Questions Deacons Ask (second in a series)

Doesn’t Acts 6:3 say that the deacons are in charge of the business of the church when it says “whom we may put in charge of this business”?

That’s quite a stretch, friend.

Assuming the question is serious and not frivolous, I would answer a) the word “business” there means “need” or “lack.”  Some translations have it as “this task.”  So, we might infer that deacons are in charge of the needs or lacks of the church, whatever is lacking, wherever there is a need.

And b) but neither here in Acts 6 nor in I Timothy 3, where qualifications for deacons are given, do we find specific directions as to the work of deacons. Read on.

Why doesn’t the Bible say what deacons are to do?

It does. It says they are to serve.

What it does not do is explain what specifically this means for any particular church.  This leads me to believe the Lord is allowing each church to make its own determination on what they need from the deacons.

Often, the needs of a church this year will vary from year to year.  So, the precise ministries of the deacons should not be written in stone (or in the constitution and bylaws), so the church leadership can decide from year to year what the focus of the deacons should be.

My observation is that in most churches the deacons make their own determination on what their ministry will be for a given year. That, however, is a mistake. Using Acts 6:1-7 as our template, it’s clear the leadership decides what needs to be done.  The church leadership as a group should make this decision and ask the deacons to focus there.

How does it work that, as Jesus says, to be great is to be a servant?  On a human level, that doesn’t seem to make sense.

Look at it like this.  When you’re looking for an employee to promote, whom do you choose?  You want the person with the greatest attitude, who has the good of the company at heart, who has no axe to grind and no insecurities to compensate for. He’s always helping and blessing and never griping. That’s the one! You are looking for someone with a servant heart.

When your church is facing a crisis and you’re looking for someone to put in charge of a difficult ministry, what kind of person would you seek out and trust?  The answer is surely someone who has dedicated themselves to serving, to wanting to help and bless, not someone devoted to bossing people around. One with a servant spirit has shown himself/herself to have the good of the congregation at heart and can be trusted.

(Your questions about deacons are welcome. Send to me: joe@joemckeever.com.)

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