The Antioch Church Council


It's that time of the year again when every space in my diary is taken up by church councils, meetings, and conferences and I wonder what would have happened, if the church in Antioch, that we read about in Acts 11: 19-30, worked the same way as our churches today...



Chair: OK... OK... Order... I’d like to welcome you all to the Antioch Church Council meeting. And lets just open with a word of prayer: Lord Thank you that we’re all here... We pray for those who aren’t and we pray that you’d keep our minds on the job in hand... Amen. Right... Lets get down to business...
Alexander: About time too... there’s a gladiatorial show down at the Amphitheatre... I want to see the second half...
Chair: OK Alexander... Now I would invite our secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting... Secretary: Meeting of the Antioch Church Council, on the ides of March 35 AD. Those present: Alexander, Anna, Simon, Thomas, Barnabas, Agabus...
Chair: I think we can accept the names as read can’t we...
Alexander: Agreed.
Chair: Please continue...
Secretary: After the chairman opened with a word of prayer the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The first item of business was a request to spend money on a new carpet in the meeting room. Simon proposed that it should be a good dark red, but Anna said that that would clash with the curtains. At this point Simon proposed that we get new curtains as well, but Thomas said that we didn’t have enough to make that amount of capital expenditure, what with falling attendance due to persecutions... Anna asked where all those people who were becoming Christians through Saul’s preaching were going. Barnabas said that many of them had gone to another church down the road in Caesarea... Simon said that he had heard that that church was lovely and modern and there were thousands flocking to it from all over the region... he said that they had matching carpet and curtains. But some members suggested that they were sheep stealing, and these converts would be better going to their local churches, like this one. But Barnabas said that some of the converts had come here but that they had told him they didn’t feel welcome... Simon said he couldn’t understand that. That they always had a reputation for accepting anyone... even gentiles. Marcus asked why he said “Even” gentiles... To which Simon said that he was just saying that they even welcomed those who weren’t part of the chosen people. Marcus then said that he was fed up feeling like a second class citizen in the church. Anna said that was nonsense. That the gentiles always had things their way since they merged the gentile and Jewish churches. Simon said he still didn’t know why they had to merge. He disagreed with all this church unity stuff. Marcus said that the only one’s who treated them like real followers of Christ were Barnabas and Saul... Simon said he never did trust Saul. That he was a turncoat and asked where Saul was, and Barnabas said he was out preaching. There followed some discussion about people missing Church Council meetings... Barnabas said that Saul felt it was more important to tell people about Jesus. The chair reminded the meeting that they were here to do Jesus’ work, and called the meeting back to the issue in hand... the colour of the new carpet. Thomas said he didn’t think we even needed a new carpet, and that the money would be better invested in a new organ. When it was pointed out that the organ hadn’t been invented yet he quietened down. There was more discussion as to whether we could afford to change carpet and curtains, or whether we should match the carpet to the curtains, or have no carpet at all and polish the wooden floor... Then Agabus, stood up and said that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. The chairman asked him to be seated, as he seemed to be drunk, and said that his concern about famine relief, would come up under Any other Business. There then followed a long discussion as to what we could do about world hunger, when we couldn’t even afford to buy both carpet and curtains. Because the discussion went on son long, the chairman proposed adjourning the meeting until next week. This was seconded by Alexander who said he had a chariot race to get to.
Chair: Is that an accurate record of last week’s meeting.
Alexander: Agreed. Now get on with it...
Chair: And on to the main item of business. The decision as to whether we are going to buy a new carpet for the meeting room...
Agabus: But what about that famine...
Chair: Sit down Agabus...


© David A. Campton 2001 (Adapted 2007)










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