As most of you remember, we revised our bylaws in September of 2015 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 as a church, 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. In April of 2016, the church body affirmed Jessica Oaks and Katina Skinner as deacons, who’ve been doing great jobs as deacons. Now, we are pleased to announce that we have four more deacon candidates to present to all of you. Please read their encouraging stories. They are listed below in alphabetical order.
To be specific, the Transition Team is recommending that Church on Mill affirm David Brown as a deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask David to serve as the deacon of IHELP.
The Transition Team is recommending that Church on Mill affirm David Oaks as deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask David to serve as the deacon of Youth Ministry.
The Transition Team is recommending that Church on Mill affirm Megan Roberts as deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask Megan to serve as the deacon of Preschool Ministry.
The Transition Team is recommending that Church on Mill affirm Amber Ward as deacon. If affirmed, the Transition Team will ask David to serve as the deacon of Corporate Worship.
All four of these people 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 each of these candidates 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 members 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 and another position paper describing the qualifications of deacons.
The office of deacon is one of only two specific 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 candidates 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 men and women 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.
Praise God for raising up more and more people willing to serve as deacons! The Lord is faithfully building his church so we can glorify God through lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ! Please pray as we plan to affirm these candidates in the Members Meeting on January 29th.
obo Transition Team