Sunday, July 9, 2023

Some Words about Deacons (Adapted)

By Adam Faughn
    Deacons in the Lord's Church may often wonder if people truly understand what they do. For some, deacons seem just like elders (or, maybe, "junior elders"). After all, we will sometimes hear someone pray, "Bless our elders and deacons as they lead and make decisions."
    For others, they simply do not know what deacons do. It's a title, but a recognition of what it means is often missed.
    God, however, laid down a perfect plan for the Church in the pages of Scripture, and He included deacons in that plan. Knowing that, we need to be sure we seek to have deacons, but we also need to grasp what they do and encourage it.
    The word in the New Testament that translates as "deacon" simply means "servant." In a sense, we know that every Christian is to be a servant. However, it is clear from passages like Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13 that God had in mind a distinct and qualified group of men to have this position and work within the local congregation. Thus, we sometimes refer to deacons as "special servants."
    These men are not elders; nor are they "junior elders" or "elders in training." That said, their role is vital to the elders because good and hard-working deacons allow the elders to more effectively and efficiently do their work of shepherding, overseeing, and spiritually feeding the flock of God.
    If we read Acts 6 carefully, the apostles (who were, if you will, "proto-elders" in Jerusalem) appointed seven men to oversee a particular ministry. These, it would seem, were "protodeacons," and they set the standard for that role in each local congregation. These men were put over that specific work so that (1) it would be done well, and (2) the apostles could do what only they were uniquely qualified to do. That sets the design for deacons in the local church. They are placed over certain areas of work, programs, events, and such like to (1) do the work well and in a trustworthy manner and (2) allow the elders to do what only the elders are to be doing.
    I pray that we show our gratitude for our deacons and that we do so, in part, by recognizing and appreciating what they do. But I also would hope that we will show appreciation by lending them a helping hand so that their areas of work do not become a burden and so that those works are a delight as these men serve God in this special way. Finally, I pray that other men and young men would see this role as vital and would try to prepare themselves to serve in this very special way in the future. The church needs good deacons, and we are blessed here to have just that. May it continue to be so.

- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith

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