Deacons and the Ministry of Service
Emmanuel’s calendar always seems to be full, but April and May can be overwhelming. Easter, senior recognitions, preschool graduation, and Mother’s Day all seem to come in rapid succession. Unfortunately these and other seasonal events can overshadow a vital event in the nomination and election of deacons. Our church has already submitted deacon nominations during April. Throughout May our current active deacons, along with our pastors will be meeting with those nominated, questioning them, and then submitting the names of qualified men to our church for confirmation in June. Here at Emmanuel, we have 12 active deacons who serve for a four year term. Four men rotate off the active deacon board each year.
Since this process is repeated every year, we might be tempted to neglect emphasizing the need for the office of the deacon, their scriptural qualifications. The need for deacons was realized early on in the life of the church at Jerusalem. In Acts 6 we read of the first church growing quickly under the teaching and preaching of the Apostles. We know the basic program of the first church from Acts 2:46-47: Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved, CSB. The power and fruit of the Spirit was on display in their joy, sincerity, and humility. Just like the churches of today, the early church had to be diligent to take steps to meet threats to unity and arrogance that would inevitably appear. Acts 6 details the first major recorded threat to the unity of the early church. There were some who felt certain widows were being neglected in the distribution of food and resources. The Apostles proposed the selection of seven men who would oversee the church’s ministry to widows. In Acts 6:3 we read: Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty, CSB. There is a more exhaustive list of qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The result of establishing the deacon ministry was recorded in Acts 6:7, So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith, CSB. The Lord has blessed Emmanuel greatly through the deacon ministry. I believe the deacon/family ministry of Emmanuel is biblically informed and healthy. Please pray for our deacons. Pray the Lord will guide our selection of the four men who will become active deacons in July. Pray all of our deacons, both active and inactive. Pray they will grow in holiness and their love for the church. Pray they will serve and guard the unity of our church body in order that the word of God will spread, those discipled in the faith would increase and many more would become obedient to the faith.