For the last three years, I have had the privilege of serving as a deacon at the church of Christ in Boiling Springs, SC. I have the honor of working with the youth at our congregation. Meeting the qualifications as stated in 1 Timothy 3 has helped me in many aspects of my life.
As I go to work daily, many of the qualifications are constantly in use. When you are living up to these requirements and standards, they eventually become a natural part of your Christianity everywhere you go. It’s not that you are never going to fail, because you ARE going to do that. However, I do find myself going back frequently to the verses to remind me of who I am and what God requires of me.
The impact of a deacon on a church can help the church grow in different areas. If the impact is good and “fruitful,” this means the deacon is active and doing his job. My job of working with the youth has encouraged me to do more than plan events and service projects. It has become a personal task to teach the ones with whom I come into contact on a one-on-one basis. We are all told to go teach all nations (Matt. 28:19)…but it’s usually a job left to someone else. I’ve seen from personal experience that great results can occur if you take the time to study with someone. I have studied with several and ended up baptizing them afterwards. It is an amazing event to see someone baptized into Christ’s death and then rise to start a new life (Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27)!
I write about the above not to boast, but rather to encourage all Christians to get active! Your area may not be the same as mine, but anyone can pick up a phone, write a card, and send an email. Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us to use our different talents! If you are thinking about becoming a deacon, make sure you and your wife qualify for you to be one (1 Tim. 3:8-13). In my case, I was already doing the work or volunteering for it before I was given the name.
There will be times when you want to leap for joy, but there are also times you want to just give up. I look at everything Paul went through, and I know that I can overcome the obstacles that I face. Some of your main problems could be just dealing with other Christians. Acts 15:36-41 tells us even Paul and Barnabas had a strong disagreement, but they departed from each other. We all need to remember who we are and that others are always watching as well.
There are many spiritual pitfalls that come with the territory also. If you are an over achiever like I tend to be, your plate becomes overloaded! Make sure your events and tasks don’t overlap. If you give your word on doing something, make sure you follow through with it. It’s fine to have many things going at once, but one important thing to remember is this: don’t neglect your family or close friends! Every time you say “Yes” to something, you are saying “No” to other tasks, events, and things.
Another spiritual pitfall for not just deacons but also any male leader in the church is how friendly you appear to be with the women in the church. Don’t get me wrong. I love a hug from a close friend just as much as you may, but there are those times that people see things that aren’t really there. There are also times where an innocent hug can turn into an affair over a period of time. I have seen it with members, deacons, and even preachers. Our intentions always need to be pure, and our minds need to be as well. All in all, being cautious makes life so much easier than being accused of real or perceived wrongdoing.
One who has a positive attitude even when things are hectic can help overcome their spiritual pitfalls. It’s easy to get your plate full, have issues with other members in the church, and also have your personal life overwhelm you to the point where you want to “throw in the towel.” One thing I have definitely learned is to delegate. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. I’ve found that there are plenty of people willing to help, but aren’t the type to volunteer. It’s okay to have several projects going on at once, and much can be accomplished…but you need to oversee some things while dedicating your time to the more important tasks.
As a teenager, I was the shy type. I kept to myself and wasn’t very outgoing at all. If I had to speak in front of an audience for just a few minutes, you could probably hear my legs shaking! Now, my love and passion is to teach others. I love to teach one-on-one classes as well. I can’t stress enough to the teens to just invite their friends to church. After a few times, I eventually begin to talk to the visitor, get to know them, and finally study with them. I’ve been more successful in reaching and helping souls this way than I have compared to knocking on doors.
Constantly studying with people as well as teaching classes has kept me growing spiritually. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study to show ourselves approved. Our spiritual state should never become stagnate! The area of interest in which a deacon is appointed to work should be one that suits his character and be one that he should enjoy. I thoroughly enjoy working with the youth and the many ways they have helped make me a better Christian.
The role of a deacon is again a privilege. It should never feel like an obligation or a “have to” job. Even though there are many pitfalls and obstacles, the role is more than worth it if you can dedicate your time to this role. If you can manage to juggle your job, family, church duties and this role, you will see the reward is more than words can express. When times are difficult though, and you feel like giving up…talk with someone. I have certain friends with whom I can talk when I have a problem, and they help me overcome my obstacles while keeping me from me giving up. The impact you can have on a church can be great…if your heart is dedicated to the work! As a father, a husband, a Christian and also as a deacon, I try to keep 1 Corinthians 10:31 in mind. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Curtis serves as a deacon for the Boiling Springs Church of Christ in Boiling Springs, SC. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.