01/05/14 Deacon Ordination

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, January 10, 2014 Under: Sermon

The word in the New Testament for "deacon" is diakonos. The word in classic Greek referred to the servant (slave) of a king, especially one who acted in the capacity of a waiter, serving food and drink. Thus in the New Testament the word was used to describe the office of those who cared for the poor in the church and who distributed to them the money collected in their behalf. The deacons of the church were the servants of the church. They were chosen for that assignment, to help, to save, to care for the temporal necessities of the people.

The idea of a "board" of deacons is as strange and unknown to the New Testament church as would be a band of Hitlers and Stalins composing the chosen twelve apostles of the Lord. A ruling board is an idea imported from the corporate life of American business. It has no place in a true, New Testament church. A deacon-led church will always be a weak, pitiful congregation, floundering before every wind of secular change. God ordained the pastor, the elder, the bishop to be the spiritual leader and ruler of the congregation. Where he is that and truly that and capably that, the church grows in strength and will forever. Where he is not that and where he becomes a hireling of the deacons, the church withers and dies. God in his infinite wisdom set the order and the constitution of his true church. Blessed and happy is the congregation that follows that order in the mind and purpose of heaven.

It is far better to refer to "the fellowship of deacons" than to refer to "the board of deacons." The word fellowship (Greek koinonia) is a beautiful, wonderful New Testament word, translated "communion"; "fellowship." Let us use it. It is God's word for his people.

It has been my experience through the years that without fail the deacons need and desire a real leader, a real pastor. They want the preacher to stand before them and tell them what ought to be done, to present a challenging program to them. They are ready to follow-, to work, to build, to go if they have a man of God and a man of vision to lead the way.

Upon a day the chairman of the deacons of one of the largest churches in our denomination came to see me here in Dallas. He wanted me to talk to his pastor. He said: "We love our pastor but he doesn't lead us. At our deacons' meeting he just sits there and if a decision has to be made, he answers, 'Whatever you deacons decide will be fine with me.' We want him to speak up, stand up, tell us what we ought to do, and where we ought to go. Please talk to him and see if you can't change him." Of course, I couldn't do such a thing, but his plaintive, pathetic appeal moved my heart. A worthy deacon wants to move, to achieve, to do things for his Savior, and he depends on the pastor to help him do it. - Criswell's, Guidebook for Pastors

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