5 Things We Believe About Deacons
Our second sermon from We Believe In Organized Religion focused on the role of deacons in the life of Christians. Why and when does a church need deacons? What do deacons do? What difference do deacons make in the everyday world of local church ministry?
Deacons are a part of God's plan to advance his word through us. They ensure our testimony as a church equals the testimony of the Scriptures...that our walk and talk match up. As Pastor Eric said, "We need to repent of our preoccupation with growth management practices and go back to the Bible. When the church grows and her ministries get stretched, God's says elect deacons, not adopt better business practices." Go here to listen to the sermon.
A few of the things we know about deacons from Acts 6:1-7.
Deacons are servants.
That's what the word deacon means (i.e. servant) and every christian is called to be one. Their ministry is modeled after Jesus, who came not to be "deaconed" but to "deacon" us. However, God calls some christians to represent the church, people given responsibility and authority to ensure our life together bears good fruit.
Deacons promote diversity.
Language, culture, economics, spiritual maturity...these all pose challenges to our church life. And left unchecked, we trend towards uniformity at the exclusion of the marginalized. Deacons ensure everyone who wants to join in our fellowship is received well and served with equity.
Deacons work for unity.
They are trusted officials of the local church. Members look to them to smooth out the kinks and bumps of a growing community. They function like shock absorbers.
Deacons preserve pastoral ministry.
The necessity of deacons reminds us of the importance of pastors in the life church AND that pastors are just as limited as the rest of us. They aren't our heroes. They are servants in need of being served. The church needs the ministry of the word and prayer and deacons exist to make sure it happens.
Deacons are missional.
They aren't stewards of the status quo. Deacons are about the advance of the gospel and the mission of the church. Stephen (one of the first deacons) was the first martyr, who died after preaching Christ publicly. And Philip (also among the first 7) preached and performed miracles, later to be known as Philip the Evangelist (who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch).