First Baptist Church Valdosta recently held a deacon ordination service for a new deacon and held it during their 11:00am service. It involved a challenge to the congregation, a challenge to the candidate, special music, various sprayers, a report by the deacon council regarding â€œthe testingâ€ process, and the laying on of hands at its’ closing. I was reminded of my own ordination into ministry and what it meant to me at the time, and what it means to me now. The candidate is now a deacon at the church, so now what?
In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Paul gives a list of various qualifications for a deacon and their wife, and then ends the discussion with â€œFor those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.â€ If they pass the testing process, and then carry out their assignments well, they will gain â€œgood standingâ€ and â€œgreat confidence in the faith. . .â€
These men will begin to hold powerful positions and have a huge impact over people coming to know Christ. The qualifications must be met, because of the influence these men will have in the church and in the community.
How Do You Use Your Position?
For some, simply having the position is enough. They are happy to have people shake their hand, pat them on the back, give them a big smile, and recognize them as â€œleader.â€ These men do little but show up, check the box, and demand that people look at them, or recognize them. After all, they do hold the position of honor. But the reason leaders have qualifications that they must reach (or hold to), is because of the influence they have over other people. This influence assumes that they are actually doing something, specifically in how they are seeking to make Christ known in the world.
Spiritual leaders live with a double-edged sword strapped on their hip at all times. This sword must constantlyÂ be sharpened and maintained. On one side of the sword is their qualifications and â€œtestimony.â€ They must constantly work to guard their hearts, make sure they keep a good reputation in the community, and always try to do the right thing, according to their conscience and the Scriptures.
On the other side of the sword is their work they do for the Lord. They are to serve and oversee certain areas of ministry. How are they engaging the world for Christ? They must continue to pierce further and further into the darkness. They must use their influence to encourage, lead, and pull others to follow them to reach their communities for Christ.
If either side of the sword becomes dull, the sword becomes worthless. If you fail morally (slander, greed, addiction to wine, not dignified, not faithful), then you lose trust, and your influence over people is lost. Any organization without leadership slides into decline. If you hold to great morality, but do not engage the world with the gospel, then whatâ€™s the point of you holding a position? The reason you have a position is to do something for the Lord with it.
Genesis 12:1-2 â€œNow the Lord said to Abram, â€œGo from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.â€
Abraham would be blessed and made into a great nation, not so that Abrahamâ€™s name would be lifted up, but so that the world may lift up the name of Jesus Christ. We are to be a blessing to others as a leader; we do not hold a position of leadership to be blessed. You are a leader, â€œso that you will be a blessing.â€
How will you use your position for Christ today?