Back in November, FBC adopted an updated structure for both congregational governance and ministry structure. An important – perhaps the most important – element of the changes was the formal renewal of Deacon ministry. This new-again body is referred to as the Deacon Leadership Team.
In the New Testament, we read of the origins of this church office. It was born out of a need to meet the needs of the people in a way that involved more people and freed the elders to put more focus on the teaching of the Word. Funny thing, it was a food fight that brought the need to light – look it up, you’ll be amused. The answer to the problem was found when a number of the faithful were set aside to carry out this important work. There was work to do, a body of believers to deploy, people to reach, and a reputation to establish and protect.
A couple of millenniums later we are returning by name and function the work of Deaconship in FBC. In short, this group was created here, as in Acts, to work with the pastors to tend the ministry of the church. In its simple form, that involved a lot of personal touch. Still does. The work of the modern church is considerably more complex, but the concept and calling remain the same. Serve in ways that help the church be the church for its people and all the people it endeavors to touch. At FBC, we envision our deacons sharing in the work of pastoral care, outreach, practical support, and a host of other things that simply cannot – and should not – be left only to the vocational ministers.
During the first worship service in February we will have the chance to affirm the first group of folks to serve in this old, but newly-reformed ministry. We will present a list of folks to constitute the body that we will refer to as the DLT, or active Deacons. We anticipate that we will learn by doing just how many Deacons it takes to accomplish the tasks. This first team is being constructed to be representative of our congregation in terms of age, stage, tenure, gender, and areas of ministry. In time, others will be grafted onto the tree that will rise up to cast shade, bear fruit, and beautify our church and its ministry.
This is exclusively a serving body, with no specific administrative powers or responsibilities. And that’s fine – the Pastoral and Executive leadership Teams are there for that. But no group will bear more influence on the future of FBC’s life and ministry than our Deacons. As we bring this group into being and aggressively deploy them, let me express my thanks to the many people who have served as Deacons in another day. While past ordination and service will not automatically include them as active Deacons, the ministry of today rests squarely upon the ministry of past generations. To that end, we render our honor and appreciation for the work and wisdom imparted by these fine folks.
Sunday, I will tackle the third of “These Three Things”, and you can bet it will have something to do with what I have written to you today. Meaningful worship and the call to be families for young adults and families with be joined by its triplet sibling. And together they will provide for us a clear set of priorities as we focus on and fulfill the the things we want to most and mightily known for.