The Apostles – Priorities
by Randy Cole - API President
Priorities are often mismanaged because they are not appreciated.
The leadership trait in the Scriptures:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”(Ephesians 5:15-16)
First, let’s examine the dangers of prioritization. Let’s ensure that we know what it is not before discovering what it is.
1.Prioritization is not an excuse for disobedience or neglect. For example, someone might say (like the apostles in Acts 6) that their calling is to preach/teach the Word. And because this is their calling, they say might say that a “food program” is “not my thing” and place that task or program on the back burner, never to be seen or heard from again.
2.Prioritization is not a pathway for saying “no”. God-appointed opportunities are placed in our pathway every day. We must be able to recognize them and obey accordingly. We can’t just say “that’s not on my priority list” and dismiss the opportunity. We must be able to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:16).
3.Setting priorities is not my job. Every day, I must sacrifice my will and seek His Will for my life. My daily prayer should be “Lord, please order my day”. (Psalm 119:133)
4.Prioritization is not an excuse to eliminate an unpleasant task. I can’t just say “that’s not on my priority list” and refuse to do something that I don’t want to do.
Let’s examine Acts 6:1-7 as a foundational text for this subject. What does this passage teach us?
1.The definition of Priority is Time. Verse 2: “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God.” Verse 4: “Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (NLT) You might state and/or verbalize your priorities, but the test will be how you spend your time. By definition, that becomes your individual priority.
2.As a leader, you must know your individual priorities. The apostles knew that their priorities were prayer and teaching the Word.
3.When priorities are mismanaged, there are “rumblings of discontent”. Have you ever seen this in our churches today?
4.Rapid growth can be one of the causes of mismanaging priorities.
5.Priority does not equal importance.
6.Sharing and delegating the work and creating an environment where every member of the body is empowered to use their talents and gifts to perform their God-given functions – this is the ultimate solution.
7.Kingdom growth will happen if we correctly manage priorities (Acts 6:7).
The Process of Managing Priorities (Acts 6:1-7)
Managing Priorities is a pathway for growing and empowering new leaders. What else do we know about “the seven”?
oThey were leaders.
oThey were full of the Spirit.
oThey were well respected.
oThey were obedient followers of Christ (full of wisdom).
Questions for Reflection . . .
oAm I sharing and delegating the work?
oAm I fostering an environment where every member of the body can perform his/her God-given function?
oHow can I manage priorities as a pathway to develop new leaders?