Leading the Church

Each year First Baptist Church elects twelve men to serve as deacons for a two year period. These twelve men join the twelve elected the previous year to make up the deacon body of First Baptist Church.

At FBC deacons have the responsibility to jealousy guard the unity of the church and to lead it to health. Deacons contact new attendees, visit the homebound and in hospitals, and help minister in crisis situations. Deacons are men of prayer and good works.

Why deacons? Why not some other form of leadership that seems to work adequately for other Christian groups? I do not wish to denigrate the traditions and decisions of others, but I do want to lay out the case for deacons in the church. In the New Testament, two groups make up the leadership of the church: pastor/teachers and deacons. Philippians 1:1 makes that clear in the church at Philippi, a very healthy church that seems to fit the norm in the New Testament. Paul addressed his letter “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” Paul wrote to all the saints with particular emphasis to bishops (pastors) and deacons. The plain implication seems to be that these were the main leaders of the church.

In the New Testament, the word deacon means “servant” or “slave,” giving us the idea of what deacons should be and do. Electing deacons implies selecting people who take on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and offer themselves as servants for God and His church.

Later, I will write about the process of electing deacons at FBC. The first step is asking our membership to suggest men who fit the model for character found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and the model for service found in Acts 6:1-7. The model which Paul gave to Timothy describes men with healthy families and strong character. They are men who can take a stand (not double-tongued) and who have been tested under fire and proven worthy. I always say that serving as a pastor/teacher or deacon is more about who you are than what you do, but there is a lot of doing in both callings! Want to read more about the power of an example?

We ask our people to suggest men by submitting their names in a plain envelope during the offering or at the reception desk in the church office by August 31. Not all of the suggestions will be selected (we hope to have many), but all those suggested will be considered and prayed over.

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