Beloved Freemason Street,
At this time in our church year, we turn our attention to the nomination of deacons. I have been asked to share to the discernment process which you commit to when choosing candidates for the diaconate. I think I can best do this by asking you to look at our church’s emblem.
It is our steeple trumpet, Gabriel’s trumpet, surrounded by a ring. I see deacons as the ring which encircles the trumpet. Your deacons enfold this congregation, giving guidance, emotional support, and spiritual direction; we are the primary givers, in partnership with the pastors, of congregational care.
With this in mind, those being considered for the diaconate should, above all, have the heart of a servant. Also, they should be those who seek to grow in their faith and show evidence of this by attending worship and joining other opportunities to stretch themselves spiritually.
There are some basic criteria which must be met: Candidates should be twenty-one years of age, baptized Christians, and a formal members of this faith community.
Do not look for perfect, holy, pious people. They are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Look for a person who is trying to be what God would have them be. Deacons should be thought of as the bringers of joy and comfort, not only as givers of communion and collectors of the offering.
Where should you look to find these servant leaders?
Look for those who are DOING things in the church. It’s easy to see those engaged in the major service projects. But please also keep your eyes open for those doing the quiet acts of service. Doing things after the crowds have left when no one is around to see them. Those making the calls and visits, sending cards and notes. And although having strong leadership in our congregation is important, we are reminded that upon ordination, deacons are given towels not gavels.
We receive our direction for having deacons in the Church from Scripture. The much noted description of choosing of the first deacons points the way to how our deacon service can be interpreted. The first deacons were called to relieve the apostles from the necessary care of the people, so the apostles could tend to the spreading of the Gospel.
Our deacons are called to this pastoral support as well. Our pastors cannot be expected to give the leadership we ask for and at the same time be accountable for all congregational care. Deacons are called to support our pastors in this way so that they can tend to the work of spreading the Gospel and growing the Kingdom.
In this process I ask three things of you:
Firstly, Pray. Pray to see clearly those men and women in our congregation God would have do this work.
Secondly, please, please, please, ask the person you want to nominate for their permission. Do not make a nomination without discussing this with the person you have chosen. Let them know the qualities you see in them and encourage them.
And, thirdly, pray some more. Pray people will say yes to the call. Pray we will have a strong diaconate. Pray for you current deacons, a very small band of believers, with a very big charge to keep.
Chair of Deacons
This was originally presented to the church during worship on October 2, 2022.