The Biblical Relationships of a Deacon | Ministry
Here are some of the deacons every pastor should love. I understand the high level of trust that must be in place for this kind of relationship. There is, I believe, a direct relationship between church leadership and church ministry. When the elders are commanded to “pastor the flock of God,” it . " The elders get the spiritual work, and the deacons get the dirty work. I love deacons and treasure the relationship with quite a few from the six churches I served over four decades.. My oldest son is a deacon and.
While we do not have time to pursue other ways in which the elders would exercise managerial functions to equip the flock for ministry one to another, those mentioned above are surely not all-inclusive, but simply suggestive. The Relation Between Elders and Deacons in Managing the Flock of God A serious error is distressingly common when it comes to the relationship of elders and deacons concerning the work of the pastoral care of the flock.
Some suppose wrongly that the elders alone are to pastor the flock. The elders, then, are responsible for the spiritual care of the flock, and the deacons take up the merely physical tasks. As a deacon in our church put it: Several observations will help to clarify this point: You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. Shepherding the flock implies seeing that every need of the flock is met. In Acts 6, the apostles 6 were informed of the neglect of the Hellenistic widows, and they responded in such a way that we must assume the responsibility was ultimately theirs.
They considered the problem and laid down guidelines for its solution. In Acts 11, we are told of the prophets who came to Antioch and prophesied of a coming famine in Judea. The saints at Antioch responded by taking up a collection, and this they sent to the elders Acts Deacons, in the Scriptures, have very high qualifications, nearly identical to those for elders. In Acts 6, the qualifications for the seven assistants were unusually high, especially so, if one looks at these men only as table waiters: But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task Acts 6: Let deacons be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households 1 Timothy 3: If the qualifications of deacons are so high, can it be that their work is that different from that of elders?
While the tasks performed by the elders are well covered by the Scriptures 8apart from the probable reference in Acts 6, no duties are outlined in the New Testament. The only satisfying explanation is that the duties of the deacons are similar to those of the elders; specifically, the deacons are to be assistants of the elders.
In this case, there is no need for any further discussion of the duties of deacons other than what is said of the elders. Deacons, like elders, are to function as managers, not ministers.
They are not to minister as much as they are to administer. We have already shown that the way the elders pastor the flock is by overseeing or managing the ministry of the flock to one another. Also, we have observed that deacons as well as elders must meet the qualification of being good managers in their own homes. All of this inclines us to the conclusion that deacons help the elders by assisting them in the administration of the flock.
The best proof text is that passage which is often employed to prove the opposite point. Many turn to Acts 6 to show that the apostles delegated physical matters to the deacons, while keeping the spiritual task for themselves.
It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word Acts 6: We must begin by accepting the fact that the apostles recognized the neglect of the Hellenistic widows as ultimately their responsibility. They determined that the complaint was legitimate, and they outlined the solution of the problem.
The elders assumed the responsibility for the entire problem, which was both physical and spiritual. There is a great difference between the responsibility of doing and that of getting it done.Before The Person :: Relationship Goals (Part 1)
One is ministration, while the other is administration. The sad fact of church life is that both elders and deacons are running themselves ragged, assuming every task of the ministry. Their function is to see that the needs of the flock are met by managing the ministry in such a way that all the saints minister to one another. The distinction that is to be found between the duties of elders and those of the deacons is not one of spiritual versus physical needs, but of differing levels of administration.
Both elders and deacons function as managers, but on different levels. It is to the biblical principles of management or leadership that I would like to draw your attention.
Leadership should be thought of more in terms of occupation than an office, more in terms of service than of status. Paul wrote to Timothy. While a man is encouraged to seek the office of elder, he is to view it as an occupation, a work. Shepherd the flock of God among you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock 1 Peter 5: This was a lesson that came hard to the disciples of our Lord, who continually thought of their place as one of status: And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.
But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all Mark Perhaps I am seeing too much in the two primary passages which deal with the role of elders, but in each case, they are addressed as being leaders among the flock, rather than over the flock: Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood Acts Shepherd the flock of God among you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness 1 Peter 5: Paul understood this principle well.
In the context of addressing the problem of holding some in higher authority than others, Paul could write, Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God 1 Corinthians 4: Again Paul wrote, Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm 2 Corinthians 1: In the unbelieving world, men reluctantly serve, hoping by this means some day to lead.
In the Scriptures, men lead, so that by this means they may serve. Someone in church shared that the test of whether or not we are truly servants is how we react when people treat us like a servant.
