where love is alive 

This past Sunday evening we held our first Deacon’s Meeting of our congregation’s organizational year.  The men who continuing in their three-year terms are Chris Berry, Darryll Canida, Jeff Carson, Von Chastain, Joel Cox, Don Littrell, DeWayne Morrow, Carl Shrewsbury, Jason Spangler, and Lanny Tayloe.  The new deacons you elected last month to join this group are Jeff Elliott, Adam Ferguson, Howard Hamilton, Dave Olson, and John Mark Moore.

The word “deacon” translates the Greek word “diakoneo” which means “to serve.” The traditional origin of the office goes back to Acts 6 where seven were elected to serve tables. Later, 1 Timothy 3 says deacons are to assist the church leaders with the needs of the community.

While most congregations have people serving in the office of “deacon,” the definitions of that service can vary widely.  In some churches the deacons are like a “board of directors” who make all the major decisions faced by a congregation.  Other churches have highly detailed expectations of their deacons. (I remember a church were a major pedestrian corridor featured a chart posting the attendance records of each deacon.)

At North Cleveland Baptist we affirm the variety of spiritual gifts within the church body and within the deacon body. Therefore, we recognize that our church body recognizes the servant work they perform in a wide variety of roles (worship leadership, craftmanship, administration, teaching, caregiving, etc.) Therefore, I tell the deacons that we do not wish to add a great extra burden on them with duties required specifically for deacons. We encourage them to continue in the servant roles they have given to the Lord through the church.

That being said, we do ask our deacons to accept several specific responsibilities.

  • On the occasions when we observe The Lord’s Supper, our deacons serve the elements of communion to our congregation. While the bread and the cup symbolize the body and blood of Jesus, these men symbolize the key role of servants in Jesus’ work.
  • Our deacons are asked to be a “sounding board” for the ongoing work of the church. Each staff members submits a monthly report and welcomes suggestions and insights from these men. When a proposal is scheduled to be voted on at a church business meeting, the deacons hear and respond to it first. While their approval is not required, their collective wisdom helps with clarity and direction.
  • Our deacons rotate serving as “Deacon of the Week.” You see these individuals as they pray the offertory prayer on Sunday mornings. But what you do not see that week is when they follow up with first-time church guests, when they check on people in local hospitals, and when they visit at the funeral home when a death occurs within the church.
  • Finally, every month individual deacons are asked to contact a homebound member of our church. In the ministry year just completed, our deacons reported 44 visits, 50 calls, and sent 24 cards to these saints.

I am grateful for these brothers and the grace they show as they serve our congregation.                                                                                                                                                   – Jay

Discussion

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