Deacons and “Deaconing”

The following is taken from A Display of God’s Glory, by Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C.

The Bible, though, presents service quite differently. In our modern translations of the New Testament, the word diakonosis usually translated as “servant,” but sometimes as “minister,” and sometimes it is just transliterated as “deacon.” It can refer to service in general (e.g., Acts 1:17, 25;19:22;Rom.12:7;I Cor.12:5;16:15;Eph.4:12;Col.4:17;II
Tim.1:18;Philemon 13;Heb.6:10;I Pet 4:10-11;Rev.2:19), to rulers in particular (e.g.,Rom.13:4), or to caring for physical
needs (e.g.,Matt.25:44;Acts 11:29;12:25;Rom.15:25,31;II Cor. 8:4, 19-20; 9:1, 12-13; 11:8)… Angels serve in this way. (e.g.,Matt.4:11;Mark 1:13). It sometimes refers specifically to waiting tables (e.g., Matt. 22:13; Luke
10:40;17:8;John 2:5,9;12:2), and though such service was despised in the Greek world, Jesus regarded it very differently. In John 12:26 Jesus said, “Whoever deacons me must follow me; and where I am, my deacon also will be. My Father will honor the one who deacons me.” Again in Matt. 20:26 (cf.Mark 9:35) Jesus said, “whoever wants to be great, must be your deacon.” And in Matt. 23:11 (cf. Mark 10:43; Luke 22:26-27)he said that “the greatest among you will be your deacon.”

In fact, Jesus even presented himselfas a type of deacon (e.g., Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:26-27; cf. John 13; Luke 12:37; Romans 15:8). Christians are presented as being deacons of Christ or His Gospel. That’s how the apostles are depicted (Acts 6:1-7), and it is certainly how Paul regularly refers to himself and to those who worked with him (e.g.,Acts 20:24:I Cor.3:5;II Cor.3:3,6-9;4:1;5:18;6:3-4; 11:23; Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:23; I Tim. 1:12; II Tim. 4:11). He referred to himself as a deacon among the Gentiles, the particular group he was called specially to serve (Acts 21:19; Rom. 11:13). Paul calls Timothy a deacon of Christ (e.g., I Tim. 4:6; II Tim. 4:5), and Peter says that the Old Testament prophets were deacons to us Christians (I Pet. 1:12). Angels are called deacons (Heb. 1:14), and even Satan, too, has his deacons (II Cor.3:6-9;11:15;Gal.2:17).

Scripture actually uses the word “deacon” most often as a verb. The point is that being a Deacon is most often identified with the action of service to others unto Christ. Beginning in Acts 6 there really are 3 primary roles for the deacon:

1) To serve the temporal and physical needs of the body of Christ
2) To promote unity within the body of Christ
3) To support the work of the elders (pastors / overseers) in the body Christ

I have never been around a group of men that are so eager to exercise their role as deacons in this biblical form. They are serious about being qualified men and they are serious about establishing the deacon ministry at University Baptist Church to be something that reflects the biblical norm for years to come.

Without going into too much detail at this point, let me tell you a bit about our deacon ministry. The deacons have adopted widows / widowers, having recently had a banquet in their honor. They are divided into support groups for each pastor, praying regularly for us and serving us. They are working diligently alongside myself in developing a Family Ministry Plan in which each family in the church will have a deacon that will regularly be in touch with EVERY member of the church to assess needs, promote unity and assist in any way possible. Lastly, and vitally, they are praying through every name we have on our membership roll. These men are a blessing to me.

I mention this because the nomination of qualified men is a biblical task for the local congregation as stated in Acts 6. We have just one week left to gain nominations from the body to serve the next ministry term beginning in September. David Ferguson has taken great leadership as Deacon Chairman to help insure that we conduct this process earlier than normal so that we can rightly assess the character and qualifications of each nominee and present the candidates back to the body for approval in a timely manner.

Please prayerfully consider men of “good repute” and nominate them to the deacon body for consideration. There are forms available in the foyer and we are attempting to make some information available on the website under the “Equipping” area of our website.


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