of the church. You have to invite others who do not know the Gospel of Christ, do not belong to any church, or if they know about Jesus, those who may not have accepted him yet.

We must invite with love and conviction and by our own example to approach God. We have to do everything possible so that others also hear the message of invitation given by Jesus Christ. That way God will bless us with growth.

 

This is what happened in today’s story. Surely any of the apostles were able to undertake a good service task. But that was not their mission. They had not been entrusted to do it. The same thing can happen in churches today when pastors start to perform other tasks that may very well be noble and praiseworthy and started with a big heart, but should not be undertaken by them. Other people must assume this responsibility.

None of these listed activities is of greatest importance. Perhaps we can think of it as a circle without beginning or end. Evangelism can come first and worship last; it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that these tasks are performed by every Christian in his or her daily personal life and, especially, by the church as an organization.

The church that does not clearly perform these five tasks cannot grow and receive the great blessing that God has prepared for it. When each of these tasks is exercised, if only humbly, but with conscious awareness, Jesus begins to bless the church for its commitment and obedience to his word. It is impossible for a church whose agenda is ruled by these tasks not to grow. Quite the contrary, we will be amazed at the miracles that God could manifest for the church when we prioritize the most important tasks that every church should undertake and approach them with love, faith and hope.

 

And as such the Church of the first Christians began to spread out and grow exponentially. They were clear about the priority of things in the community of believers. The apostles did not neglect preaching; the new members in the text were named deacons or just servers and were dedicated to the service and visitation of the sick and widows. And so over time they also delegated other activities and made other persons responsible for each of these vital activities in the life of the church.

 

Let us recall that the church has to: evangelize, preach out, and invite others to come to church. We who are part of the church and are active members have a power to call others that we cannot even imagine, because we have God’s favor. Let us not be ashamed of the church and God will not be ashamed of us. “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26.

We do not want to be ashamed of God.

 

Let us be active members of the church. Let us keep the teaching and learning alive and active in the church. Let us keep worship alive and active in church. Every Sunday, let us try to have our worship be a living and active praise with hymns that we can sing and with words that we can understand and with prayers that have real meaning.

And let us keep up with the concrete task for helping the poor and the needy in our area and anyone in need on a regular and organized basis.

 

Those are the five tasks we don’t want to neglect and that if we commit to undertake and keep them up, not only will we keep obeying God as a church, but we will receive God’s anointing that will manifest abundantly in this house and for each of its members.

 

May God grant us His peace and give us the courage to undertake the tasks that are most important for us so that we may enjoy His many promises. Amen.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: