Deacons at Hope
Hope Weekly 2/24/14
Deacons at Hope Covenant Church
In January, we commissioned our first group of deacons at Hope Covenant. In case you missed the service that day, I want to introduce you to the role and responsibilities of deacons and the people we have appointed to serve our congregation.
Deacon is the Greek word for servant or minister and it was one of the first established roles in the early church. You can read the account of how they came about in Acts 6:1-7.
1But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” 5Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. 7So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.
Throughout the history of the church, deacons have been appointed based on their trustworthy character. Their main responsibility is to meet the physical and practical needs of the people. With deacons deployed in the church, the pastor is free to focus on things like prayer, teaching and the leadership of the church. Having a thriving team of deacons at Hope will ensure that more of our people in need will have a faithful and compassionate companion in their time of hardship.
For the past decade we have been meeting the needs of our people mainly through our pastoral staff. Now that our congregation averages 450 every Sunday, we pastors (3 full-time and 3 part-time) simply cannot meet all of our people’s needs ourselves. Now we have 7 deacons who have been properly vetted, approved by the elders and commissioned by the congregation. The deacons will be trained and led throughout the year by Pastor Duane and me. Our deacons are Justin Adams, Bruce and Cathy Kalin, Bruce Heimkes, Sarah Keough, Karen Pfautz and Pam Ziegler.
When the staff hears of a need in our congregation, Duane and I will appoint one of our deacons to reach out to the individual or family. The deacon will assess their practical and physical needs – do they need meals, transportation, help with a project, prayer support, etc. – and use church resources and volunteers to meet those needs as best we can. Beyond that, our deacons will be compassionate listeners, supporters and encouragers, praying often with and for the one in need. They will often play many roles at once – listener, coach, encourager, mentor, friend – but overall they are a servants of God and the church.
Our staff tries to stay in tune with the needs in our congregation but of course we don’t know everything that is going on with everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty and may need or want the support of the church, please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
With warmth, Pastor Corrie