Since Greg is on vacation I (Gary Francisco) am writing the cover article for this month on the developing Deacon Ministry.
The following is one of the documents that helps guide our Deacon ministry. This document, as well as other documents related to the deacon ministry, are available on the Members area of the churches web site.
The Deacon’s Role in the Church
Church Government Overview
The one supreme authority for the church is the risen and reigning Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). The matters of church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed and regulated through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures.
The biblically designated offices serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, overseers, pastors, pastor-teachers, and shepherds; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3) and deacons (Philippians 1:1). Men who would fill theses offices must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Both of these offices have the same qualifications with the exception that Elders must be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9).
These leaders are to lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority, through His revealed Word and enabling of His Spirit, in directing His church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership, as unto Christ (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
The Deacon’s Role
As with our physical bodies, any local church in the body of Christ has numerous and ongoing needs for care and support among its members. While the Elders of the church are responsible for the overall shepherding and spiritual oversight of people’s souls (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17), there are many physical and practical needs among the church body that must be attended to by someone. We understand the Biblical office of “Deacon” as being given by God to oversee ministry to these many practical needs (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). The deacons complement the elders in their shepherding work (for a fuller explanation of our understanding, please refer to our Statement of Faith and the section titled The Church). We currently view these physical and practical needs as falling under two categories: Caring Ministries, which concern individual needs among church members (personal finances, health, food, etc.), and Support Ministries, which concern corporate needs among the whole church (facilities, church finances, etc.). The deacon ministry is for the purpose of freeing up the elders to focus on prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:3-4), promoting unity within the church (Acts 6:5, Ephesians 4:3), and facilitating the spread of the gospel (Acts 6:8).
The office of deacon is a leadership position. Although a deacon will typically have provided faithful service within ministry areas related to their area of official oversight their role as deacon is not primarily hands on service, but, ministry oversight and member mobilization.
God calls all believers to be active in serving His church (Romans 12:4-8, Hebrews 10:24-25). Therefore, the role of deacon is very important as it helps to incorporate each member of the body into an area of service that is appropriate for them for the common good of the church, for the glory of God.
So what now?
1. We encourage you to submit recommendations for the deacon positions. The recommendation form is available in the Members area of the RCG web site, or a hard copy is in the foyer. Please read and pray over the second page (same as document above) of the document as you consider men for this role. This is an overseeing role with broad responsibility. Review the “Deacon Job Descriptions” document and think of the man as overseeing one of the 6 highlighted areas of ministry. The deacon is not only a servant but a leader and a leader of leaders. Recommendations will be considered by me and the Elders. The process for selecting deacons will proceed as laid out in Article V, Section 2.3 of our Constitution and Bylaws.
2. I am currently working on getting a record of where everyone in the church is serving and where they are interested in serving. I will primarily be looking to people in various leadership roles to find out who is serving in the ministry areas that they lead. As the Deacon ministry develops, we will seek the Lord to enable every member of this local body to be functioning according to the gifts that God has given them (1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 4:15-16).
Please pray that the Lord would give me and the Elders much wisdom, strength and diligence as we labor for His church.
Director of Deacons