Tuesday, December 4, 2007
"What is the Role and Purpose of Deacons?"
Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about. After Pentecost the Apostles chose men they called “Deacons” which is translated “Servant-Ministers”, these men where responsible for the physical aspects of the ministry while the Apostles devoted themselves to prayer and preaching the Word of God. Two of the Deacons were responsible for an explosion of spiritual growth for the Early Church. Philip was a Deacon, but he also was anointed to be an Evangelist. Today we would consider Deacon and Evangelist two separate offices or ministries, but the Word makes no such distinction. There are many people in the Body of Christ anointed to function in one of the five-fold ministries and they may NEVER be ordained or recognized by man (The Local Church). I find that too many of our churches are filled with people that are NOT allowed to function in their office because of control freaks in the pulpits called PASTORS!
Phillip was led by the Holy Ghost to minister to the Ethiopian Eunuch, which led to the Gospel being spread in Africa. Philip led by the Spirit went to Samaria and preached JESUS. Devils were cast out and people healed by a DEACON! Imagine in some of our churches today if a Deacon decided to go off and minister without first checking with his pastor? Even if he did check in with the pastor, many of our pastor would tell the Deacon, wait until he got a ministers license or ordination papers, or they would accuse the Deacon of being overzealous or out of line for trying to be a minister. Well I have news for you Pastors…Deacons ARE ministers! When I was a Deacon I was only 22 years old, I was also called to be an Evangelist. I went out on the streets on Song Tan City, South Korea and witnessed and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had brothers try and tell me I should get the Pastors OK before I did this, well what they didn’t know was I DID! He didn’t think it was safe! SAFE?!?! Since when is ministry, true ministry ever SAFE! I went out by myself initially, until the Lord saved my roommate and we both would go out and win souls. I was a Deacon and my roommate was a new convert. Many souls came to the Lord because we were obedient to the Lord.
Now I am NOT advocating rebellion, but as Peter said in Acts, “I must obey God NOT man!” Too many of our Pastors refuse to see the need for outreach and evangelism in the church, they think if they “have church”, folks will come. Jesus said GO in the hedges and highways and COMPELL men to come to HIM! You can’t compel ANYONE from a pulpit or a pew!
Phillip only called for assistance when he realized the new converts needed a pastor, Pastors and Evangelist have to work hand in hand, and they need each other like a center needs a good point guard. Remember Magic Johnson? Someone asked him why was he was as successful as a player, he said I utilized my Big Man and I got the whole team involved! Magic and Kareem were like a well oiled machine, Magic never thought about himself first but the team first, that means self sacrifice and sharing the glory. Too often immature and insecure pastors don’t want to do either! Pastors are like point guards in that they have to see the big picture and include EVERYBODY in order to secure VICTORY!
Lets’ Examine the lineup God ordained for the Church! Most teaching on the Ministry Gifts Exclude the Deacons and I believe that is to the detriment of the church that is why I opened discussing Deacons. These are the duties of a Deacon:
1. To care for the Widows and the Fatherless. The benevolence ministry in the local church SHOULD be managed by the DEACON…not the PASTOR!
2. Deacons should be the leaders of church outreach (See Phillip)
3. Deacons should be your leaders in Church Education. (See Stephen)
4. Deacons should be the overseers of church finances and resources (Not the Pastor) this goes against the mindset of most Churches! Especially in Pentecostal and Holiness churches. Many Baptist churches EMPOWER the Deacons and those churches that have Godly Deacons FLOURISH! Why because that is the way God established it! This is why it is important to have men FULL of the Holy Ghost, FULL of wisdom, and FULL of the Word holding the OFFICE of Deacon. Unfortunately we have made the office of Deacon a “flunky” position with NO AUTHORITY!
5. Deacons should be father figures for the fatherless boys in the congregation. When I accepted Christ at the age of 14 in Richmond, Virginia, the church I attended had a strong Deacon board that played basketball with the teen boys, taught a youth Bible Study, Ran the Boys Scout program, and created a Junior Deacon Board. All of these things helped me make a decision for Christ because there were strong men showing me the way!
6. Deacons should take Communion to the hospitals and Nursing Homes.
7. Deacons should be at the forefront of outreach in the community. (Remember Phillip and Stephen)
8. A Deacon should be an example of male spirituality and strength in the church and the community. I remember all of the Deacons in my church were known throughout the community. Even unsaved people knew the Deacons because of the works they did.
Finally I believe unless we re-establish the importance of this God ordained office in the church, our churches will continue to be devoid of men. The office of Deacon is integral in the upbringing of boys and helping them grow into manhood.