Monday, May 24, 2010

Ordination of Deacons - Finding the Right Men

I’ll not go over all the biblical qualifications of deacons. The basic requirements are in the Bible. Depending on your interpretation of those passages, and your individual church situation, those qualifications may vary.

I know believers are divided about whether a divorced man may serve as a deacon. My church, long before I became their pastor, made the decision that their deacons not be divorced.

It should be noted, however, that a man may do the work of a deacon without holding the office of deacon. I know of a divorced man who was a wonderful Christian leader. He never complained about not being a deacon; but he was a deacon in every sense of the word except holding the official title of deacon.

A man should hold the office of deacon. The Bible teaches a man should occupy the office of pastor and deacon in the local church. A man should be the loving leader in the home. Other than these areas, we have no strict requirements about the roles of women and men. Obviously men and women are equal before God and of equal worth. Both are qualified to minister in numerous ways.

Pastors and deacons should believe in and practice tithing to their local church.

Do not lay hands on a novice. Take your time. Don’t ordain someone too soon. 1 Timothy 3:6 (novice) speaks directly to pastors, but I think it can also apply to deacons. Notice that 1 Timothy 3:8 says “likewise deacons.” The rules for pastor generally apply to deacons as well.

A pastor should have a general sense of who qualifies as a deacon and who doesn’t. In Acts 6 the church chose the deacons. But a pastor can guide the church and even veto some that are clearly not qualified. This can most easily be done early on in the process. The details will vary as to how an individual church goes about choosing deacons.

In our case a deacon mentioned to me two men he felt qualified. I thought about it, prayed about it, and agreed. We talked to the other deacons and they agreed. I talked to the potential candidates and they agreed to serve if the church approved. Neither of the candidates had in any way sought the office. That is a big plus in their favor. The person who gets mad because he was not chosen as a deacon, has just demonstrated that he was not really qualified in the first place.

The deacons then brought a recommendation to the church that we begin the process of ordaining these two as deacons. The church so voted. (We are a small church. At the beginning of this process we had 3 deacons. One of those deacons had been in the hospital, and died before the ordination service.)

I personally, informally met with the candidates. The current deacons, pastor, and candidates all met together. We went over the statements of The Baptist Deacon and Baptist Doctrines (these will be presented in future posts). We also had the opportunity to fellowship and ask questions back and forth. We prayed together. In previous years, I had had the honor of baptizing both of these candidates.

We discussed possible questions that would come up during the Ordination Service. Deacon candidates should know the basics of our beliefs, but don’t expect them to have an advanced seminary degree. Don’t try to embarrass or trip them up with an obscure theological question. (Theological questions should be a little more detailed when ordaining a pastor.)

The deacons we chose are not perfect, but neither is their pastor. I have no doubt, however, that God led us to the right men.

We also talked about a date for the Ordination Service. We chose a date that allowed the deacon candidates to have their family and friends in attendance. We set the time for a Sunday afternoon so neighboring pastors and deacons could attend without missing their own church services. Because of this afternoon service, we cancelled our usual 6 pm Sunday Evening Worship Service.

Note: Go to a LifeWay or Christian Bookstore and purchase or order (bhpublishinggroup.com; 800/458-2772) Deacon Certificates of Ordination. Get twice as many as you need; you may damage one and need to start over. Buy nice frames for the Certificates. More on this later.

NEXT: Deacons - Baptist Doctrines

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 24, AD 2010. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ordination of Deacons - Introduction

Churches, especially small churches, do not often ordain deacons. Many young pastors have never seen a Deacon Ordination Service. Many pastors know little about the details of this type service. Some churches conduct a deacons’ ordination like they would a standard business meeting. I believe this type service should not be ordinary, but instead an outstanding, spiritually uplifting service.

Last year our church ordained two deacons. In the next posts, I plan to show the details of our ordination process. This is not to say you have to do it exactly like we did. This is just to show you our procedure, and perhaps give you some ideas for the next time you ordain deacons.

Why should a pastor and church make a big deal out of a simple Deacon Ordination Service?

1. It brings glory to God.

2. It honors the Scripture. Deacons are important in Scripture and should be important in your church.

3. It lets the deacons, their wives, and the church know this is something special. Serving as a deacon, and a deacon’s wife, is an honor and a great responsibility.

4. It shows the church that this is a spiritual office. This is not just a business arrangement, or a symbolic honor that means nothing.

5. Lets the church see first hand what is involved in an ordination service.

6. It gives you a golden opportunity to teach the church about deacons and ordination.

7. A deacon will take their job of spiritual leadership more seriously, if you take their ordination seriously. This should also be true of the current deacons as they participate in this ordination service.

