Before becoming editor of The Christian Index, I was a pastor for 41 years and had deacons in every church I served. For the most part, they were great, wonderful, godly men. I learned early on that if you resist the devil, he will flee from you, but if you resist the deacons, they will fire you.
However, I generally found that the deacons in the churches I pastored were supportive and helpful. Yes, I had a few who were adversarial, but I also learned that the best way to get rid of your enemies or adversaries is to make them your friends.
I would like to use these paragraphs to give you six reasons why deacons are to be loved and appreciated.
1. Their role in the church is biblically based.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 specifies that the only two church offices are pastors and deacons. Those who love the Bible must love the offices prescribed by the Word of God, and therefore love and appreciate the deacons.
2. They allow the pastor time for spiritual preparation.
Deacons are to perform works of service in order to relieve the pastor of such duties so he can devote himself to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6: 3-4). When they are functioning as they should and when the pastor is praying and preparing his mind and heart to preach as the Bible commands, the church will thrive.
We should love and appreciate the deacons for freeing up the pastor so he can effectively and powerful preach the Word.
3. They are the example of service.
Deacons are to serve the widows and those in the church who have needs. I had a deacon on one occasion who worked in a textile mill and had a shift that allowing him to finish his work at the plant at two o’clock in the afternoon.
Almost every afternoon when he got off he would come by the church to see if there was anything he could do for some church member in need.
He visited the hospitals, nursing homes, widows, and widowers. He was loved by everyone and understood that a deacon’s role was to serve the church.
We should love deacons who just have a heart to serve as Jesus would.
4. They should be men of faith.
When the first seven deacons were selected, Acts 6:5 tell us the early church chose Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” I have had deacons who should have been on the “cold water committee” instead of being a deacon, because they were so negative.
We could never have accomplished anything if the majority of deacons were lacking in faith. Thankfully, most I was privileged to have in my churches were men of faith.
Faith is so important, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And God will move according to our faith (Matthew 9:29). I have always thanked God for deacons who believed that with God all things were possible (Matthew 19:26).
5. They value wisdom.
Deacons to be men of wisdom according to Acts 6:3. Those who are intelligent know a lot of information and have knowledge. Those who are smart are clever, sharp-witted, and astute. However, those who have wisdom are able to analyze a situation, weigh the benefits and consequences, and help a pastor choose the right path.
Maybe I lacked confidence or faith. Maybe I didn’t trust my own judgment, but I always appreciate those deacons who help me evaluate a decision and come to the right conclusion. A church can rightfully love and appreciate those who have godly wisdom.
6. They manage their household well.
Sixth, any church should appreciate deacons who have exemplary homes. II Timothy 3:12 says, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” In Dr. W.A. Criswell’s “Old Time Religion” sermon, which we featured in a recent summary of his ministry, he indicated that he was an adult before he even heard of anyone being divorced.
Divorce has become commonplace in our society; and it is good when a deacon and his family mirror the Biblical principles of a godly home. We should love and appreciate that kind of deacon.
7. He stands apart in his community.
Seventh, a deacon should have good standing in the community. Acts 6:3 indicated that when the church selected those first deacons they should choose men who were of “good report.” When a man is know for his integrity it brings credibility to the church. It raises the moral and spiritual image of the congregation.
That kind of man should beloved and appreciated for his positive and faithful influence.
If you find difficulty in loving and appreciating the deacons in your church you may have a spiritual problem yourself. Or you may have elected men who are not scripturally qualified. The selection of deacons is not meant to be a popularity context, but the choosing of men who meet the conditions of Acts 6: 1-7 and I Timothy 3:8-13.