“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.”- Acts 6:4
The priorities of a godly pastor are to be prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. In Acts chapter six, the early church was faced with the challenge of a growing ministry which created multiple needs throughout the community of believers. The ministry to feed widows is without question a very important ministry and should not be taken lightly. However, the clear point of this section of Scripture is to communicate that the ministries of prayer and the word are not rightly neglected for even the most commendable causes.
Much is communicated today about the need for the church to be more missional and justice minded in her ministry. No doubt, this is true. While it is true that the church should be more aware of the needs of the people in and outside of the church, we cannot forget that the greatest need of every human heart is to be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fight to end every social woe cannot interfere with the ministry of prayer and the word. In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul describes a culture far more depraved and unjust than our contemporary culture and his remedy was the unashamed preaching of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). As he approached his final chapter of life and he pens his last words to his protégé Timothy, he is no doubt aware of the plethora of social reforms desperately needed throughout the church and the Roman empire. Yet his dying exhortation to Timothy is to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).
If the pastor of any church allows any cause to crowd out the ministries of prayer and the word, he has departed from his most essential and fundamental calling.