We are currently taking nominations for men to serve as deacons at Trinity: in many churches, this becomes a popularity contest or a question of who has been here the longest. Obviously, these are some of the reasons so many churches are in such a mess - because we place men in positions who are not biblically qualified. So, let me encourage you, before you speak to anyone and ask them to fill out our nomination form, and before we meet with them, please take the Word of God and turn to 1st Timothy 3:8-13 - read and think it through this passage. Here is what you will find:
The name “deacon” means servants. Deacons at Trinity have never tried to be the “guard” or the “head” of all other ministry teams. They are expected to do what the Word of God calls them to do and that is to serve. So, the first question you need to ask is this: Is the man that I want to nominate already serving in some capacity? It is not the title that should cause them to serve, it is the heart and love for our Savior that should cause them to already be serving. After you answer that, let me encourage you to ask the following questions before you make your determination:
• Verse 8—Are they serious about the things of God? Meaning, are they faithful to church? Do they seem to be serious about the truths of God?
• Verse 8—Are they double tongued? Do they gossip or, are they inconsistent with their speech at church and their speech at home, or at work? Do they say one thing in front of you and another thing when you leave? Are they Peace Makers?
• Verse 8---Is he given to wine? This is more than a prohibition against drunkenness. It means he doesn’t have a reputation as a drinker. Our expectation at Trinity, in order to keep our testimony, is no alcohol at all.
• Verse 8—Is he greedy? Our financial secretary will simply give a “yes or no” as to whether a potential deacon gives in a systematic way. If we have no record of this because you give in cash, then you need to let that be known on your form. Will he use his position for gain in finances, in power, prestige? Does he desire to serve or does he desire a title?
• Verse 9---Does he have a firm grasp on the Gospel? Does he understand the necessity of the cross, repentance and faith? Does he understand this is by grace alone? Does he understand it well enough to live it and share it consistently?
• Verse 10—Are they blameless? Is there overt, flagrant sin that mars their life? Are they an example worthy to be followed?
• Verse 11-12---Is their wife a gossip? Are they faithful to the things of God? Do they do their best to live out Titus 2? Do these men lead their home according to the Word of God? Does their wife live under his submission? Does he submit to God? All we should look at and attempt to discover is what the Word says. Outside of verse 11, it gives no other standard for the wife. Outside of that, the focal point is on the character of the man.
The bottom line is if we are going to be a biblical church we must have a biblical standard for our leadership. Please use this text as your deciding factor. I know fine men, men who love the church who may not yet be qualified - it doesn’t mean you do not like them if you do not nominate them. It simply means that we are chained to the Word, and I can’t think of anything better to be chained to!