This morning is a very special morning in the life of Denny and Mardell, Kim and Trish, and for our church.
Today they take a tremendous step in the ministry to His Lord by becoming a Deacon here at Center Hill Church of the Brethren; and today we honor that commitment with a service which sets him apart.
Being a Deacon means that they enters the leadership of our church, and I would like to pass onto them four responsibilities that are expected of Deacons.
First, deacons are to be care-takers (1 Peter 5:1-4).
1 Peter 5:1-4 (NKJV)
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Deacons are caretakers in the church, as God has ordained it.
Although they are not the pastor, they are responsible for the membership and the care of those who attend our church.
And as a deacon, you will be expected to care for the members here, not only on Sunday and Wednesday but on all days.
When you care for someone, you are demonstrating the life of Jesus Christ.
You are being available for them and they need to see that in you.
Each human being is simply looking for someone to show us compassion and love, and most importantly commitment.
And as a faithful servants you have taken that step this morning to say even without words, "I am here, and I am available to you."
By setting the example of care others will follow -- always remember that.
Second, deacons are to prayer warriors (James 5:14-16).
James 5:14-16 (NKJV)
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Since the beginning of the Church, elders have had to meet specific qualifications in order to serve.
They have lived their lives upright and godly and therefore the sin in their lives is confessed regularly; therefore, they are clean before the Lord and able to pray for the sick.
Again Look at James 5:15-16 (NKJV)
15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:16 (MSG)
The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
In order to have your prayers be effective, we need to be clean before the Lord; and that amplifies having a right relationship with Him.
No one should ever say that they are sinless (for that is impossible), but if your sins are confessed to the Lord, it means your relationship with Him will be upright, and thus you can pray for others effectively.
The key to a strong ministry is prayer -- NEVER allow your prayer life to suffer for anything that may come your way.
Live your life with God first, always.
Third, deacons are to be peacemakers in the church (Acts 15:1-2). Demonstrates this example perfectly.
Acts 15:1-2 (NKJV)
1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
I read this as saying two things to the deacon of the church:
Paul and Barnabas (aka "the encourager") were sent to discuss this matter because they knew it to be false doctrine.
They did not send someone in their place, they did not discuss the matter with others so that it would filter back (avoiding gossip) - they handled this dispute personally.
What this passage teaches that Deacons are considered decision makers in the church, and they stand for what is right.
They do not do things alone; they consult others and they agree through faith on what should be done.
I want you to see once again that Paul took another with him, and we know that although Barnabas was the encourager; he was also a servant who stood faithfully on the Word of God.
Being a deacon means that you may have to settle a dispute now and then; and you should handle it personally and in a godly manner.
This puts to rest matters of gossip, self-promoting, or any other characteristic that is ungodly.
Men and women of God are to rise above this, and your church expects you to do the same.
Finally, deacons are to set the example (1 Tim 3:8-10).
Deacons are different than a Pastor, they are not above a pastor but they are also responsible for the condition of the flock.
1 Timothy 3:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
Two things come out of this verse that I want to encourage you with:
You will be tested, and you will continue to be tested - remain faithful to the Lord and He will continue to lift you up and sustain you.
Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Setting the example of humbleness and submission is the key to being a servant; and most importantly it amplifies Jesus’s service to us.
As your Pastor I am proud and honored to have a servants who stands WITH me in the ministry.
To sum this up: Deacons are to be leaders, care-takers, prayer warriors, peacemakers, and are responsible for setting the example of Christian behavior.
I want to leave you with one thought to ponder as you embark on this journey.
Denny and Mardell, Kim, and Trish, along with the rest of the Deacon Board I admonish you to be a teachers and a leaders in your walk in the Lord, and always allow the Lord to lead you, and you will be blessed and accountable, continually.
At this time I would ask the newly nominated Deacons along with the rest of the Deacon Board join me here at the Altar.
Charge to the Church family:
Brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit has directed the church to set apart these men and women to being part of this churches ministry.
Those being called to this office are people whose commitment and faithfulness have been proven in their relationship to this church and it family.
They have a spiritual mind, a humble spirit of servanthood, and desire to fulfill the ministry of the Church.
And we as a church family, have full confidence in that the Holy Spirit have set them apart in this ministry.
To the Deacons:
Denny and Mardell, Kim, Trish, Homer, Linda, Jeff and Lori, Tom, Nancy, Wanda, Mary, Paul, Karen, Tom.
The church family has issued their affirmation and calls you all to this office of Deacons.
Do you declare anew your faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Yes, I do.
Will you seek to cultivate a great life filled with the Spirit by, studying, and meditation on God word, and through Witnessing for Christ?
With God’s help, I will.
Will you encourage and lead the congregation through example to help deepen the life of the church within the Spirit of the Lord.
As the Board of Deacons of Center Hill Church of the Brethren, will you once again accept the call to the ministry of deacon within this body of Christ, and promise to perform faithfully all the duties of a Deacon, with love, mercy, kindness, patience along with the hope and grace to the entire church family?
To the Congregation of Center Hill Church of the Brethren, these brothers and sisters have now in our presence committed themselves to the trust and responsibility of being a servant of this church.
Will you, as a congregation, commit yourself to Christian service in partnership with these deacons, by supporting them, praying for their daily so that the Holy Spirit would use them for the betterment of this church?
Laying on of Hands Prayers: