How to be a Good Fundamental Baptist Deacon
Lets lay out on the table a valid argument. I am a Pastor. Deacons have a bad rap that they are the nemesis of Pastors. Deacons have been known to destroy the ministry of a good pastor. But the overwhelming majority of deacons are valuable assets to any Church. So I am biased toward the majority.
What does it take to be a Good Deacon?
The absolute first qualification is that a good deacon has to be saved. He has to a child of God by birth. He has to know how he got saved and why he got saved.
A good deacon has to meet the qualifications specified in I Timothy 3. He should also fit the description of the men described in Acts 6.
Lets deal with the biggest question regarding deacons first. That is regarding one wife or one at a time. The new argument that has been postulated on a fabricated fact is preposterous. The Church at Ephesus was not filled with bigamists. The multiple wives syndrome may have existed outside the Church, but it did not within the Church so it would not have been necessary for Paul to distinguish deacons to be the husband of one wife at a time. It is also evident that divorce and remarriage existed, but again was not a prevalent makeup of any of the early churches so Paul was not trying to maintain some kind of barrier in the office of deacon. Paul was laying out qualifications for a Bishop (Pastor) and a deacon. The husband of one wife, meant that a deacon could only have one living wife and no former living wives. If you cannot accept the last statement, I urge you to compare what the phrase "one wife" with the one found in I Tim. 5:9. Suffice it to say this a true Fundamental Baptist Church will hold to "one wife" period.
The second biggest question regarding deacons is how much authority and power do they wield in a Church?
The answer to that is that they have no more power or authority than the pastor or the janitor of a real Church. In fact they don't have any power or authority at all. They just have a job to do. They were chosen and elected to carry out that job. It is not wise or scriptural for them to consider the office of deacon other than a designated and delegated job. There were needs in the Jerusalem Church and those needs exist in Churches ever since. Men are appointed today to ultimately do the same thing that the 7 men of Acts 6 were appointed to do. The only extended information about any of the original deacons was that they became preachers and evangelists. Stephen died for preaching the Word. Philip wound up winning a great part of North Africa through one Ethiopian. Any deacon that assumes that he is some kind of authority over the pastor, has lost his bearing and his marbles.
What are the Duties of a Good Deacon?
What are the duties of a good deacon? Simple! Do what the Pastor and or the other deacons tell him to do. Learn how to be a servant in the Church. Help the widows, orphans & needy. Be prepared for God's hand (not mens hands) to put you into the work of the ministry. Why, you could wind up in Africa as a missionary. If you are not willing to do that then resign from God and the deacon bored. A deacon is just a servant.. don't forget.
A deacon should be qualified to do whatever needs to be done. He may need to unplug a commode or he may be needed to teach the auditorium Sunday School class. His attitude should be, here am I Lord, send me. It seems to me that Isaiah may have been the equivalent of a deacon in Isaiah 6. The good deacon will not be a wimp but he must have the self assurance of a living Lord.
A good deacon should not be just a yes man to the Pastor, but the Pastor should be assured that he is not dealing with an adversary in proposals, programs or plans. It is great to have someone who can express a different point of view but maintain an obvious support of leadership. A Pastor is not omniscient so other ideas can be helpful but as the chosen and elected leader of the Church he must have the right to reject others' ideas or opinions. By the way if an adversarial spirit begins to rise between the Pastor and Deacon or vice versa, then both need to sit down and resolve
the disparity between themselves. If conflict cannot be resolved by that meeting, then other witnesses should be called in. If the conflict cannot be resolved with their counsel, then the obvious and scriptural avenue is to bring the matter(s) before the Church. A simple majority vote must settle the differences. If the officer on the smaller vote side, still has grievence, his only alternative is to leave the Church.
But, lets suppose that according to the majority of cases, there is harmony between the Pastor and deacon; what are the duties of the deacon? He must be a faithful supporter of the Church, both in finance and faithfulness. His only reason for missing a Church service must be excusable before God. He must involve himself in the physical maintanance and projects of the Church. He must feel the responsibility to encourage lagging Church members to faithfulness. He will be directly and personally involved in reaching prospects for the Lord. He will exercise any talents that God has given in the ministry of the services. He will be ready and willing to step in and fill any task that he is able to accomplish. He must never be a part of the sowing of discord within the Church. Rather, if he is aware of such conflicts, do what he can to root out the discord and settle it properly. It would be wise to be in communication with the Pastor in resolving any such matters.
The deacon should rise above the norm in personal Bible study. Bible study is the key to maturity and ability in the Lord's house. The many areas of instruction and learning within a Church usually demand that every officer be ready and able to step into the teaching ministry.
One more thing that should go without saying, but I must say it. Deacons in a Fundamental Baptist Church must be men, real men, mighty men of faith. This job is not for ladies and certainly not for women. Women are forbidden from taking any kind of authority over men in a Church.... forbidden by God's Word. That should settle any question.
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