Early in the history of the church, as seen in Acts 6 in today's readings, the role of teachers and preachers in the church is given as distinct from others who have ministry roles.
Luke, the writer of Acts, tells us about a gathering of 'the twelve' and a larger number of disciples, to decide who would assist in distributing charity to widows in need, Acts 6:1-2. But at v4 the apostles say "We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
Many church ministers are cast in multiple roles as community organizers, social workers, planners and the like. Their real role is thereby neglected, which is to be devoted to prayer and the ministry of the word. Inasmuch as other aspects of 'church life' require pastoral engagement, all is good. But ministers should feel free to say to their churches, "I will devote myself to prayer and the ministry of the word."
The 'ministry of the word' is also called, more simply, preaching the word of God (v2). That is what ministers should have as a priority. That is what churches should recognize and free their ministers to do.
As John Piper points out in a sermon on this text, the effect of not abandoning the ministry of the word is then seen at v7, where we read "And the word of God continued to increase." Devotion to the ministry of the word will have its fruit.
Giving up preaching the word (v2), in a great understatement, was not deemed to have been a good call Indeed.
Churches, free your ministers to be devoted to prayer and the ministry of the word!
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
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Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church