A congregation is only as good as the leadership. In the last two articles, we talked about the fact that we are all, in a sense, called to be leaders. We asked the question, “are YOU a leader?” We also talked about the structure of biblical leadership given to us in the Ephesians 4 passage. Part of that structure involves what we call deacons (ministry leaders). Today we will talk about what that means to you and your church family.
The word deacon is a Greek word (the New Testament language): “Diakonos.” That means “minister” or “servant.” If you see “deacon” in the Bible, it means minister/servant. They are synonymous terms. So, our deacons are ministers, and our ministers are deacons. We ALL should be servants, but ministry leaders are appointed over specific tasks like benevolence, money, children, activities, etc. A good example of this is Acts 6:2-4 when we see the first deacons in the Bible. If you read the passage, it says that the 12 (the apostles) were supposed to help people like everyone else. But their focus as leaders was on the spiritual things, not practical things. Deacons/ministry leaders are supposed to be spiritual as well, but the focus is on being over the practical things so that other leaders in our church family can focus on their particular responsibilities.
Many times, we have elders deal with money, getting things started, and staff issues, but that isn’t God’s desire for His family structure. The ministry leaders are over that kind of thing according to Scripture. Not the elders. And the congregation should agree on who becomes a ministry leader, not just the elders. It isn’t God’s will for elders (shepherds) or preachers to control everything or be a Christian for the congregation. His will is for us all to be open to the Spirit leading us to use the gifts He has given us for the family of God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12). You are ALL needed, and you ALL have a responsibility to use the gifts given to you for the family of God. So, I hope to see you there as we strive to be more biblical in our family structure. Next time we will talk about elders and shepherds and their responsibilities in church leadership. – Jesse