Full of the Spirit and wisdom

Returning to our examination of qualities that make a good Administrator we shall now look at Acts 6:3. Here we see that the apostles specify that the candidates must be ‘full of the Spirit and wisdom’. In times of tension, which undoubtedly was the case with the particular dispute that gave rise to the need for these appointments, there is no room for what many would call human or natural reactions to dominate; these can rapidly become ungodly. It would be easy, out of frustration, for those charged with solving the problem to resort to heavy handedness and try to impose a solution.

Recently I have been involved in a sad situation in which a key leader, with significant administrative responsibility in a Christian organisation, abused his position by ‘lording it’ over the employees. The resulting unhappiness among the staff led to some leaving, much party spirit, gossip and a bad testimony to those in the world whom the organisation was seeking to serve. What was needed was grace, peace, calm and wisdom, all evidence of activity of the Holy Spirit. What happened was legalism, heavy-handedness, lack of sensitivity to individuals and so on.

Full of faith

In Acts 6:5 we find that seven men were identified who were full of the Spirit but one, Stephen, was also picked out as a man of faith. No doubt the others were also men of faith but Stephen was particuarly singled out and there is evidence of this in action in Acts 6:8.  But if we generalise, leaders should be able to approach the problem with both wisdom to bring resolution and with faith that they could recommend a particular solution knowing they had heard from God. What a contrast to the situation I was involved with above where seeking God for a way forward seemed to have become the last consideration among those concerned.

The Fruit of good appointments

As we have already seen, once the apostles had confirmed the appointment of the seven the Bible is silent about what followed; there is no record of any specific outcome to the dispute. We know only of the fruit, namely that the church started to grow rapidly. The implication is that, once the apostles were released to fulfil their calling – to preach the word and pray – God’s purposes could be outworked through them. So it is safe to assume that the seven were successful in their task.

Through this important passage we have seen that there are three distinct elements that should guide elders in the appointment of an Administrator (or, indeed, any person with an influencing ministry in the church). First, does he or she have character qualifications that demonstrate their maturity and commend them to the people who will be following their lead? Second, do they demonstrate spiritual wisdom in their decision making and the way in which they handle people? Third, have they demonstrated faith?

Once these foundation stones are in place it is then worth looking at the fourth qualification, the skill set a person carries – but only once the first three are in place! Taking these steps in the wrong order, or neglecting any of the first three, may prove to be a recipe for disaster.

You have been warned!

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