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A Deacon Ministry that Works

Belief/Purpose/Practice for a New Testament Deacon
Acts 6:1-7; I Timothy 3:8-13; Philippians 1:1

The genesis for the ministry of deacons starts with a complaint in the church that was beginning to cause the pastoral leadership to “give up or stop preaching the Word and deal with a secondary issue in the church.” This complaint had the potential and the power to bring division and to do harm but ultimately, its greatest threat was to paralyze or to limit the leaders and the effectiveness of the Jerusalem church.

Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit seven men of a certain quality were chosen and assigned to this ministry. These seven men, though not titled or called Deacons, had the responsibility in the early church of being servants. These dedicated men in the book of Acts were called to do service and ministry in their church just like many of you dedicated men have or may be called to do service and ministry in your churches.

Ministry Reasons for New Testament Deacons

  1. To help the Pastor be the Pastor
  2. To be promoters of church unity
  3. To provide ministry to the welfare of the church family
  4. To be a witness for Christ
  5. To be leaders by example
    1. Lead by example with your attendance
    2. Lead by example with your ministry & missions involvement
    3. Lead by example with your tithing and giving
    4. Lead by example with your attitude

These seven men were selected, and the ministry of the New Testament Deacon began so that the church could continue in stronger ways to be an effective witness to the lost.

Character and Qualifications of the New Testament Deacon

Acts 6:1-7; I Timothy 3:8-13

  1. Advance your life with high respect (3:8). Under the umbrella of church and community respect there are three negative statements. (3:8)
    1. Not hypocritical
    2. Not drinking a lot of wine
    3. Not greedy for money
  2. Advance the gospel with consistency and with sincerity (3:9)
  3. Advance the unity of the body of Christ. “When a man becomes a deacon – selected and called by the Holy Spirit chosen by a church, dedicated by personal choice – he forfeits the right to promote, in any fashion, a division in the life of the church.” The Baptist Deacon, Robert Naylor, pg. 11.
  4. Advance the harmony in the Home (3:10-12)
    1. Men who have been tested?
    2. Wives: worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything
    3. Husband of one wife
    4. Managing their own households competently
  5. Advance the reward of the Deacon (3:13)
    • Acquire a good standing for themselves
    • Great boldness in the faith

Six Practical Ways to Minister to the Members

  1. Call, text, or email — church members, prospects and guests, widows, shut ins.
  2. Care – be genuine in your ministry in all areas of caring for people.
  3. Encourage – everyone needs encouragement, and everyone can be an encourager (Truett Cathy).
  4. Mentor – select a younger person who may become a candidate for deacon, teacher, ministry.
  5. Write – personal message written on stationary; people still like to receive good mail.
  6. Visit – no phone call or card can replace the ministry of a genuine visit. (Birthday, death of spouse)

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Ray Swift
Ray serves as the Pastoral Leadership director for Louisiana Baptists, and loves to help pastors and churches succeed in their ministries.

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