Why I Love Deacons
I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and have been a member of and served in Southern Baptist Churches my whole life. That means I have been around lots of deacons. Deacons tend to be the butt of a lot of jokes and stories about church life gone wrong. The jokes and stories about deacons usually have to do with deacons who try and take control or exert improper control over the running of the church. I’ve also been privy to real life stories of deacons who actually do exert control over church life, even to the point of running off the pastor. In fact a very good pastor friend of mine was the victim of a deacon ambush just this year. In these cases the jokes aren’t funny and the stories are all too real.
But my experience has also been that the vast majority of deacons are godly men whose heart is one of service and devotion to their church. These deacons are a blessing to any pastor.
I am blessed at Grand to be surrounded by deacons who fit this latter category. This past Sunday we added five men to the brotherhood of deaconship. I always love deacon ordination night. It is a sacred and holy time that harkens back 2,000 years to that first group of seven deacons ordained in Acts 6. As a pastor I have come to love and appreciate the office of deacon in new ways. And I have come to truly love the men who serve as deacons for the following reasons:
- I am ever acutely aware that as the pastor of my church, I cannot do it by myself. Acts 6 speaks to he problem of the demands of church life exceeding the Apostles ability to preach the Gospel and also meet those needs. Thus the office of deacon was born.
- The advancement of the Gospel is paramount to the mission of the church. Deacons enable to Gospel to advance by freeing the pastors of the church from the laborious tasks of the church. If the 30+ deacons that serve “invisibly” at Grand were to disappear tomorrow, our work of preaching the Gospel would be immediately compromised.
- The deacons at Grand are truly Acts 6 men – men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom. What pastor would not love to be surrounded by such a group of men? I suspect that the churches that have real problems with deacons can trace those problems back to a mistake in the selection of qualified men for the position.
- Deacons love their pastor. Not because the pastor is “special” or on a higher level than them, but because the pastor is the primary torchbearer for the Gospel in the local church. Because deacons love the advancement of the Gospel, they love their pastor. And so it is easy to love those who love you. In addition, the men who serve as deacons at Grand are men I call friend.
If you’re a deacon, love your pastor. Support your pastor. Encourage your pastor. Tell him you are glad he is your pastor and tell him you are praying for him. If you are a pastor, appreciate your deacons. Love them. Tell them that you cannot do what you do without them. And above all, thank God for the blessing of deacons in the life of the church and for their place in God’s Kingdom.