Dr. Jim Henry had a few deacons from First Baptist, Orlando come by his home early in his pastoral ministry to pray for him. They told him, “Anybody who comes after you has to come through us first.” Dr. Henry later said, “Those guys kept their word. Deacons have had my back for over 50 years.”
You will want to see Dr. Henry’s powerful 2 minute testimony about his deacons.
I believe deacons are God’s gift to pastors and churches. Pastors and deacons have been serving side-by-side imperfectly for two millennia for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.
The widow project in Acts 6 was more than mere benevolence debacle—it was an all out widow war. These first deacons were sort of a Special Ops team, and their first mission was a peacekeeping mission. Without these deacons, I believe Christianity’s first church might have split right in two.
It started with “a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked” (Acts 6:1).
The Greek word for complaint describes the buzzing of bee wings. Who was complaining? Apparently, the widows were not the ones complaining to the apostles; it was other members on their behalf.
Phil 2:14 says, “Do everything without grumbling [buzzzz] and arguing.”
How can a deacon protect the unity of his church? By “making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
Sometimes it is not the members who are fighting, but the leaders. In Acts 4-5 the attacks on the church came from outsiders. By Acts 6 we see the church is threatened by cantankerous insiders. If I were the devil, I would wreak havoc in the church by pitting pastors and deacons against each other.
Disunity distracts and depletes you more than nearly anything else in the church. The Jerusalem church could have stopped growing had the pastors become distracted. Who did God send to help these first pastors out? Deacons. (Acts 6)
Pastor, when is the last time you asked your deacons to help you watch over the flock? If you are solving all the problems in your church, don’t blame the deacons you have not deployed.
If your pastor is drowning, don’t yell advice from the shore, jump in and help him! If your pastor is putting out all of the church fires, perhaps it is because you have abdicated your peacemaking role.
Embracing your original role directly contributes to the health and growth of both your pastor and your church.
PASTOR & DEACONS:
Commit now to being partners to fight against the devil and disunity in your church. Forgive each other as Christ forgave you. Get each other’s back when your biblical ministry partner is vulnerable to an attack.