As most of you remember, we revised our bylaws in September of last year with several important changes. One of those changes was to actively allow both men and women deacons. Historically, we have only had men as deacons, but as we looked at scripture, we came to realize that we could match our practice to biblical ideals better by acknowledging both men and women as deacons.
Shortly after we passed the new bylaws, we asked the whole congregation to recommend some mature believers to be deacons. We subsequently ran two training classes, followed by personalized interviews. Today, we are pleased to announce that we have two deacon candidates to present to all of you. Hopefully, they will be the first of several new deacons over the coming several months.
To be specific, the Transition Team is recommending that Church on Mill affirm Katina Skinner as a deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask Katina to serve as the deacon of Women’s Discipleship and Mentoring.
The Transition Team is also recommending that Church on Mill affirm Jessica Oaks as deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask Jessica to serve as the deacon of Children’s Ministry.
Both of these ladies exhibit a growth in Christlikeness over the years, and have served our church family in many ways. We believe that they will be excellent deacons who will continue to care for specific needs within the congregation for years to come.
We are asking both Katina and Jessica to serve as deacons in specific ministry areas. This reflects our desire that deacons be actively serving the body. After all, the New Testament Greek word sometimes translated as “deacon” literally means “servant”. So over the past few years, the deacon ministry has moved more and more to the model that each deacon be serving in a specific area in a manner which is above and beyond what most members of the congregation would do.
As you consider these two ladies as deacons, would you please review again the qualifications for deacons which are given in I Timothy 3:8-13? If you’d like some more background, you can find a position paper on the office of deacon here and another position paper describing the qualifications of deacons here.
The office of deacon is one of only two offices specified directly in Scripture. Therefore, we want to be sure that the people who are in that office are biblically qualified to hold it. In light of that, the Transition Team is asking you to do something that may sound a little surprising and which might be a little difficult. If you believe one of these ladies is not qualified for the office of deacon – based on scripture – would you please do more than merely vote “No”? We have a responsibility to each other as members of this church to look out for the best good of the church. So we are asking that if you plan to vote “No”, that you talk to one of the members of the Transition Team. If there is a conflict between yourself and one of these candidates, we would like to help you walk through resolving that issue – encouraging a dialogue and praying with you. If there is some significant sin issue which you know about, we would like to know that too so we can address it in an appropriate fashion. Would you also consider going to the candidate if there’s a need for biblical reconciliation?
What I’m asking you to do may take a lot of courage on your part, but think about how much more courage it is taking for these ladies to be willing to stand up to that sort of scrutiny. So please be gentle, loving and humble if you need to confront an issue.
Finally, please go to the following links to read each candidates testimony to get to know each of them better.
With all that in mind, here’s a quick look at the schedule.
- April 3 – Announce Katina and Jessica to the congregation verbally and in the handout. This gives us 3 weeks of notice prior to the vote, which keeps us in good shape relative to the requirements in the bylaws.
- April 10 – Katina will speak briefly in the worship service to share her heart for the Women’s Discipleship and Mentoring ministry.
- April 17 – Jessica will speak briefly in the worship service to share her heart for the Children’s ministry.
- April 24 – The congregation will vote on both Katina and Jessica in the worship gathering. If they are voted in, we will pray over them and their ministry areas during the Member’s Meeting that evening.