The early church ran into a conflict that threatened to destroy the fellowship. It was believed that the food rations for the widows were not being distributed equitably. The problem was so significant, that the Apostles were brought in. (Acts 6)
The Apostles instructed the church to select seven of their number, known for their spiritual maturity and wisdom, to coordinate the distribution of food. These seven deacons would take direct care of the people and the Apostles would dedicate themselves “to the ministry of the Word.” They had three duties: take care of the widows, protect the harmony of the church, and support the leaders.
The results of this calling-oriented, gifts-based teamwork are recorded in Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
Deacon ministry is as needed today as it was in the First Century. In order to ensure the best care for our membership, we are instituting the Deacon Family Ministry Plan at Baptist Temple. Each deacon will directly care for an assigned a group of families. They will be the first line of ministry to their families.
Another significant move will be the recognition of the currently serving deacon's wives as deacons in their own right. The level of caring expected of our deacons will often require woman to woman ministry. Deacons are usually accompanied by their wives on hospital calls and other visits and often are the ones who make calls and write letters. Their acknowledgment is long overdue.
Ongoing training will enhance our deacons' ministry. Classes will include understanding life stages and using the Bible to help people during crisis moments. Prayer and spiritual development will also be part of a deacon's continuing education.