Early in his ministry, a handful of deacons from First Baptist, Orlando came to Dr. Jim Henry’s home to pray for him. They told him, Anybody who comes after you has to come through us first. Dr. Henry later said, Those guys kept their word. Deacons have had my back for over 50 years.
I genuinely believe deacons are God’s gift to pastors and churches. Pastors and Deacons have been serving side-by-side imperfectly for 2 millennia for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.
The widow project in Acts 6 was more than mere benevolence debacle. It was an all out widow war. These first deacons were sort of a Special Ops team, and their first mission was a peacekeeping one. Without these first seven deacons, I believe Christianity’s first church would have split right in two.
It started with a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked. (Acts 6:1)
The Greek word for complaint describes the buzzing of bee wings. Who was complaining? The widows were not the ones complaining to the pastors, it was other members on their behalf. No church will escape this buzz indefinitely.
Do everything without grumbling (buzzzz) and arguing. (Philippians 2:14)
Sometimes it is not the members who are fighting, but the leaders. In Acts 4-5 the attacks on the church came from outsiders. By Acts 6 we see the church is threatened by cantankerous insiders. If I were the devil, I would wreak havoc in the church by pitting pastors and deacons against each other.
The Jerusalem church stopped growing when the pastors stopped growing. Disunity distracts and depletes you more than anything else in the church.
When is the last time you asked your deacons to help you watch over the flock?
Pastor, if you are solving all the problems in your church, don’t blame the deacons you have failed to deploy.
Recently in Nashville, a police officer drowned helping a suicidal woman who drove into the lake. Deacon, if your pastor is drowning, don’t yell advice from the shore. Jump in and help him!
Embracing your original role to partner with and protect your pastor will directly contribute to the health and growth of your church.
PASTORS & DEACONS:
Commit now to fighting against the devil, not each other. Forgive each other as Christ forgave you (Colossians 3:13). Watch each other’s back when your biblical ministry partner is vulnerable to an attack. Likely that favor will be returned some day.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
My brand new online deacon ministry training is available on LifeWay’s Ministry Grid training platform. You can sample free sessions, as well see the full suite of subscription courses here.
You don’t want to miss Dr. Henry’s powerful two minute Facebook Live testimony about this.
Photo by Nathan Shively on Unsplash