Deacons are Partners in Ministry

Over the last several months, our church has ordained Lauren Neal, Vicki Violette, and Kris Hicks to the gospel ministry. This is a weighty responsibility and privilege to recognize God’s calling upon their lives.

Deacons are also ordained for their ministry office as well. They are also “set apart” for the work that God has selected them, and church elected them to do.

In Acts 6, the early church was experiencing numerical growth. Interestingly, the church had already survived the dangers of persecution and scandal (Acts 5) by the power of the Spirit. Now the church was facing a more subtle threat–distraction.

There was a murmuring in the church because as the number of followers increased, the level of attention to the widows decreased. One group began complaining about another group in the church. In short, the apostles were faced with the critical issue of how to spend their time. Should they continue focusing on preaching and spreading the Word, or should they turn their focus toward social and benevolent ministries?

They called the church together and responded: “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6.2-4)

The church agreed with this proposal and elected their own deacons (from the group who had been complaining), and the apostles supported this decision. They laid hands of them and “the word of God spread.”

Deacons were created out of a problem to resolve a problem in the church. Ideally, that’s what they continue to do today. They are the “shock-absorbers” in the congregation to help move us toward love, witness, and cooperation. They should always be a catalyst for unity rather than cause disruption in the church.

It’s the season for deacon elections. It’s a great distinction for our church to affirm both women and men to serve as deacons (Galatians 3.28, Romans 16.1). I’m hopeful that our deacons will continue recognizing the importance of their role in the church. I pray they will be fully present through their prayers, financial support, participation, and involvement in the deacon family ministry plan.

Pastors and deacons are partners in ministry. May God help us continue this practice in and through the life of our church–DC

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