8. People enjoy a certain amount of variety. This is a different kind of service that seldom comes around. Since this is a service that may not occur but once every few years, make the most of it.

I’ve seen people leaning on the edge of their seat to see exactly what is happening in an ordination service. I’ve seen them go away with a sense of wonder and respect at the spiritual impact of such a meeting. It is truly a time of worship.

If you are going to ordain spiritually qualified candidates as deacons, do a first class job. Make it a spiritual experience they will not soon forget.

NEXT: Ordination of Deacons - Finding the Right Men

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 17, AD 2010. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When I'm An Old Lady

When I’m an old lady, I’ll live with each kid.
And bring so much happiness… just as they did.
I want to pay back all the joy they’ve provided.
Returning each deed! Oh, they’ll be so excited!
When I’m an old lady and live with my kids.

I’ll write on the walls with reds, whites and blues,
And I’ll bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I’ll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I’ll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they’ll shout!
When I’m an old lady and live with my kids.

When they’re on the phone and just out of reach,
I’ll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they’ll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
When I’m an old lady and live with my kids.

When they cook dinner and call me to eat,
I’ll not eat my green beans or salad or meat.
I’ll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table.
And when they get angry… I’ll run.. if I’m able!
When I’m an old lady and live with my kids.

I’ll sit close to the TV, through the channels I’ll click,
I’ll cross both eyes just to see if they stick,
I’ll take off my socks and throw one away,
And play in the mud until the end of the day!
When I’m an old lady and live with my kids.

And later in bed, I’ll lay back and sigh,
I’ll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes,
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
And say with a groan, “She’s so sweet when she’s sleeping!”
-Anonymous; The Ozarks Mountaineer, May/June, 2007.

Happy Mother’s Day!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 5, AD 2010.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Obituary - Clarence Branch (AD 1927-2010)

Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” -Revelation 14:13.

Clarence Leslie Branch, Sr. went from this life to the next on March 31, 2010.

His Funeral Service was April 2, 2010 at Calvary Baptist Church, Brownfield, Texas with Dale Matlock and Joseph O’Briant officiating. Interment at Terry County Memorial Cemetery with Steve Carter officiating. Arrangements by Brownfield Funeral Home.

Clarence was born on December 3, 1927 in Driscoll, Texas to William Jennings Branch and Ima Branch. He graduated from Corpus Christi High School in 1946 where he lettered in football for three years and was captain his senior year. He attended Rice University, and the University of Corpus Christi. He was elected captain of the football team while at UCC and also lettered in basketball.

While a student at Rice, he was drafted by the U.S. Army and served 18 months of military duty. He was contacted by the Pittsburgh Steelers about playing football. Brother Clarence was called to preach the gospel while a student at UCC. He returned to graduate there in 1961.

Clarence Branch was pastor of Second Baptist Church, New Braunfels; Bethel Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; Retama Park Baptist Church, Kingsville; Forrest Park Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; Calvary Baptist Church, Brownfield; First Baptist Church, Anson; Windsor Park Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; and West Shore Baptist Church, Lake Corpus Christi. He preached revivals in Brazil, California, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota and throughout Texas.

Clarence is survived by his wife Dorothy Marie. They were married in 1948 by Lester Roloff in Corpus Christi, Texas.

He is also survived by his daughter, Cheryll Matlock and her husband Dale Matlock of Brownfield, as well as his son, Clarence “Leslie” Branch, Jr. of the home.

Clarence Branch is survived by five grandsons - Robert Steagall and his wife Angela of Corpus Christi; John Steagall and hsi wife Penny of Honolulu; Aaron Steagall of Brownfield; Joseph O’Briant, III and his wife Elizabeth of Welch; and Joshua O’Briant, I and his wife Tiffany of Brownfield, and seven great-grandchildren. Memorials can be made to Brownfield Senior Citizens or Challis Baptist Church.

*******

My dad, Joe Brumbelow, went to UCC with Clarence Branch and they were longtime friends. My brother, Steve Brumbelow, preached several revivals for Clarence Branch.

Brother Clarence enjoyed joking and kidding with others. On one occasion Joe Brumbelow, Clarence Branch, and one or two others preached in a Bible Conference in Corpus Christi, TX. After the conference they were each duly sent a $100 check for their part in the Conference. Clarence called Joe and said, “Joe it was a great conference. I sure appreciate the $300 check they sent me.” Joe said, “Clarence, you’re an instigator.”

Clarence Branch was one of the many Southern Baptist pastors who faithfully preached the Word, loved the lost, and served his Master. He’s one of the ones I looked up to through the years. May God bless his family, and may his inheritance be forever.

Note: Clarence Branch’s obituary was in The Brownfield News, April 3, 2010; also in the Southern Baptist Texan, May 3, 2010.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 3, AD 2010.