Service in Church History

The Christian ideal of service and leadership in church History is based on the life and the teaching of Christ. He is presented as the suffering servant and taught his followers how they had to serve others. When he was about to die, he instructed the apostles to continue with the service he had already started.

Services of the Apostles

Apostles were the people appointed by Christ to carry out the mission of spreading the good news. They include Mathew, Andrew, Mark, Simon, Peter (Rock), Judas Iscariot, Phillips, Jude Takeo, James, John, Bartholomew, Thomas and Simon the patriot. These men rendered the following services in their communities.

The apostles preached the gospel of Christ (Acts 8: 12 and 19:8). Christ prior to his ascension had instructed the apostles to make all men and women his followers before the parasail (the second coming of Jesus). This was the reason why the apostles had the duty of preaching the good news. [Matthew 28: 16-19]

The apostles carried out water baptism. This became a symbolical expression for one’s acceptance of Christ intended to cleanse one of his or her sins (Act 19:5 - 6).

The Apostles played the role of healing through performing miracles. This saved people from suffering and proved that God was present among them. (Act 5: 12 - 16).

The apostles wrote epistles (letters) to the various Christian communities. These included Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus and others. These letters encouraged the Christians in their faith and answered some questions that had puzzled them. Peter, John, James and Paul were among the apostles who wrote these epistles.

The apostles also laid hands on new converts and confirmed many Christians. This helped them to get many soldiers to defend the church (Acts 6: 5 - 6)

The apostles carried out charitable work. They distributed food relief to the needy such as the poor, widows and orphans (Acts 6: 1-4).

The apostles carried out missionary journeys to various Christian communities. St. Paul was among the apostles who traveled to distant places to meet other Christians. Paul went to places like Rome, Corinth and Ephesus

The apostles formulated prayers. For example the apostles creed of “I believe in God the almighty. They encouraged believers to constantly engage in saying this prayer. This strengthened the faith and trust of Christians in God.

The apostles formed churches in various Christian communities. This was as a result of the ever increasing number of converts. The apostles there after found it necessary to put up some structure where these converts would gather and pray.

The apostles played the role of training leaders to become agents in the spread of Christianity. St. Paul for example trained Timothy and Titus to help in going to other distant places (Acts 16: 1-5).

The apostles set up catechetical centers in places such as Antioch (Acts 16: 1-5). These centers became an avenue through which Christians could share their experiences even when the apostles were not physically present.

The apostles carried and encouraged fellowship among the Christian believers. The believers came to the temple and shared their Christian experiences. This gave them more courage and strengthened their faith (Acts 2:42 - 47).

The apostles conducted fund raising for the work of the church. 'This was carried out during ceremonies. This contributed towards the rapid growth of the church.

The apostles shared Holy Communion with other believers. This was done in memory of the Lord's Supper.

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