Lesson #5 The Deacon & His Walk

Hello TMC Family and Friends,

During the month of July 2023 we received deacon nominations from the congregation. After the Board of Elders prayerfully and carefully evaluated the nominations, we are happy to report that we have two strong deacon candidates and one yokefellow candidate (deacon in preparation) that we believe God has provided to serve The Mission Church of Lexington! These three men are now being trained to serve in this important Biblical office. If once the deacon training is finished and the deacon candidates as well as the Board of Elders believe the Lord is still leading in this matter, these three men will be presented to the church during the “Information and Celebration Gathering” on December 3rd for church affirmation. The newly established Board of Deacons will begin their tenure in January 2024. Over the next 6 weeks I will be sharing with you through this blog the sessions that I am using to train and equip our deacons so they can be the deacons they want to be and so they can be the deacons that TMC needs them to be! I believe the information in these sessions have spiritual and practical benefit to every Christian and every covenant church member.


 Scenario Conversation Starter:

Greg is a deacon at Suburban Community Church, a church that relocated from the inner city five years ago. He is also a commercial contractor who enjoys a good reputation among Christians and non-Christians alike. He’s a natural go-to kind of guy who gets things done. Recently Greg was asked by the city council to serve as chairman of a volunteer committee to oversee the construction of a new city park, complete with athletic fields and playgrounds. It’s at least a 12-to-15-month project.

About a week after Greg committed to the park project, the deacon officers at Suburban Community Church decided to ask him to head up a ministry team to assist adult members with things they can no longer do around their homes, like painting, small repairs, taking them on errands and the like. Because of his reputation for excellence and dependability- and because no one else is willing to accept the job- Greg seems to be the man to call on to coordinate this new ministry, even though the deacon officers know of his heavy commitment to the park project- not to mention the responsibility of running his own construction company.

If you were Greg, how would you handle this situation?

If you were one of the deacon officers, how would you feel about asking him to head up the new ministry? What other options might be available for consideration?


In a day when the media is bombarding us on every front through gadgets we can hold in our hands, carry in our pockets, or attach to our ears, it is easy to lose sight of the life-changing effects of kingdom work and living. As a word of caution: regardless of what is going on in our world today- politics, wars, rising costs on every front- we must never underestimate the value of kingdom work. It is the most important business that has ever taken place or ever will take place on this earth. Therefore, a deacon’s personal walk with Christ should demonstrate his application of kingdom principles in the midst of whatever may be coming our way- good or bad.


When we think about a deacon’s walk, we are referring to two critical areas of his life: his conduct and his conversation. The Bible provides a clear picture in Acts 6 of a godly deacon’s walk in one of the seven men selected to serve the early church- Stephen. Stephen was serious about God’s business, and deacons today should be just as serious as he was.

Stephen certainly met all the qualifications for a deacon. The Scriptures singled him out from the other six men.


Acts 6:3-5 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.


Stephen is best remembered as the first New Testament martyr, based on Acts 7:54-60, where the details of his death are recorded, including how he responded to those who killed him.


Acts 7:59-60 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.


It takes a godly walk to respond like Stephen did. A deacon who desires to live as God wants him to live should follow this Biblical model. Stephen led an exemplary life which personified much of the New Testament Scripture. Stephens focus on the Lord Jesus indicated in the passage above is clarified well by the Apostle Paul.


Colossians 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.


Three characteristics of Stephen’s life teach deacons how to walk in a way that fulfills the ministry for which they have been singled out.


Stephen’s Walk of Fullness

The early church was grateful that God had placed men in their midst whose walk with God was characterized as fullness. When the church “looked out among them” (Acts 6:3), they were looking for those whose reputations had been time-tested and proven. In prayerfully thinking through the situation, the apostles identified six specific character qualifications, and Stephen met all six.


1- Men Known to Be Honorable

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;


The church’s challenge is to choose those men who stand out because they have earned respect for the lives they live. Dependable men whom the people would be happy to follow are often the kind of men who will make good deacons. A deacon’s conduct and character ought to stand out in such a way that people both inside and outside the church count him as an honorable man. God raises up in every church such men, and it is the responsibility of the church to seek them out.


2- Men Who Would Serve with Others on a Team

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;


Men on a team must be able to serve together, listen to others’ opinions, put the good of others first, etc. Someone said it well, “Teamwork simply stated is less me and more we”. Deacons who focus on the will of God and the good of the church do not insist on getting their way when decisions need to be made. Instead, a good deacon insists that church work worth doing is worth doing together.


