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 6:7
Up to this point we have seen the church grow, and grow quickly, as a result of miracles, preaching, and the organic life of the church. We see exponential growth again in this passage- but what precedes it? The church dealing with logistical and leadership issues because of inequality in distributing food. It doesn’t seem like those nitty-gritty issues of church life would spark revival and church growth, but we’re told that “the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (6:7). And the growth of the church seems to be directly tied to how the church handles conflict earlier in the chapter.
The way that the church handles conflict and cares for one another- especially the most vulnerable among them- matters just as much for the growth of the church and the spread of the gospel as the miracles and preaching. If we are followers of Jesus, we need to remember that how we live in community and how we love one another matters as much for our witness as our words do. After all, Jesus says “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
So how do we love one another as the church? In Acts 6 we see concern for the material needs of those around us, especially the vulnerable. Maybe for you that will look like serving in the South Food Bank or bringing a meal to someone you know has a lot on their plate right now. Perhaps it looks like giving your time or talents to serve those who have a need in an area you are skilled in (if this is you, we would love to hear from you at [email protected]). It can look like an encouraging word or a word of prayer. It can look like repentance and apology when you have done wrong- intentionally or unintentionally. Or perhaps you need to receive love and care from your church community today. If there is a way we can pray for you, talk with you, or a way we can assist you with a material need, please let us know. Let the ways we love one another as South Fellowship- both giving care and receiving it- bear witness to the world around us that Jesus Christ is worth following.
By Jessica Rust