1 Chronicles 23:1-6 (Part 1) – God Loves Good Documentation!

Posted: May 20, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 23:1-6 (Part 1 of 2)

Duties of the Levites

In small churches, the temptation to leave things unwritten is great. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody is aware of who is doing what and why. It is tempting to not have written procedures because of familiarity and people doing the same volunteer or compensated jobs at the church for years and years. However, that all changes when a church has regular attendance that starts exceeding 200 each weekend. That’s the “200-barrier” often referred to in church growth seminars. Once you get across that barrier, things change. You have to involve more people in the operations of the church. There is more administration needed to keep up with everyone. It is at this point that a church either plateaus and begins to drift back to smaller numbers or they make the changes in administrative styles and people management that will allow them to grow beyond 200. Having written procedures is one big thing that helps growth. Written procedures ensure consistency and trainability. Written procedures, when first written down, make you examine why you do things a certain way and may reveal inefficient ways in favor of more efficient ways. Written procedures often help us avoid conflict of inconsistent application of church intent between one leader and another. Written procedures help us to be consistent about why we do the things the way we do them. Written procedures also help us not to have to reinvent the wheel when leadership begins to pass from one generation of the church to the next.

One example of where written procedures help a church is the crisis time in which we are operating now. Within a couple of weeks, we are looking to return to in-person, inside worship and routine meetings. Because of the still-present possibility of the virus reflaring into a bigger problem that it was originally, we will have to “do church” in a less familiar and more cautious way than before. We cannot, at least through the end of the summer, go back to the way things were being done prior to our church’s March 15, 2020 last day of “normal operations.” Because of our return to some semblance of normalcy, projected now for June 14th, will be different, the administrative council and I had to come up with a reopening plan. Because of it being so different from the pre-March 15th world we knew at our church, we had to put all these procedures down in writing. We had our meetings six weeks in advance of the return to in-person activities date. We wrote those procedures down. We are now in the process of educating ministry leaders and their teams concerning these procedures. All ministries will be affected. None more so than our usher team. So, getting these team leaders comfortable with these procedures is imperative. We will then begin the processing of educating the general population of our church through social media posts, print documents, and a phone blitz about “what church is going to look like when we start meeting in-person and inside!” Without written procedures as we contemplate a return to in-person inside worship and in-person, inside regular meetings, we would be exposing ourselves to liability, to confusion, and just a general sense that we don’t know what we are doing and we didn’t plan. Written procedures help us to project to our people that we care deeply about this situation, that we have put some serious thought into it, and that we are prepared. That promotes security, fellowship, and unity among our people instead of the discord that would be there if we did not have a written plan in place. Which do think is of God and which do you think is of Satan?

That idea that David was proactive and wrote down all this stuff about the running of the Temple gave everyone a sense of security and it promoted unity when there was no need to quibble over operational details. David was forward thinking too because it allowed the post-exilic Jews to be able to re-establish Temple protocols after several generations had passed. It reminds us that in the post-Coronavirus era of our church as we re-establish our temple that it would be easy to descend into anarchy if our leadership had not been proactive. Order is of God and disorder is Satan’s playground. With that in mind, let us read this passage, 1 Chronicles 23:1-6, now:

Chapter 23

1 When David was an old man, he appointed his son Solomon to be king over Israel. 2 David summoned all the leaders of Israel, together with the priests and Levites. 3 All the Levites who were thirty years old or older were counted, and the total came to 38,000. 4 Then David said, “From all the Levites, 24,000 will supervise the work at the Temple of the Lord. Another 6,000 will serve as officials and judges. 5 Another 4,000 will work as gatekeepers, and 4,000 will praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have made.” 6 Then David divided the Levites into divisions named after the clans descended from the three sons of Levi—Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

In this passage, we see that although David could not build the Temple, he could make preparations, and he took that job seriously. He not only gathered funds and materials for God’s house but also planned much of the administration and arranged the worship services. The original readers of Chronicles, who would have been in exile or returning from exile in Babylon and were rebuilding the Temple, would have found this information about the procedures and numbers of people required invaluable. They did not have to “reinvent the wheel” because of David’s spirit-inspired documentation of how the Temple was to be run. Without these written procedures, they could have spent an inordinate amount of time quibbling over operational details instead of immediately being able to get things set up in the most efficient way and to begin worshiping the Lord.

In our context today, we are reminded that we struck a blow at Satan when we started planning for our return to in-person worship and meetings. Satan hates a plan. Satan loves for there to be no plan. Satan loves for there to be disorder and everyone doing their own thing and nothing getting accomplished and the church being at a self-destructive spin down the drain. Instead, we have a plan. Our people will know that there was thought behind what we are planning to do. Our people will know that we try to consider every possible health concern. Our people will then find security in that. Our people can find unity in that. When we are all in accord, then, worshiping the Lord is so much easier. Thus, God loves when things are orderly because it helps us not be distracted by the minutia of details and it helps us concentrate on the real purpose of why we are a church – to give glory to God by proclaiming His name to our people and to the world outside.

Amen and Amen.

  1. Elena Bowling says:

    ‘Failure to plan is a plan to fail.‘ good stuff right here!


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