This is a great model for healthy church and the one (ideally) a community of Christ’s people may follow.

The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose— Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.Then they presented them to the apostles. Praying, the apostles laid on hands and commissioned them for their task. Acts 6:4-6 (The Message)

The suggestion of the church leaders was subject to the agreement of the congregation. What was the suggestion? That there be seven of the congregation that would be chosen to serve their needs. This meant that the pastoral care of the church was given to active members. The leaders could then give their fullest attentions to making sure the gospel was preached and the congregation were discipled. It is not a common model today. Many churches, whether free, CoE, Catholic, or Orthodox, depend on the services of one or two leaders to do the pastoral care, preaching, and discipling. Some churches work like passive dictatorships with a few people making all the decisions. Neither of these are the way of the early church.

The apostle said it would be a good idea and the congregation agreed, they acted on the suggestion and appointed seven who they recognized as having the necessary gifts and abilities. The apostles accepted the choice of the congregation and prayerfully commissioned the seven for service. The psalmist wrote: ‘How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.  It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. 
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.’ How rarely we see such ‘best practice’ and such unity in Christ’s body today!

May we be the people in unity that God intends that we should be and may those who lead do so recognizing that the body of Christ need to play an active part in their life together in him. Amen.

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