Deacons and "Servant Boys"
There is a certain topic that needs to be discussed. I think I can approach this particular topic mostly because I'm not a pastor. I'm a second man writing primarily to other second men, and I believe second men need to hear this.
First, let's forget for a moment about everything we know concerning the modern arrangements of church government (deacon boards, trusties, pulpit committees...whatever else you call groups of men in leadership positions in your church). Biblically, I think most of us would agree that there are two biblical offices in the church--pastors and deacons. Some may suggest a difference in the words "pastor" (only found once in the New Testament),
and the more common words "elder" or "bishop," but I strongly believe they are talking about the same position in most contexts. Some may claim that biblically there were always multiple pastors over churches in those days (I might have some disagreements there that I could discuss at a different time and venue). Ultimately though, we find in scripture specific qualifications listed only for pastors (bishops/elders) and deacons (see Acts 6, 1, Timothy 3, Titus 1).
This brings up a question. Where does a "youth minister," or a "music minister," or an "assistant to the pastor" fit in to these two categories? I'm sure you get it--they are all "deacons" biblically speaking. If your church makes them "pastors" that is your own business, but I don't think it is biblical. I'm not saying we need to necessarily do away with any titles or commonly accepted positions in our churches today, I just think we should know where those titles and positions fit when it comes to authority and functionality in the church.
So here it goes. Ready?
Pastors are supposed to be the overseers (dare I say, "rulers") of the church, and deacons are to be the servants."
Wait!!!! Read on before you call me names and throw things. See for yourself:
DE'ACON, n. [Gr., a minister or servant.] (Webster's 1828)
I'll leave it at that for the sake of time and space, but the point I want to make is this:
I have heard pastors preach to other pastors "Your second man isn't your 'servant boy.'" I know what they are trying to say, and as a second man I am grateful that they are saying it. But here is the problem I see with second men in this day and age of entitlement and equality. We all tend to think in terms of what we should get out of doing something. How much do I get paid? How much vacation time do I get? What kind of work to I have to do? And we are all waiting for our proverbial ship to come in. Let me help you... The ministry is not about you!
Of course if I was a pastor writing to pastors I would tell them the same thing. The ministry is not about the pastor. The ministry is the spirit-led work of the Lord, and everyone has a position to fulfill. Every spirit-led Christian has his/her place. The spirit-led husband is to rule graciously over his house. In a sense, the wife is to rule with him, but she is also to be "under" him in terms of authority. The children are to be "under" their parents. The servant is to be "under" the master. In Christ, we are all equal in worth and value and should therefore treat each other as such, but that does not mean there aren't leaders and followers. The pastor has a great responsibility, and must give an account to the Lord for the direction he leads the "flock" (Hebrews 13:17). Ultimately, he too is a follower. The pastor is under Christ and is simply a steward of Christ's church (1 Peter 5:2-4).
So, as a second man, remember this. Elisha served Elijah for many years (he "poured water on the hands of Elijah" the Bible says in 2 Kings 3:11). Timothy, Titus, and others, ministered to Paul throughout his missionary journeys. There is nothing wrong with helping your pastor to fulfill his duties, and it doesn't matter if he does so the way you want or not. It is not your ministry, it is not his ministry, it is God's. You will only give an answer to God for how faithful you have been at playing your position. Keep playing your part, and don't worry about others.
The Lord bless you and the ministry to which God has called you. May your passion for ministry grow as you "addict yourself" to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
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