Published on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 00:18
Written by Maiya Wall
As Restoration City Church continues forward in the church planting process, we have begun to reach out to our core group members to prayerfully consider applying for and entering into deacon training. To those familiar with religious words, the term "deacon" carries with it some baggage. To those unfamiliar with religious words, the term probably just makes you tilt your head like a dog who heard a high-pitched sound.
To serve your understanding better...
There are only two offices laid out in the scriptures for the leadership and service of the Church: elder (pastor / bishop / overseer / shepherd) and deacon (diakonos / servant). We see the need for deacons to be identified and installed in Acts 6:1-7:
1Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
The Apostle Paul, writing to a pastor named Timothy, lays out the qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13:
8Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Our next step in planting Restoration City Church--making disciples who will live on mission, working to see the Hampton area transformed by the Gospel of Jesus--is to train and install qualified deacons who will serve their church family and community with their acts of service. These will be men and women who live repentant lives worthy of imitation. They will take to heart Paul's encouragement to, "be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."
If you are a member of RCC and believe the Lord would have you aspire to serve your church as a deacon, please speak with Pastor Matt any Sunday evening, after our weekly services. He will follow up with an emailed application and further instructions.
Q: Can men and women be installed as deacons?
A: Yes. There is no apparent scriptural reason to refuse women from serving as deacons. There are more than several women referred to in the NT as deacons (actually, "deaconesses"). Historically, many individual churches have chosen to limit the office to women--we leave it to those elders to respond to the scriptures as they believe they must. Historical church tradition, while often helpful, isn't binding as the commands of scripture are.
Q: Can a divorcee apply to be a deacon?
A: The fundamental meaning of 1 Timothy 3:12 is that a deacon is a "one-woman kind of guy." One spouse at a time, folks. This doesn't mean that a person who's been divorced (or widowed!) before can't now become a deacon, but instead, that a deacon is a person who is faithful to his or her spouse, as Christ is faithful to the Bride, His church.
Q: Do the deacons vote on the governing matters of Restoration City Church?
A: No. At a later time, when there are enough deacons, a "deacon board" may be formed, but the deacons will not govern and "rule" the church. The role of voting on governing church matters is left in the prayerful, obedient hands of qualified elders. Deacons at RCC will not be bossy people with funny paper hats and cardboard badges, slinging around their religious weight as they swagger around the church. Instead, deacons will embody humble Christian ministry, attempting to honor others before themselves and not counting themselves as "above" others.
Q: What does deacon training look like?
A: The process may take anywhere between five months up to possibly a year. Deacon candidates will apply with the lead pastor, submitting a community group leader reference form as well.The rest of the process (in summary) looks like this:
- Regular meetings with your coach--you'll report on your progress through the reading and listening assignments, as well as personal spiritual growth counsel
- Meetings will generally be spaced out at twice a month--depending on the pace and season of life, the candidate may meet more or less frequently.
- After completing all coaching and assignments in a satisfactory manner, you'll complete a take-home theological exam (written).
- After one final interview over dinner, you'll be brought before the church. Any member with a disqualifying argument against you will have one week to submit it in writing.
- Finally, you'll be installed as a deacon and assume any new assignments reserved for the office of deacon.
For more information, email to: