Main Verses: (Acts 6:1-7 Acts 20:17-35)
If we follow the Bible as we go to church, we should follow the Bible in organizing the church. And the Bible has two offices for the New Testament church; Deacons and Pastors. Let’s examine these terms and how they were understood in the early church.
Key Term: Deacons (διάκονος)
A servant, the minister, a person who renders service and help to others, was used to denote someone who waited on tables, also transliterated as deacon, a trusted officer of help and service in the local church.
Adaptive leadership is not about finding the best-know or most available fix to a problem but instead adapting to the changing environment or circumstances so that new possibilities arise for accurately seeing, understanding, and facing, challenges with new actions.
(Canoeing the Mountains, by Tod Bolsinger)
Background Information on Acts 6
- The Apostles (Local Leaders of the Church)
- Hellenistic Jews (Part of the Church, but not local)
- Hebraic Jews (Part of the Church and local)
- The Problem- Some were getting overlooked in an important ministry.
- Do Nothing (Neutral)
- Shrink Back (Reverse)
- Engage (Drive)
In this passage, we will see how the Body of Christ responded to a growing crisis within its ranks. We can learn about how we can respond in similar situations. The adaptive church does the following:
- Sees the problems that are in front of it. (Acts 6: 1).
- The Adaptive Leader
2. Engages and clarifies the problem from an organizational perspective. (6:2)
- The Adaptive Leader
3. Seeks other leaders who are
-Full of the Spirit (6:3)
-Full of Faith (6:5)
- The Adaptive Leader
4. Gives away leadership (v. 6)
The Bible’s Instruction on Deacons
Paul identifies nine qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-12
Key Terms: Elders/Pastor/Overseer
A grouping of words in the New Testament that refer to the senior position of leadership within a church. “Elder” (presbyters) speaks of someone advanced in years and experience while having the respect of the community. Pastor (poimen) refers to the work of caring for the spiritual needs of a congregation. Overseer (episcopos) is about this office overseeing and managing the temporal affairs of the church work. All three terms point to the same office.
7 Key Observations
- Elders are present in both the Old and New Testaments. Number 11:16-25
- Elders provide service with humility. Acts 20:17-18
- Elders must be ready to face the hardships of leadership. Acts 20:19
- Elders ensure the preaching is Acts 20:20, 27
- Elders love all people and not just the people from their clan. Acts 20:21
- An elder must be committed to the long haul of completing the task. Acts 20:22-24
- Elders must protect the flock from wolves. Acts 20:29-31
- Legal Wolves
- Doctrinal Wolves
- Divisive Wolves
- Elders must use their power for generosity toward the weak. Acts 20:32-35, 1 Peter 5:1-4
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Rusty defines the word deacon: “A servant, minister, a person who renders service and help to others. It denoted someone who waited on tables, a trusted officer of help and service in the local church.” Reflect on a time when a Christian with a servant’s heart has ministered to you.
- An elder can be someone advanced in years who has the respect of the Christian community. It also refers to a senior position of leadership within the church. It can speak of a pastor who cares for the spiritual needs of a congregation, or an overseer, someone who oversees and manages the affairs of the church’s work. All three definitions speak of the same office. How has a pastor or another person in a senior church leadership position assisted you spiritually?
- In Acts 6, the background of the early church included the following characters: the apostles (local leaders of the church), the Hellenistic Jews (part of the church but not local), and the Hebraic Jews (part of the church and local). The problem in the early church was that some who needed assistance were being overlooked. God used the early deacons to help meet the needs of those who were not being ministered to as they should. Often a deacon’s ministry of helping happens behind the scenes. Why is this kind of ministry of helping important?
- There was a cultural difference between the two groups in Acts 6 (the Hebraic and Hellenistic Jews). This cultural divide resulted in some people feeling left out. Do cultural differences still divide the church today? How so?
- How can the role of deacons and Elders create unity instead of division when cultural differences exist?
- When the church is faced with a challenge, it can: 1) do nothing, 2) shrink back, or 3) engage. The final response is the best. How might deacons help the church engage and work through its challenges?
- In Acts 6, we can observe how the church adapted to a growing crisis within its ranks. In verse 1, the church identified the problem. In verse 2, the church clarified the problem from an organizational perspective and determined how the need might be met. Why is identifying our challenges and figuring out the necessary organization to solve the church’s problems importantly?
- The church sought out leaders who were: 1) full of the Spirit (6:3), 2) wise (6:3), and 3) full of faith (6:5). Why are these three descriptions important for those who provide leadership in the church?
LIVE IT OUT
- Ask God to bless our deacons as they help Concord be all He wants it to be.
- Ask God to bless our elders as they lead Concord to be all God wants.
- Ask God to help Concord adapt to the current challenges and the challenges we will face in the days ahead.
- Make a list of five ways you can help your church be all God wants it to be, then ask Him to help you put your list into practice to serve Him.
Elder / Deacon Vote