Our church family will hold it’s annual meeting of the congregation on Sunday, December 1. One of the elements of this meeting will be the election, affirmation or approval … of men who will serve the Lord in this church as Elder and Deacon. Many of you are familiar with our process. We receive a list of nominees from the congregation and the Elders then review those nominated in order to ascertain eligibility, willingness and availability to serve in the area in which they have been nominated. At the conclusion of this process a ballot of election is generated and posted for the congregation to review. This ballot has been posted for the past few weeks and additional copies are available in the church office. The reason for this is to allow time for the members of the congregation to prayerfully consider their vote which will be cast at the annual meeting.
The word Elder, (sometimes written as shepherd, overseer or bishop) is a biblical term found throughout scripture and is generally used to describe a person of age and experience who can help guide others with biblical wisdom. Sometimes the word is used in conversation about the main leadership role of a local church, as in the context of Acts 20; 1st Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Here is the clearest way I can describe the role of an elder in the local congregation; To feed, protect and heal their sheep. Feeding the people under their care by teaching them sound doctrine that leads to spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16). Protecting their sheep from enemies… mainly false teachers who want to lead the sheep astray from the truth (Acts 20:28-31). And, healing their sheep by way of binding the wounds of sin with the bandages of grace, mercy, forgiveness and biblical instruction that leads to right living (Ezekiel 34:4; Ephesians 4:11-6). Additionally, in James 5:14-16 we see the desire and the quest for physical healing interwoven with the need for spiritual healing in which the elders would play a significant part. Pray for the men who will lead in this way. Pray for Godly wisdom, passion and a sense of true calling to this ministry and show them love and respect. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
Now, the Deacon. As in the case of elders, the word Deacon is a biblical term that we have adopted to describe a person’s role in the church family. An example of deacons being selected for a specific purpose can be found in Acts 6:1-8. We also look at what 1st Timothy 3:8-12 has to say to help identify the character traits of a person who could serve well in this role. This bible word, deacon, literally translates as “servant.” But wait a minute… isn’t that what we all are? Shouldn’t all Christians be servants? So, why the title of “deacon”? — Because these “servants” are chosen by the church family and set apart by their compliance to biblical qualifications to serve the Lord’s church and enable others to minister. In other words, - deacons serve, - just as is expected of all believers -, but they also have agreed to put their name on the line and open themselves to the congregation. The example of service found in Acts 6 had to deal with distribution of food so that others could continue in the ministry of the word of God. It is a valuable and leading support role that helps the church fulfill its mission of making disciples. **
I am proud to serve with these men. I care for each one of them… and their families. I ask that you join me in prayer and service for their calling. Here are the names of those who are willing to serve in 2014. Lord willing and with your affirmation, Chris Weinreich is willing to join Kirk Nelson and Mike Sparks to serve as Elders in this congregation. Mark Casey, Larry Heschke, Mark Patten and Jeremy Strasser are willing to serve as Deacons.
Know this church family; You are loved. Pray for me, our current and incoming leaders and the rest of our church family as we also will pray for you. I’ll close with this scripture from 1st Thessalonians 5:12-24. “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
- This I Know… Preacher Tom
** Jack Cottrell’s book, “The Faith Once for All: Bible Doctrine for Today” p. 428-429, served as a major source in the formation of this article.