Imagine for a moment a church community that is real about serving each other. That is committed to each other in the muck and mess of life. Imagine for a moment if you can, the leadership of the church walking with and caring for the church community in deep, practical, costly ways for the sake of the bride of Christ. At the heart of this church community, is a group of servant hearted, godly, men and women loving the church deeply as they serve. Who are these godly saints? They are the unsungheroes of the church. The deacons.
TheChurch has sadly neglected the office of deacon serving in and amongst the local church for a long time. Some see the deacons as being the group thatmanages the practical issues of the church like making sure there is enough toilet paper, that the bills are paid and the lawns are mown. Others see this role as being something that doesn’t quite fit within our 21st century church context. Still others see the role of deacon as a second-rateministryor a tokenistic way of acknowledging women in the church.
All of these are views are sadlya misunderstanding of the role of deacons and misses the rich blessing that they are to the local church.Because at the heart of a deacon is service. A service to Christ, for others. Throughout the New Testament, the deacons areseen as vital to local church (eg.Acts 6:1-7; Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
But what does a deacon do? They serve the church. They care for the poor and outcast. They sit beside the lonely. They speak words of comfort to the grief-stricken. As the deacons serve alongside the elders, the church has a capacity to care for the whole person truly deep ways. Together they look to see how the church can grow together in Christlikeness. Our local church has been richly blessed by the ministry of our deacons. Each of our four deacons serves with grace, godliness, and love in every place they minister. They are essential to the pastoral care of our congregation. A common conversation that is hadin many of our churches, is about how we can improve our pastoral care or lamenting that we are neglecting so many people’s needs. But Jesus has already given us a way to care for the church in the ministry of the deacons.
Why not start praying that God would raise up men and women to serve as deacons in our local churches?
Angus is one of the pastors at Orange Presbyterian Church.