If you weren’t at church on Sunday night you missed an important announcement. In two weeks, (Sunday, April 29, 2012), we will be announcing the names of the men and women who have been nominated to serve our church as deacons. Since you, (the members of The Vineyard), will be the ones submitting nominations, your pastors thought it would be prudent to give you another reminder of the requirements and responsibilities of these recognized servants.
Responsibility of Deacons
In Acts 6 Luke records the calling of the first deacons who were charged with serving the Jerusalem fellowship by distributing food in a fair way. That text serves as the basis for a proper understanding of the biblical role of the Deacon body. They are to be the servants of the church.
At The Vineyard, then, the deacon body will follow this example and will be charged with serving the needs of our church. For example this service could mean organizing meals for a family that is welcoming a new baby, leading the collection of donated items for a homeless ministry, or checking in on someone that hasn’t been to church in a while. Whatever the specific task, the deacon body is there to serve the church.
Qualifications for Deacons
The original deacons were to meet two primary qualifications; they were each to have a good reputation and “be full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:4, ESV). Later, while maintaining these two primary categories, Paul further explained the qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. They should:
- Be dignified, not double-tongued (v. 8)
- Not be addicted to much wine (v. 8)
- Not be greedy for dishonest gain (v. 8)
- Hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience (v. 9)
- Be tested first (v. 10)
- Be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well (v. 12)
- Be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded (v. 11)
- Be faithful in all things (v. 11)
So, over the next two weeks be praying about the members of our church. Is there someone among us that you feel meets these qualifications and already serves in an exemplary way? As you recognize them, text one of us (Justin, Dave, or Brad) their name, and on April 29 we’ll announce the nominees. On May 6, 2012 we will vote to recognize the first deacon body in The Vineyard’s short, but illustrious history.
…The Greek word for “wives” (gynē, here plural) can mean either “women” or “wives.”…(The word “their” is not explicit in the Greek text but, according to the first interpretation, it represents the sense of the verse in the context of vv. 8–13.) These women appear abruptly in the flow of the text. A reference to the wives of deacons would make good sense, leading into the discussion of the deacon’s family in v. 12. However, the term likewise in similar cases often introduces a new group (e.g., 2:9; 3:8; Titus 2:3, 6). Also, the discussion of overseers lacked any reference to their wives. This would support understanding these women as deacons or assistants. Romans 16:1 refers to Phoebe as a “servant” or “deacon” or “deaconess” (Gk. diakonos; see ESV footnote); see note on Rom. 16:1. If the office of deacon is understood as involving church-wide teaching or governing authority, then 1 Tim. 2:11–15 would not permit women to carry out these functions. The fact that teaching is not mentioned as a responsibility of the deacons would seem to indicate that this was not a role that Paul intended for deacons.
We follow this line of interpretation. If you would like more information, see one of your pastors.