A relationship can be defined as a logical or natural association between two or more people. Relationships are very important in the business world. Corporations spend great effort and monies to develop and nurture relationships. They have entire departments dedicated to the task. They have HR (Human Resources) departments to take care of their employees. They also have PR (Public Relations) departments to develop and maintain relationships with those outside of the company. They do all of this just to sell a product.
The church of the living God is in the “business” of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). It is not a product, it is the “power of God.” May we devote our efforts in developing our relationships to the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ.
The Deacon’s Relationship with the Lord
These men were to be, “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3b).
The filling of the Holy Spirit and wisdom can only be attained by spending time with the Lord. There are no shortcuts or substitutes.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel… Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:8–13
There is hope for me! They were, “Unlearned and ignorant men.” It was spending time with Jesus that made the difference. Are you spending time alone with Him each day?
The Deacon’s Relationship with His Family
“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Timothy 3:12
I suppose one of the “dangers” of ministering to people is that of forgetting that your family members are people too. Be careful about rushing to the aid of a church member, and then complaining about a shopping spree with your wife or a school event for your children. Make sure that you are continually developing your family relationships. How are your HR (home relations)?
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Ephesians 5:25
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
The Deacon’s Relationship with His Pastor
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17
The relationship of a deacon to his pastor might be likened to that of a soldier to his commanding officer. Many soldiers develop great respect, and even affection, for those that lead them well.
The deacon should sense and meet the needs of the leader that God has given him.
“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.” 2 Samuel 23:15–16
The deacon should also display loyalty and obedience to the man of God.
When Jonathan exhibited great faith in God by approaching the garrison of the Philistines the Word of God tells us that, “His armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart” (1 Samuel 14:7b). Are you with your pastor according to his heart?
Stonewall Jackson was a deacon in his local church. In the book Christ in the Camp it is revealed that, “He frequently sought the counsel and instruction of his pastor, upon whom he looked as his ‘superior officer,’ and to whom he would sometimes ‘report for orders.’” It’s no wonder that these words of his pastor were recorded in the same book “Oh, sir, when Jackson fell I lost not only a warm personal friend, a consistent, active church-member, but the best deacon I ever saw!” How are your PR (pastor relations)?
The Deacon’s Relationship with the Church Staff
The deacons should love, encourage, assist, and pray for, but never direct, the church staff. The associate pastor is the associate “pastor” not the associate “deacon”. The youth pastor is the youth “pastor”. The pastor’s secretary is the “pastor’s” secretary. The staff should be answering only to the pastor and not to x number of deacons. No one can serve more than one master.
“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God.” Acts 15:4, 13, 19
Apostles and elders were present at this church meeting in Jerusalem. However, Senior Pastor James was clearly the one in command. I wonder why the deacons of the Jerusalem Church were not seen and heard from at this meeting—just a thought.
The Deacon’s Relationship with the Deacons
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The deacon’s relationship with other deacons should resemble a “band of brothers.” When soldiers go into battle a bond develops that is hard to explain. Though they come from various ethnic backgrounds, parts of the country, and have differing talents and abilities they become one to overcome the enemy. Make no mistake, the event we see in Acts chapter six was an attack by the enemy. The church was progressing and Satan hated it. He hates your church also. Don’t let him divide and conquer. Unite and overcome.
The Deacon’s Relationship with Church Members
Deacons should be godly examples to the church family.
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” 1Timothy 3:8-9
Church members are watching. What are they learning?
Deacons should anticipate and respond to the needs of the church family.
The Deacon’s Relationship with the Community
Deacons should cultivate a good reputation in the community.
“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report.” Acts 6:3a
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12
When co-workers and folks in the community call you “deacon” they may do it with a tongue and cheek mentality, but they know who you are, and who you represent. So “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Deacons should be active in soulwinning.
Serving the saints of God is no substitute for seeking the salvation of sinners. God has mandated that every saved individual should be involved in reaching others for Christ.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” Acts 8:5
The relationships that we have on this earth can make a difference for eternity. Those who serve in the deacon ministry have the wonderful opportunity of being a servant of saints and sinners; just like Jesus. Wow!
This is part three of this article. Please click here to read part four.