Acts 6:1-6 (NIV)
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 disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in 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 prayed and laid their hands on them.
What were these men selected to do?
The community of believers was having a hard time taking care of the needs of some of the widows. They decided they needed a few men to focus on this task. They would be servants, waiters, interacting relationally with a specific group of people.
Was it a role of authority or decision making for the rest of the body?
No, not really.
If we were to use this as a model for something in our gatherings, what types of roles could this be a model for?
- Selecting people to take food and love to people in need.
- Many churches have people who focus on this. In some communities they are called a deaconess. However I haven't seen the whole assembly gather to select/elect these people who are going to serve in this way.
If we want to make it fit as a model for other service, what about:
- prepare food for others
- clean dishes after a group meal
- set up and tear down chairs
- clean the building
- take care of nursery aged children
- Or maybe any role where some serve others on a regular basis.