The Ministry of A Deacon
In just a few weeks, our church family will be nominating and electing deacons for the upcoming church year. Our deacons serve a three year term and must sit out one year prior to being eligible to be nominated again. As a pastor, I have been blessed to serve with some amazing deacons who desire to serve the Lord and the church family. Therefore, the church must understand what is required of a deacon. Here are a few thoughts on what it means to be a biblical deacon.
1.) A deacon is a servant - By definition, a deacon means being a servant. If you do not have a desire and are not currently serving the Lord and the church family, then you should not desire the office of a deacon. A deacon is not part of a board, they are not voted by popularity, and it not just a title. A deacon is one who serves and serves well. As deacon is nominated and elected by the church family. As a pastor, it's a wonderful feeling knowing that your deacons are servants of the Lord. (See Acts 6:1-8)
2.) A deacon is faithful in church attendance - This one may cause some disagreement among some church members, but hear me out. How can a deacon serve if he is not present? 1 Tim. 3:10 says, "and let these also first be proven; then let them use the office of deacon, being found blameless." Unless providentially hindered, a deacon must be faithful in all services, not just Sunday morning.
3.) A deacon is to be above reproach - A deacon is one who is truthful, consistent, and has a good reputation inside and outside of the church. The lifestyle of a deacon must draw people to Christ instead of drawing people away from Christ. While no one is perfect, a deacon is one who is striving to please the Lord in every area of his life. (See 1 Tim. 3:8)
4.) A deacon is supportive of the pastor - A pastor carries a heavy burden knowing that he is the spiritual leader of the church. A deacon is one who will pray for, encourage, and support the pastor. Over the years of ministry, I have sat in many deacon's meetings. While most of the meetings have been positive and uplifting, there have been some tough meetings as well. We have had meetings dealing with difficult issues in the church. We have dealt with issues in our community. It's during these meetings that I have seen the Lord work in marvelous ways. What a blessing, knowing that your deacons have your back and support you in the ministry.
5.). A deacon must follow the process of the church - The process of FBC is a lengthy one, but one that I fully support. First, a deacon election committee will provide a list to the church family of eligible men. Second, the church family will receive the list and be able to nominate men to serve. Third, the church family will elect, by vote, men who have been nominated to serve as a deacon. The most important part of the entire process is Prayer. It is very easy for pride to slip into the process. Just because a man desires to be a deacon doesn't mean he will be a deacon. The church nominates and elects deacons and we must trust the process. We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and he can and will work through the whole deacon process if we remain surrendered to Him.
There are several other characteristics that I could add to this list, but these are the ones that I look for the most. Over the last few years at FBC, we have set the bar high in our deacon ministy. Because of that, we have a serving body of deacons who love the Lord and FBC. The Lord has blessed and I believe will continue to bless our deacon ministry as long as we strive to please Him in all we do. So let's begin to pray now for the six men who will serve as deacons for the upcoming year.