3– Men Who Were of Good Reputation

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.


Honesty and trust both inside and outside the church form the foundation of a deacon’s reputation. Deacons handle delicate and sometimes confidential affairs of those whom they serve. Therefore, deacons must be men with an impeccable reputation. A good deacon believes his reputation is worth more than gold.


4- Men Filled With the Spirit of God

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.


A deacon should spend quality time alone with God reading the Bible, allowing God to mold his character; and seeking guidance, direction, cleansing and fresh grace to live each day. It is during this time with God that a deacon asks the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, to clothe him with humility, to empower him for service, and to guard him from temptation. The first deacons were men who, upon examination by the church, were known to be men filled with the Holy Spirit. The church should expect no less today. Every man who serves as a deacon should be full of (controlled by) the Holy Spirit.


5- Men Who Were Wise and Competent

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.


One scientist quipped, “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life”. A deacon with wisdom serves the church in a skillful, deliberate, and organized way. In Stephen’s day, a lack of skill would have only added to the murmuring of disgruntled church members. It is vital that we are wise in meeting the needs of the people appropriately. A wise deacon handle people and their needs with proper care, knowing that unrest and disharmony within the church quench God’s glory in the church.


6- Men Who Were Responsible and Diligent

Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;


Being a deacon is not about status; it is about service. It is not a position to hold; it is a mission to do. A healthy, growing church cannot be built on spare time and pocket change. It requires commitment, spiritual sweat, and hard work. Our business is God’s business and God’s business is saving souls! Deacons are on the front line of servant leading the church to be effective and efficient in the Lord’s work.


Stephen’s Walk of Faithfulness

Stephen’s life was marked by fullness and faithfulness. Remember, it is recorded twice that Stephen was “full of faith” (Acts 6:5,8). He was faithful to the Gospel, faithful to his testimony, and faithful to the truth of Scripture. The Biblical record shows three ways faithfulness characterized Stephen’s walk.


1- He Was Faithful with God’s Ministry

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.


Notice that the passage said he “did great wonders and signs”. If God has given us a ministry, then He expects us to do something with it. Stephen was faithful to carry out what God had given him and gifted him to do. Remember, deacons are given a work to do more than a position to fill.


1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


2- He Was Faithful With the Gospel Message

Acts 6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.


Stephen knew the Bible and was a great apologist- defender of the faith. Deacons are not required to be able to teach/preach as a pastor is, but he is to be sound in doctrine. A deacon should know what he believes and why he believes it. When a deacon is speaking on Biblical matters, he should be capable to defend and declare the truth.


1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;


3- He Was Faithful With Good Motives

Acts 6:15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.


Stephen’s countenance glowed from the inside out. That is just the way it is, one’s inner life cannot remain hidden. Not only must a deacon’s heart be pure, but a deacon’s motive must be pure and undefiled as he serves the church that ordained him.


Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.


Stephen’s Walk of Forgiveness

Stephen’s life was marked by fullness, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Stephen practiced the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount about forgiveness.


Matthew 5:43-46 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?


Stephen also practiced the principle of overcoming evil with good of which the Apostle Paul wrote.

Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil. Have[a] regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Stephen’s walk of forgiveness afforded him a standing ovation by the Lord.

Acts 7:55-60 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.


What higher honor could there possibly be? In forgiveness, Stephen was just like Jesus.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”


In summary, a deacon who is going to be all God wants him to be is a deacon like Stephen. His walk will be characterized by the fullness of the Holy Spirit, faithfulness in serving both God and the church, and forgiveness in his relationship with others.

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


Discussion Questions:


1- In your opinion, why is teamwork so important in deacon ministry?

2- What should be done with a deacon who refuses to serve or is unable to work well with others? Why do you give this answer?

3- We talk about “serving God with your whole heart.” What does this phrase suggest to you? With all the pressures and stresses of our culture today, do you think it is even possible for a deacon to serve with his “whole” heart? How does the phrase “we have to be selective to be effective” apply to ministry and deacon service.


If this blog post has grabbed your curiosity and you would like to know more please pursue any/all of the below options:

1-              Contact me at pastor@missionchurchlex.org

2-              Check out our church website Misisonchurchlex.org

3-              Visit us for Community Celebration and Worship every Sunday at 9am and 11am (Facebook livestreaming available at 9am) and Mission Groups                   Wednesday at 630pm. We are located at 3288 Beaver Creek Drive Lexington KY 40515.

4-              Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missionchurch.lex

5-              Continue to read this weekly blog- “Find your Why with Pastor D”

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