Pastors and Deacons

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    When a church votes a pastor in - it is normally for an indefinite period.

    But when vote on Deacons - it is for a specific term - for example every year we vote in 2 deacons for a three year term (total of 6- and for a max of two terms)

    Why the difference - if both are considered officers of the church - or "Its just the way we have always done it"
     
  2. Deacon

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    In the church I attend the elders are voted on every other year - including the preaching pastor

    Deacons are voted on once and serve at the direction of the elders for as long as they desire.

    Rob
     
  3. 12strings

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    As Deacon posted, not every church does this...but I would guess there are some very practical reasons:

    -In most churches, pastors are paid, and hired as a proffession which supports their family...It would be unstalbe for the pastor's family if he had to move to a new church every few years...and unstable for the church if it were to change it's leadership every few years...the pastor would not have the long-term time it takes to get to know a church, for them to get to trust him, and follow his lead.

    -Deacons are unpaid, and so a rotation every year, or every few years (3 yrs at our church, with new deacons coming on and going off each year) keeps one from getting burned out on deacon work, and gives time for other priorities.

    -I've noticed that in some churches who have elder rule that includes both paid elders, and non-paid elders...the non-paid elders will serve 3 years or so, then be rotated off for a time, to allow them to rest and recouperate, since it is not their full-time job.
     
  4. abcgrad94

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    In addition to what 12strings said, I would add that having a rotation/term limit lets more people participate, rather than the same people doing the same thing all the time. This helps certain folks not get too power hungry and provides a check-and-balance.
     
  5. Berean

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    Although deacons certainly are a specified officer of the church and in their truest sense perform a vital role in its operation. I look on it also as an honorary role and with the shorter periods of service this give more people the opportunity to serve. However I have often wondered just where and when did the custom of Deacons functioning as Elders in Baptist Churches begin. The office of Elder and Deacon are entirely different however the Deacons function as Elders in all Baptist Churches that I have known. I am sure there is a reason other then its always been that way.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    I can tell you. Unhealthy churches that run through pastors every three to five years have to have some leadership in the many time spans that they do not have a pastor. And the Deacons are often used much like a union rep to protect the church from the pastor and him taking over the church. It is ungodly and unhealthy.
     
  7. saturneptune

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    Each local church decides the issue. I can only speak for ours. We are a congregational church. Knowing our congregation, we will never elect elders. Elder is the office for representational governing authority. Deacons have no Biblical governing authority. Deacons are servents, and are there to serve the Lord and, except in unusual circumstances, to serve the pastor. That is how our church operates. Fifty or so years ago, we had a "board" of Deacons that thought they ran the church. That has gone by the wayside. Deacons can make recommendations, but the church is the deciding authority.

    At the present time, we are between pastors. He was here for 13 years. He is leaving due to the care his wife now requires. We will elect a pulpit committee. The committee will search for a pastor, and bring a recommendation to the church. Probably after a sermon or so from the finalist, the church will discuss and vote on the candidate. A two thirds vote is required for a call from the church. The vote has never approached that. Our lowest vote was the pastor before the one now leaving, and he got 91%. I would think a pastor would not accept a call with a 70% vote. Most are unanimous. To answer one of the questions of the op, we put no time limit on his term.

    Deacons who think they have governing authority hold an office with a total misconception of their role. As far as the subject of elders, elders are suppose to be elected on spiritual maturity, but it usually ends up being on the basis on social status. From my experience with elders in the Presbyterian Church, when this happens, they are no more mature or Biblically knowledgeable than the average active church member.
     
  8. go2church

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    Our deacons serve all the time
     
  9. BaptistJG

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    I have heard both sides.

    Terms: so that deacons have a rest
    Full time: So that everyone is always on the same page.

    our church does terms.
     
  10. Thousand Hills

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    Sad that this is even an issue, but it is.
     
  11. Herald

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    The Bible does not speak of a term limit on elders or deacons (pastors are elders btw). We do not have an arbitrary term limit for any church office. In our church elders or deacons can resign, ask for a sabbatical, or be removed for cause.
     
  12. saturneptune

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    I am curious, in the Baptist churches with elders and deacons, is elder considered a higher office because of its governing authority? If one group has term limits, do both have term limits? Do most deacons eventually become elders?
     
  13. SaggyWoman

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    Deacons should be a source of service, not of power.

    Why not have as many deacon positions as those who are willing to serve?
     
  14. JohnDeereFan

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    I grew up in the UMC and the average time a UMC pastor stays at one church is about five years.

    I have a female cousin who is a Methodist "pastor" (she holds the title, but I don't recognize females as pastors...yes, I know I'm going to be called a pharisee for that). She was moved around quite a bit.

    That's terrible on a family, especially if you have kids.

    On the other hand, I just heard a story on WretchedRadio the other day about a Baptist pastor who was at his church for nigh on 70 years.

    Our elders are all unpaid, but receive a small stipend, plus expenses and are appointed for an indefinite period.
     
  15. JohnDeereFan

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    I don't believe Acts 6, where we get the office of deacon supports that. It tells us that we are to choose men to be deacons, not to take all comers.

    The diaconate is a specific office with Biblically mandated criteria and responsibilities.

    There are plenty of other areas in the church for people to serve without being deacons.
     
  16. Oldtimer

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    Our church has a 3 year term of "active" service, too. (After 3 years, must wait a year before becoming "active" again.)

    Active meaning they attend the deacon meetings and have x number of assigned families under their specific care. Active meaning these are the people in front of the church when a deacon's role is needed. Ex: When the deacons serve communion.

    Our church has quite a few deacons who are not on the active list, at any given time. However, they are deacons for life. The standards (wish I had a better word) apply whether they are "active" or in "reserve" status.

    Periodically, new deacons are ordained as the aging process takes its toll on the deacon fellowship. And, when a layman's "fruit" indicates there's an additional way in which he can (and is ready) to serve our Lord.
     
  17. Salty

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    So what is reason for a 3 year term ( constitution says so) and then what is the reasoning - why not 4, 5 or 6 years or even life.

    How are familes chosen for the deacons - same age, older, family make up (DINK, lots of kids, single, teens w/o family, ect.)
    Are non-member families assigned to a deacon
     
  18. JohnDeereFan

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    I see the logic in term limits, but I agree there's no Biblical support and, to be honest, I've never even heard of term limits until I saw this thread.
     
  19. Salty

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    I would say the only "logic" is that if a deacon gets out of control, the church would not want to deal with it - you know, hurt feelings ect, Just wait for his term to end and that is it.

    Now for pastors - how often are they invited to Sunday dinner - as the main course:eek:
     
  20. JohnDeereFan

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    Not that I agree with it, but I can see his point. Burnout among pastors is a big problem. Why couldn't some of those issues extend to deacons?
     

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