I have been impressed in my study for this message that this attitude toward leadership makes it easy for some to lightly esteem us. This was evidently the case in New Testament times cf. We can see in both 1 and 2 Corinthians a lack of regard for Paul and his apostleship among the Corinthians. Meekness in the eyes of the world is little different than weakness. A macho mentality of leadership has no place in Christian service. The Scriptures make it clear that members of the congregation are to be in submission to their leaders: Now I urge you, brethren you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saintsthat you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors 1 Corinthians Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.
Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you Hebrews While it is necessary to submit to the authority of the elders, it is also important to recognize the source of that authority. While it may be true to some extent that the office itself has some authority, the ultimate authority lies in the Scriptures themselves.
O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts Psalm In the final analysis, the elders cannot force anyone to submit husbands, listen well!
They must ultimately rest in the Spirit of God to convince men of the truth of the Word of God. Their confidence must be in the God who is able to change the minds and hearts of men. This is why Paul can say, Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude God will reveal that to you Philippians 3: The elders seem to feel they must make all the personal decisions for the members of their congregations, even down to the car they buy or sell, and the job they choose.
What a far different situation we find in the New Testament. But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity 1 Corinthians All of us like to give advice to others.
An elder is faced with the added temptation of giving advice under the pretext of counsel, or worse yet, of elderly care, to which the individual must submit. I believe Paul spoke to this kind of error in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. In the church, men were being exalted above others. Part of the problem was caused by those who attempted to apply authority that went beyond Scripture.
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against another 1 Corinthians 4: Let us be careful to distinguish between biblical truth, counsel based upon wisdom and experience, and personal opinion, based upon our own preferences and preconceived ideas.
In addition to the authority of the Scriptures, the godly life and conduct of an elder gives credence and credibility to their position cf. A godly life causes others to listen to what we have to say.
Church office is not solely a matter of spirituality or faithfulness, but a matter of gift and divine calling. In many churches, the office of elder or deacon is handed out like a gold watch for years of faithful service. Those who have served faithfully and well often expect to be awarded an office in the church as a kind of merit badge.
Much of the problem is the result of faulty reasoning. We know from the qualifications for elders and deacons in the New Testament that they are to be godly men.
But the error is in transposing the equation. While all church leaders must be godly men, not all godly men are to be church leaders. While men are encouraged to strive to become elders and deacons 1 Timothy 3: Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Nowhere does the New Testament consider the ideal to be a church whose congregation is composed of all elders and deacons.
Thank God for those faithful saints who are content to serve faithfully without public recognition or reward. Nowhere does the Scripture state or imply that in order to be faithful and effective in the work of the ministry, one has to hold an official position. Elders assisted by the deacons are to function as overseers. They are to manage the flock in such a way that ministry occurs, and the whole body is pastored.
There must be leaders and followers, managers and ministers, if the flock is to be adequately cared for. While all should strive to meet the qualifications of elders or deacons, not all should expect to be appointed to such an office.
We should not expect all elders or deacons to have the same gift, ministry, or level of success. Some may have gotten the idea that every elder or deacon must have to possess the gift of administration in order to function as a manager.
This is not the case. If it were, I would have to be the first to resign. It is the elders who corporately shepherd the flock by managing it. The elders, as a board, must manage the flock. As I view the board of elders, they are a beautiful blend of variously gifted men who, as a group, are able to provide a balanced administration and ministry for the flock.
One of the elders may have the gift of faith and encourage the others to take bold steps, trusting God to work in a mighty way. Another may be a gifted evangelist and look from the point of view of winning the lost in this venture. The administrator will conceive of how this can be achieved.
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All of this is consistent with what Paul has written: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons 1 Corinthians We should expect the elders to be a group of men with differing gifts, diverse ministries, and various levels of effectiveness.
Paul implied this when he wrote: Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. And when called upon at VBSthey get slimed. Pastors, cherish your supportive deacons. Here are some of the deacons every pastor should love.
Listed below are 20 tips for pastors on the subject, “How To Work With Deacons”
Pastors need friends, not only other pastor peers from outside the church, but also friends within the church. Since pastors and deacons serve closely together, at least a few deacons should be close friends with pastors. I had one deacon recently sit down in my office unannounced. He knew I was in the middle of a difficult situation involving church discipline.
When a deacon is a prayer warrior for a pastor, a special bond is formed. The spiritual battle waging around prayer warriors is silent but intense.
Many deacons are on the front lines. Any deacon at West Bradenton has the right to ask me about any part of my life at any time. A couple of deacons are not only my friends but also my confidants.
I share with them ministry burdens I may not even share with my wife. I understand the high level of trust that must be in place for this kind of relationship. I wish more pastors and deacons were confidants.