For many in the early church (and this is still often the case in some places around the world), joining the family of God meant saying goodbye to their blood relations. In the first century there was no welfare state and the job of caring for the vulnerable fell to the family.

A woman who had lost her husband was in dire need of support and Christian widows were reliant on the church for food. As the group got bigger, the logistics involved in providing for the widows became more complex (Acts 6:1).

Church life today remains organisationally complicated. There are endless tasks to be undertaken, from preaching, leading worship, running kids’ groups and serving tea and coffee, to visiting people in hospital, cooking and delivering meals, and organising soup kitchens, charity collections and outreach events. Some tasks are more glamourous than others but all are of value. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about the vast array of spiritual gifts God gives: ‘All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines’ (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Perhaps you are one of those people who tries to run the whole show yourself. The apostles had laser focus on their priorities; they needed to focus on teaching the Bible and praying (Acts 6:4).

There is great wisdom in streamlining your church commitments: not only does it mean you can focus on doing what you do as well as you can, but it also gives everyone else a chance to shine.

Maybe your tendency is to hold back, undervaluing what you have to offer or feeling it isn’t your job to keep the church running. Either way, we have to recognise that a church is only as good as the sum of its parts. The whole body suffers if one part opts out: ‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it’ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

40acts is a chance to use your gifts for the benefit of others in profoundly practical ways. We hope you will be encouraged to see that anything you have to offer can be used for the glory of God.