Heather and I cannot express to you the great joy we have when thinking of our faithful deacons. I love these four men and their faithful wives. There are times that I would likely give up the fight without these godly men and women who continually hold their pastor up in prayer and loyal love. Robert & Denise Miller served as our first worship leaders. Robert leading the hymns while Denise played the piano. They still sing in the choir and occasionally our praise team. Brandon & Kate Snook have worked with our Youth Ministry longer than any of our Youth Pastors have been here. Michael & Angela McConnell teach classes, serve in nursery, serve on the financial committee and lead a small group. Kelly & Lita Bonsignori are dedicated leaders in AWANA and willingly serve wherever is needed.
I Timothy 3:8-13 gives the Biblical Qualifications for the deacon and many believe Acts 6 gives the responsibilities of the first deacons. However, I believe the Bible is purposely vague on all the responsibilities of the deacon so as to allow each and every individual church to utilize the position of the deacon to best suite their individual needs. At Southern Hills our Deacons serve as Ministry Supervisors in specific ministries as mentioned above. They also assist me with the Ordinances passed down from Christ in Communion / Lord’s Supper Services and Baptism. In the spirit of Acts 6 our Deacons are given control of the Benevolence Fund used to help church members in dire circumstances. They assist pastor Fred Murray in the preparation of the Annual Budget and set salaries for myself and the staff. Yet the most important role they serve is as my personal counselors and advisors.
I meet with my deacons every month for breakfast at our local iHop. Over omelets and pancakes we discuss the direction of the church, decisions that need to be made and personal fears, frustrations and failures with which I may be struggling. I share with them my heart. Here I am most open and vulnerable. Here I know that I am safe and they know they are free to ask anything and question everything. We all feel this freedom because they are extremely loyal to me and I to them. However, the Lord has allowed me to find four men who are more loyal to the Bible and the Lord than they are to their pastor. They are spiritually mature men who know the Bible and are confident in their personal walk with God and are able to challenge me in my direction and vision. I have come to a place os such trust in these men that I will not make a major decision within the church without first receiving their counsel and guidance. I am God’s man, yes, but they are godly men who I need to fulfill my calling. Many times Heather and I have received a kind note with a gift card from one of our deacons. Many times, sensing my personal struggles, I have received an email or text message encouraging my heart. Never have I had one of these men yell at me, mock me or discourage me. They are more than my friends, they are my deacons.
For some reason Southern Hills loves their pastor! I am truly blessed. They support me and follow my lead (I Cor. 11:1). With all of my supporters, the ones who faithfully follow and show their support in the biggest ways are my deacons. When their young and inexperienced pastor stand in front of the church and calls upon God to do the impossible, they stand behind him. When Josh & Heather charge into the darkness, led only by the Word of God and the Spirit’s voice, they are the eight you will see following close on their heels. If every church had the men and women who serve in our deacon’s ministry I believe our churches would be experiencing revival in greater measure than we have ever seen.
Do you know of any of our deacons personally? What do you believe the role of the deacon should be? Are you a Deacon in another ministry, How do you function in your role? Please comment below: