THE FIRST SERVANTS
The ministry of Servant had its start early on in the Believers' Kingdom life. Like Kingdom Elders, it did not exist before the Day of Pentecost.
The situation at that time was that:
"... great grace was upon them all.
Nor was there anyone among them who lacked;
for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them,
and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
and laid them at the apostles’ feet;
and they distributed to each as anyone had need,"
The Servant ministry came into existence because of a particular issue. The situation was that, not only were the Apostles fully occupied already but were being pushed to their limits.
They were ministering to those who were being saved and at the same time they were being confronted and sometimes imprisoned by the Jews.
The issue that brought everything to a head came about ...
“... when the number of the disciples was multiplying there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution," Acts 6’1.
Every ministry is basically a spiritual ministry and the Apostles required prospective Servants to be spiritual. These men would serve in administrative and organisational areas and meet practical needs.
"Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.
Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;
but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word," Acts 6’2-4.
The Apostles set the example and gave the requirements which “… pleased the whole multitude” and ...
"They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch (v5).
Thus God's ordained partnership of Elders' spiritual shepherding-overseeing ministry and the Servants' spiritual practical/natural ministry begun.