Focus Scripture: Acts 6:1-4
There was a dispute in the early church, some of the widows were not being well cared for. One of the things that made the early church so special, as we saw just two chapters ago, was that there were no needy among them. (Acts 4:34) What that means, among other things, is that the widows who did not otherwise have support were cared for. But now it seems that some are receiving better care than others and so complaints are being raised to the apostles.
But the apostles cannot do it all. They cannot preach the word and share the word and give time to prayer AND look after the physical/financial needs of the people. The needs of the ministry have to be shared so the apostles can focus on their calling--to preach the word.
That's true in today's church as well. Today's churches do many different things. They collect money and goods for missions. They visit with the sick and homebound. They provide programs and education for children and youth. Churches provide Bible studies and small groups to help people grow in their discipleship. And they provide worship, which includes the planning and conducting worship, celebration of the sacraments, as well as the research and preparation of sermons, careful selection and preparation of music and the skillful and/or careful combination of music, word, visual and spatial arts to create what is a (hopefully) powerful and meaningful worship experience where people are touched by the presence of God. There are many who are content to leave all of these activities in the hands of the "professionals," that is, the pastor. But the reality is that today's pastor can no more cover all the needs and activities of the church than the apostles could.
It is important that many of the caring ministries of the church, like caring for the widows in the time of the book of Acts, be done by the members of the church. In this way, the church can be its most effective, touch the most lives, and involve the most people in the ministry of the church.