This past Sunday was very special. It was Deacon Ordination. We had three Deacons ordained this year. Here is an outline from the service – an opportunity to learn about the position of Deacon in our church:
Some of us grew up in churches that didn’t have the position of deacon. For those who did, the position of deacon is often misunderstood. Why have them? What do they do? How can they help the church?
I want to review what it means to be a deacon and why that is important to you – even if you are not called to serve as a deacon
Let’s begin in Acts 6:1-7.
In this scripture, there are several important items I want you to notice:
1) Deacons were chosen in order to maintain unity.
There were issues with the feeding of the widows. In the early church, most of the widows were unable to care for themselves and were cared for by the church. The church provided their food. Also in the early church, there were two different factions of Jews…One spoke Greek and the other Aramaic. There were other differences in that one was more strict than the other. The Greek speaking Jewish widows were apparently being neglected. So, there were some understandable complaints. The apostles realized that their job was prayer and teaching/preaching the Word. If they spent all their time with all that went on, they would neglect this which is very important! That is just as important today. We are the Body of Christ, but made up of humans living in a sinful world. We let things of this world get us off track and this can sometimes stir up trouble in the church. Deacons are there to keep in contact with the church, be the eyes and ears of the church to know what is going on, and to help maintain focus on the purpose of the church.
Not just anyone was chosen though. There were qualifications:
2) Deacons were chosen for their good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and full of wisdom
They were people called by God for this purpose. If their reputation wasn’t good in the community, they wouldn’t be respected in the church either. If they don’t know and love Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, the certainly can’t help the church. If they aren’t seeking after Godly wisdom, the things of this world can easily sway and they can get caught up in things going on….not making decisions that please God rather than man.
3) Deacons had a task to accomplish: SERVICE
The word “deacon” means service. They were chosen with the task to serve – to serve the hungry and needy…to serve the meal…to serve the Lord as He leads, guides and directs. This isn’t a position of power (only position of power is God’s)…this is a position of service and of love for God’s people. When I was asked what a deacon means to me, here are some of the things that come to mind as a pastor:
· Participation in the church
· Support and prayer for me and for the ministries of the church
· Prepare and serve communion
· Keep in touch with the congregation – know what is going on so that the needs of the church are attended to
· Along with keeping in touch, know the congregation so that if someone has a concern, they know who to go to and that their concern gets handled appropriately
· Cover for me when I am absent
· Represent the church at all times
· (Finally and most importantly) – have a heart for service to the Lord!
4) The Word of God spread and lives were changed
The apostles were able to spend time in the Word and in prayer so that they would lead and guide as God directed. The people’s needs were attended to so that no one was neglected. People’s lives were changed by the power of the Word of God.
5) When they were selected, the apostles brought them before them to pray and lay hands on them
This was a way of appointing the deacon and praying for God’s touch upon them as they begin this position of service.
All who serve the Lord in the church are so important. We are the Body of Christ and we all have important positions of service that help to serve the Lord in the way that He calls. May God lead and guide us and we seek to serve Him with our whole hearts!