by: Matt Alexander
Who are Deacons?
Each year we come to this very important time in the life of our church – deacon elections. I almost cringe to use the word “election” in connection with the word “deacon.” It has been my experience in some places that choosing deacons has indeed been an electoral environment – all about popularity with no regard to Biblical qualifications or the high standard of ministerial service.
In Acts we discover that deacons were first called because the apostles were stretched far too thin. Widows were getting overlooked because the needs of the ministry were too great. The apostles could not devote themselves to prayer and study while at the same time helping the poor all within a 24-hour day. As any modern minister understands, they needed help. In 1 Timothy, Paul outlines very clearly who these men are to be. They are to be above reproach, upstanding, and spiritually mature. In essence they should be men focused on God who possess a servant’s heart. The word “deacon” is translated “servant.”
Deacons are called to be helpful hands and feet so that ministry does not get overlooked. Deacons are called to support the pastoral ministry of the church with full integrity.
When I graduated from seminary I joined a church staff terrified to attend my first deacons meeting. Somehow, I seemed to always hear ill reports and see bad attitudes concerning this group of men at large. It wasn’t until I walked into a room of 50+ deacons my first week on a church staff after seminary graduation that I saw differently. For over an hour I heard man after man discuss the needs of his church and his community. Over the next 13 months of that internship I was blessed to witness these men acting on the words shared in these monthly meetings. It was the norm for myself or another staff member to show up for a hospital visit to learn that at least one deacon had already been there. This is when I learned what a true deacon really was.
From that point forward, I had a new perspective and a new expectation from deacon ministry. I am thankful for the servant hearted men of FBCG who serve well in the true calling of deacon. It’s crucial that we let this be a holy time of aligning our hearts with God’s so that ministry happens in Greenville and beyond. Let’s fast, pray, and go straight to scripture over the next week for the men God already has in store to serve our church and our community as we advance the Gospel together.