I’m pro-deacon. I am one-hundred percent for these godly men* who will stand with their pastor, will minister to people, who love the Lord, are always on guard for threats to the unity and work of the church, and care not one whit who gets the credit so long as the Kingdom of God is advanced.
The pastor who has such men surrounding him or in back of him is one blessed dude, I’ll tell you that.
On the other hand.
I’m “anti” the deacon who wants to control a church, dominate a pastor, run the business of the congregation, and push his own agenda. The Lord Jesus is dishonored by such little despots and His church has been hampered long enough by them.
The Lord once asked, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
Why, I wonder, do some people want to take the mantle of a servant (diakonos is Greek for servant) in order to bully others?
My wife and I have two sons who are active in church. Neil, the older, is a deacon and has just come off two years as chairman. Marty belongs to one of these avant-garde Baptist churches that was started last week and now runs several zillion; I seriously doubt if they have deacons. If they do, they could do far worse than having that young man among them.
Each of my sons has a son. (My daughter has only daughters.) I could wish that Grant, 18, and Jack, 11, would someday live such a life that their churches would choose them to stand with the pastor as servants of God’s people.
If that happens, if and when all my fellows become deacons of their churches, my fondest hope and dream for them is that:
1) They will always be men of God first and foremost.
2) They will love their pastors and support/encourage them. And if the day comes when they can no longer support their pastor, let them resign as deacons. (The single exception is if the pastor is in major violation of moral or legal or scriptural principles and should be the one to leave.)
3) They will pray for their pastors (the primary pastor and his staff) and other key leadership. I want them to believe in the power of prayer to the point that they are constantly calling on the Father for help and guidance. Far from being a weakness, this is their strength.
4) They will minister to others whether or not they are on the active deacon board. “Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait to be bonafide. Just go serve.”
5) They will serve quietly, not drawing attention to themselves, not minding if others get elected to more visible positions, and rejoice when others are recognized for service instead of them. This is maturity.
6) They are tithers and witnesses and encouragers. They are not battlers over the fine points of theology, but generic disciples of Jesus Christ.
7) In time, younger men will come to them to ask how to serve as deacons, how to deal with certain troublesome people, how to arrange their priorities.
*A footnote: I said “godly men.” I am well aware that the term Paul uses in I Timothy 3 may well be interpreted as meaning “women deacons” instead of “wives.” There are godly women serving as deacons also. However, as I often feel the need to explain here, my frame of reference is my own. I’m Southern Baptist, and while I have absolutely nothing against women serving as deacons, I’ve never actually had any in my churches. If you are a woman serving as a deacon, God bless you. If either (or all) of my six granddaughters become deacons in their churches, I will be as proud as it’s possible to get.