Monday, June 7, 2010

The Baptist Deacon

Basic Bible passages on deacons: Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 1:1.
Deacon - from the Greek word diakonos; literally means “servant.” It can be used unofficially of anyone serving the church, or used in its official sense of the office of deacon.

A deacon is to be a servant of the church. The pastor (also called bishop and elder in the NT) is the spiritual leader in the church. But in a practical sense the deacons are also looked to as spiritual leaders in the local church. Deacons are not to rule over the church or the pastor, but they are to be loving, serving leaders. Deacons assist in presenting the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper and, if needed, in the ordinance of baptism. They are to assist and support the church, the pastor, and its leaders. Deacons should have a positive view of their church. They should do all in their power to foster harmony and minimize dissention. Unless a pastor seriously steps out of line, the deacons should be his biggest supporters.

A deacon should: be a baptized believer; praying, faithful, loyal supporter of his church; live a committed life for the Lord; be a tither; a problem-solver; not drink alcoholic beverages or engage in any practice that would hurt the church or his influence for Christ; faithfully love, support, and lead his wife and family; discipline and raise his children well; never bring reproach on the cause of Christ; be a witness for Jesus Christ. If a deacon gets out of church and out of God’s will, he should resign as a deacon and return his certificate of ordination.

Two documents that define much of Northside Baptist Church, Highlands, TX would be the Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 and the Church Covenant. The Baptist Faith & Message, 2000 is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church Covenant was written in the 1850s and has been used by many Baptist churches ever since. In 1970 Northside made the decision that a divorced man would not serve as pastor or deacon. Of course, those who have been divorced, are a welcome part of Northside and may serve in any other church capacity.

Current deacons of Northside: James E. Selkirk, Oswall Harman, Jack Cone.
Those under consideration as deacons: Kenneth Stanley, James Cain.

Process: Present deacon recommendation to church, vote, then set up ordination service.

VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.” -Baptist Faith & Message, 2000.

“Deacons served in both material and spiritual matters (Acts 6:2 to 7:60; 8:5-40). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a deacon. Note that when both pastors and deacons did their work faithfully, the work of the church prospered (Acts 6:7). That there are two ordained offices does not mean that a church may not have other workers, such as teachers and leaders, in various phases of the work. Such may be chosen as the need demands. But the ordained officers are pastors and deacons.” -Herschel H. Hobbs, The Baptist Faith and Message, Convention Press, Nashville, TN, 1971; p. 81.

NEXT: Preparing for the Deacon Ordination Service
See all Deacon articles in this series by clicking Deacons under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in lower right margin. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 7, AD 2010.

Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book

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