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. – Acts 6:1
Right in the middle of God’s foundational and formational work, in the earliest stages of an amazing movement of God, while signs and wonders flourished, souls were converted, and healings abounded, when the early church seemed so powerful and unstoppable, there arose a complaint. The Jewish Christians that had adopted Greek culture and language felt that they were being “cancelled” by the Jewish Christians who had held onto their Hebrew roots.
In light of this historical record, why would any church leader be surprised when the same process is repeated today? If in the presence of the apostles and godly leaders like Philip and Stephen the church could lose focus, then should church leaders be surprised or confused when a local church finds itself in the same predicament in the 21st century? Even the smallest “slight” can now grow into a major “split” as the church struggles to find its footing under tectonic cultural shifts.
Conflict will eventually come to all churches. It is the nature of “family.” The question is, “how will we handle it when it comes?” The masterful, Spirit-led leadership of the apostles as seen in Acts 6 reminds us that God can get the victory, no matter the conflict, if we keep our eyes on Christ. Crises are normal, but they can be navigated, if we stand on the Word and keep our eyes on Jesus.
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life. – A.W. Tozer