(If you landed on this post without seeing the others in this series, let me explain what is going on here. Thursdays is my day to talk about God’s way for our congregations. Right now I’m in the middle of a series on the Jerusalem church and it’s success. This is the sixth post in the series. I encourage you to check out the introduction to this series to know more about what is going on and to find an index of the posts in this series as they are put up. Enjoy.)
Not More Hired Hands to Work, But Every Hand Working
As we talk about what worked at the Jerusalem church and other churches in the New Testament, I can’t help but notice that they all had multiple full-time workers. Jerusalem had 12 apostles acting as evangelists. Antioch had 5 (Acts 13:1). Paul always had multiple workers with him on his journeys. Many folks today start thinking a church is going liberal if they have more than one full-time preacher working with the church. Some are getting used to two workers. After all, most congregations have two sermon times each Sunday, but 5 or 12? Please, there must be something wrong with that. Except that is exactly what we see in the Bible.
Having noticed that, we may begin to think the Jerusalem vision is about having multiple full-time workers. We may mistakenly think that the vision is to hire workers and let everyone else simply contribute money to support the workers. That is not the Jerusalem vision. The Jerusalem vision is not getting enough hired hands to do the work, but to get every hand working.
In Acts 2:44-47, it wasn’t the 12 full-time workers who were doing all the ministering. It was everyone who had ability. In Acts 6, it wasn’t the 12 full-time workers who did everything. They searched through the congregation to find folks to fill other roles. In Acts 8:4, it wasn’t the full-time workers who did the teaching, everyone went out teaching as they were scattered.
No doubt, full-time workers have their place. But their place is not to do all the work. We all have work to do. In fact, Ephesians 4:11-12 explains the place of full-time workers. Their job is not to do all the work. Their job is to equip everyone else to do the work of ministry.
As we learn about workers in Jerusalem, don’t lose sight of this overarching principle. The Jerusalem vision is not about hiring enough hands to do the work, but about getting every hand working.