Each year First Baptist Church elects twelve men to serve as deacons for a two year period. These twelve men join the previous twelve elected to make up the deacon body of First Baptist Church.
At FBC deacons have the responsibility to jealousy guard the unity of the church and lead it to health. Deacons contact new attendees, visit the homebound and in hospitals, and help minister in crisis situations. The deacons are men of prayer and good works.
Why deacons? Why not some other form of leadership that seems to work adequately for other Christian groups. I do not wish to denigrate the traditions and decisions of others, but I do want to lay out the case for deacons in the church. In the New Testament, two groups make up the leadership of the church: pastor/teachers and deacons. Philippians 1:1 makes that clear in the church at Philippi, a very healthy church that seems to fit the norm in the New Testament. Paul addressed his letter “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” The word for “deacons” here and in other New Testament passages is a word that has the idea of a “bond-slave” or “servant.” Paul wrote to all the saints with particular emphasis to bishops (pastors) and deacons. The plain implication seems to be that these were the main leaders of the church.
Paul’s call for deacons of character and honor suggests the importance of deacons in the leadership of the church (1 Tim. 3:8-13). These are men with healthy families and strong character. They are men who can take a stand (not double-tongued) and who have been tested under fire and proven worthy.
In the New Testament, deacons and pastors work alongside one another. Deacons work to care for the congregation (if Acts 6:1-7 refers to deacons) and assist and aid pastors. This is a healthy model for ministry and leadership.
Our goal should be a biblical model that accepts all of Scripture. Pastor/teachers and deacons should all serve under the Lordship of the Master Teacher.
All should accept the example of Christ who emptied himself, took on the form of a servant, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death (Phil. 2:7-8). Like the fruit of the Spirit, “against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:23).