At Community Bible Church, we are ready to formally appoint deacons. This is an exciting time, and we know that many of you may have questions about this! My hope is that this blog helps answer some of those questions. If you have more questions after, please let us know! With that, here are a few questions we thought you might want answered.
Why Formally Appoint Deacons?
The first reason to appoint deacons is that there was clearly an office of deacon that existed in the New Testament (see 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Philippians 1:1). If for no other reason, it seems wise to follow the biblical pattern of leadership in the church. The New Testament thought it wise to have a designated office of leadership primarily focused on meeting physical needs. At the very least, it seems right to follow the New Testament example.
Second, we are appointing deacons to help share the load of leadership. When too many responsibilities are placed upon on the Ministry Council, we cease to be able to focus on shepherding and spiritual care, which is our primary calling. So, we need people formally set aside and designated to help share the load, specifically in caring for the physical needs of the church.
Third, we are appointing deacons to set a model and example for the church. Deacons are to be model servants in the church. They show us what every faithful Christian ought to look like in their service to the church. Thus, one reason for appointing deacons is to provide an example of what a faithful member ought to look like in his or her service to the church.
What Has Been Our Process in Appointing Deacons?
As elders, we have been discussing the nature of deaconship according to Scripture, and how we would appoint deacons at CBC. We reviewed questions such as; “What exactly deacons do?,” “Do we even need deacons?,” “What are the qualifications of deaconship?,” “Can both men and women be deacons?,” and so on.
After spending some time seeking to define how deacons will serve at CBC, we prayerfully and unanimously agreed on a group of deacon candidates.
Then, once the elders agreed on an initial group of deacon candidates, we approached the candidates to see if they would accept the nomination. This included individual meetings with each candidate, discussing the role they would play. Deacon candidates also spent some time reviewing study materials and the scriptural description of the deacon office. Then, the candidates engaged in follow-up conversations and meetings with Russ and myself to talk about their candidacy, and whether or not they felt called by God to serve in this role.
Please note an important theological conviction behind our process. As we have gone through this, our goal has not been to determine who the elders feel should be deacons, or even to determine who the church feels should be deacons. Our goal has been to discern whom God has called to be deacons here at CBC. This whole process has been an effort to answer that question: Who has God called to serve as a deacon here at CBC? Answering that question necessarily involves elder leadership and congregational affirmation and approval.
This brings us up to today! The deacon candidates we presented before you several weeks ago have been unanimously nominated by the elders, and they have each individually accepted the nomination. But, in order to be appointed as deacons here at CBC, they must be approved by you, the congregation. So, these men and women are currently being presented by the elders as deacon candidates, but they will only be formally appointed upon the approval of the membership of CBC. Our goal will be to install these candidates as deacons at the family gathering on July 22nd, after the worship service. Please join us for that!
What is Your Involvement in this Process?
If you are a CBC member, you should have received a “Deacon Affirmation Form.” On this form, you will find space to write a note of either affirmation or denial for each deacon candidate. We need you to prayerfully either affirm or deny the candidacy of each deacon candidate, and tell us why!
We are asking each of the members to pray over these deacon candidates, and return the affirmation form by July 8th. That has given us all a month to pray, evaluate, and return our affirmation forms to the church office.
As we receive the affirmation forms, the elders will review them. We don’t anticipate there will be any hesitation about any of these nominees. But if there are, and you have written on your form a legitimate reason we should not appoint one of these deacons, one of the elders will follow up with you. We want to be aware if there is something we don’t know, or if you have seen something we haven’t seen. We trust the Spirit to work through all of us, and not just the leadership, as we take this important step. So we want to hear your voice. And, should you have hesitations about any candidate, we want to take that into consideration.
This means that we are not necessarily appointing deacons by majority vote. Instead, we are together determining if these are the people God has called to serve here. If one person writes a legitimate reason that someone should not be installed as a deacon, that may potentially disqualify that person from fulfilling the office. We will take your feedback seriously, precisely because we as elders, as the church, and as deacon candidates together are discerning whom God has gifted to the church to serve in this role.
You may have more questions. To that end, we have also made available a job descriptions of sorts, which describes the deacon role at CBC. If you need a copy of that, please contact the office and we’ll be happy to get that to you!
Who Are Our Deacon Candidates?
Below is our first round of deacon candidates. We must note that these are not the only people we could have nominated for deaconship at CBC. Many members faithfully and functionally serve like a deacon. So we are not saying these are the only people qualified for deaconship. These are simply the folks the Lord has led us to nominate at this time, in this first round of deacon candidates. Additionally, these are not the only deacons will plan to appoint. We anticipate there will be other deacons in the future, and these folks will set the template for deaconship at CBC!
Our initial deacon candidates are:
Lawrence and Ellen Friesen
Keith and Sheri Worrel
Please join us in praying for these candidates and our church as we all seek to faithfully follow our Lord Jesus Christ!