Deacons Stepping in for Absence of a Pastor

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Do deacons in your church regularly step in for the pastor's absence to speak on Sunday morning or night, and Bible study on Wednesday night?

    Is there any circumstance where your deacons will conduct a baptism, administer the Lord's Supper, or lead a funeral? If so, do these specific duties require authorization from the local church body?

    If deacons do not step in, who does?
     
  2. Reformed

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    We have a plurality of elders. The biblical office of elder is the same office as pastor. Elders are to be apt to teach (2 Tim. 2:24). They can also lawfully administer the ordinances. Deacons, a separate office from that of elder, may be capable of preaching, but that function is typically reserved for elders.
     
  3. saturneptune

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    That is a good insight for those of us who do not have elders. So, with churches that only have deacons, do you think it would be unbiblical for them to administer the ordinances even with a vote of the congregation?

    I know one of the main differences between the two offices is that elders have governing authority and deacons are basically servants. Over the years, deacons in some local churches thought they were elders in an attempt to run the church, but then again, that was the fault of the pastor and congregation letting them get by with taking power they were not Biblically authorized to have. Anyway, back to the subject, would that difference prevent a deacon from administering the ordinances?
     
    #3 saturneptune, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2014
  4. evangelist6589

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    Yes they do so in my church and personally I can't think of a church where they would not step in. If not them, then whom?
     
  5. saturneptune

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    I can only speak for the church I attend, but they do step in for sermons and Bible studies. At times also, we will invite a retired pastor or professor from the local Bible college. I have never seen a deacon step in for the ordinances. Usually the event is postponed until our regular pastor comes back.
     
  6. Jkdbuck76

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    I began preaching as a deacon. I did my first funeral as a deacon (under emergency 1-day notice) when we were without a pastor. Two days later, I met with the other deacons,who are much older. It was at that time they suggested that I be licensed to the ministry. After MUCH prayer, I was licensed. When our Pastor is out of town, I usually preach. I've done some weddings. I did my cousin's funeral :(
    So, in answer to your question: ultimately, the local church, seeing God's call in your life ought to license you to the Gospel ministry if that is your gift. My particular case was that somene had a death in the family and the preacher they wanted bailed at the last minute. I did the funeral. But then I IMMEDIATELY sought out the older deacons and said "ok, you are going to see an obituary......this is what happened. I in NO WAY told the family and the funeral home that I was Ordained, or a Reverend, but that I was a deacon." They smiled at this.
    Deacons need to help. and I helped.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    We do not have deacons. When our church was formed no one had had positive experiences with deacons in any of the churches we had grown up in or served in as adults. So, we have ministry groups and everyone in the church is expected to serve in one or more ministry groups.

    When our minister is away the members of the worship ministry group take over and plan the services, even to a greater extent than normally. Works very well.
     
  8. sag38

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    What would be wrong with a deacon administering the Lord's Supper? Maybe a local church holds to this out of tradition or ignorance but I don't think a sound Biblical argument can be offered demanding that only an ordained minister can head up serving the Lord's Supper. The same is true of baptism. There is no Biblical prohibition against a deacon or member in good standing baptizing a new believer.
     
  9. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    No, but not because it would be completely inappropriate, although I do question the validity of it going on for more than a short time. We have a church staff of about a half-dozen associates, and when our senior pastor is gone, one of the associates preaches, or arrangements are made for a guest speaker. One such speaker was Fred Luter, president of the SBC. Nice when your church staff has that kind of clout. :laugh:

    Our deacons help administer the Lord's Supper every time we have it, and anyone can baptize anyone else. I'm not sure most would want to, or are qualified to, preach a funeral. Preaching a sermon requires some depth of knowledge, and while deacons are men of character and strength in the church, that doesn't mean they are automatically qualified, or again, would want to, preach.

    By virtue of having been selected by the church body, they have been approved/authorized to participate in administration of the Lord's Supper, and as I said, anyone can baptize. The other duties, if offered the opportunity (which isn't likely in our church), they would turn them down.

    When most Southern Baptist churches seek a pastor and -- particularly in smaller churches -- the State Convention provides pulpit supply. That is, interim pastors who fill the position until the congregation as a whole or through a search committee settles on an applicant to invite to "candidate" -- take the position on a "trial basis" for three to six weeks, after which the congregation votes on offering him the position permanently. If he isn't approved, pulpit supply continues until a permanent pastor is found.
     
  10. JohnDeereFan

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    No. That's not what deacons do. That's what elders do.
     
  11. JohnDeereFan

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    Same here. Biblically speaking, the whole point of deacons is to do the "grunt work" in order to free up the pastor and elders for ministry.

    I always have to laugh when I see a TV show or hear a story about a pastor having to go before the deacons and plead for permission to do this or money to do that.

    Where in the world do they get their idea of deacons?
     
  12. JohnDeereFan

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    It's not "wrong", necessarily, as long as it's done according to Biblical guidelines. But it's just not the responsibility of deacons.
     
  13. Jacob_Elliott

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    We will have guessed speakers if our pastor is absent, because we don't have any other elders at the moment. I really don't think deacons should preach, as they should have been called to be deacons and elders are called as elders. Do you have any men/youth in your church who feel they might be called to ministry?
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The responsibilities of a deacon are not clearly listed or outlined. They are assumed to be everything that does not include the duties of an elder or pastor, which is to preach, teach, and exhort. That would include financial administration of the church, and there is nothing unbiblical, or even odd, about deacon boards being populated by men who have the spiritual gift of administration. In fact, it makes perfect sense for them to handle those duties, and your characterization of the pastor as having to "beg" is largely a concept of your prejudiced imagination. Pastors and deacon boards in the Baptist churches of the world work together, planning out and giving direction to the ministry of the church, but none of them actually can spend a dime unless the congregation approves them to do so, by voting on the church budget. It is, after all, their money that funds the church's operations.

    Qualifications for a deacon’s character are clearly outlined in Scripture. They are to be blameless, the husband of one wife, a good household manager, respectable, honest, not addicted to alcohol and not greedy, as Paul detailed in his epistle to his protégé in 1 Timothy 3:8-12. The position of “deacon,” from diakonos in the Greek, meaning “through the dirt,” was one of servant leadership to the church. Deacons are separate from elders, while having qualifications that are in many ways similar to those of elders, again, as Paul detailed for Timothy. Deacons assist the church in whatever is needed, as recorded in Acts chapter 6. The apostles/pastors of the Jerusalem church did not engage in anything but ministering and preaching the word. The appointed deacons took care of everything else.
     
  15. pinoybaptist

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    It might so happen that a current deacon in a church might have been an ordained elder perhaps in another church, before he was appointed deacon. In such cases, I guess if there are no guest speakers and the pastor has to be absent, then he can preach as well.
     
  16. JohnDeereFan

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    No, actually, I had nothing to do with these shows.

    But your usual childish personal attacks are duly noted.

    There was a black show several years ago called "Amen" in which the main antagonist was a deacon and the pastor was portrayed as always being at the mercy of the deacons.

    On the show "7th Heaven", the pastor is constantly talking about running afoul of the deacons.
     
  17. Jacob_Elliott

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    Good point!
     
  18. saturneptune

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    I have asked you in private PMs, and now am stating publically, stay out of the threads I start. Your only purpose here is to derail and disrupt my threads.
     
  19. JohnDeereFan

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    Actually, I haven't disrupted or derailed anything. My posts have all been on topic. Your posts to me, on the other hand, have all been ad hominem.
     
  20. saturneptune

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    Baloney, you just did it. The thread is about deacons assuming pastoral duties, not the latest side show you attended.
     

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