After Pentecost the church in Jerusalem quickly grew into a mega church with at least 5,000 men (Acts 4:4) plus thousands of women and children. The Apostles were daily distributing food to widows, but some people began to complain because they didn’t think it was being done fairly.
So the Apostles called the whole church together and asked the people to choose seven men “who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” so they could turn the daily food distribution over to them. The church folks were happy with this idea, so they picked seven guys and the Apostles laid their hands on the seven and prayed for them.
But guess what? Instead of just running the food distribution according to the plan, one of the seven, Stephen, began to do miracles and to preach on the streets. He preached so strongly that a lot of non-Christians got mad and stoned him to death.
A Jewish leader named Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul, actually held the coats of the people who wanted to throw big rocks at Stephen. That very day a “great persecution” broke out against the believers in Jerusalem and it demolished the church there. The Bible tells us that all of the Christians except for the Apostles (which literally means “sent ones”) were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
The Apostles tried to set up an administrative system, but the men who they appointed to “wait tables” instead did great things. Stephen did miracles. Philip went to Samaria, cast out demons, healed people, and brought a mighty move of God to that city.
The Apostles’ plan didn’t work. Instead of leading a mega church in Jerusalem while they gave their attention “to prayer and the ministry of the word,” now the Apostles (the “sent ones”) were sitting in Jerusalem and wondering what happened to the church.
Jesus had told the Apostles to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” However, now, thousands of believers were running all around Judea and Samaria talking about Jesus and praying with people, except for the Apostles (God’s “sent ones”). I wonder why God chose to tell this story in the Bible. (Acts 6:1 – Acts 8:1)