Is there a difference between being a member of the Finance Committee or a Deacon at your church? Recently, I was in a Bible Study in which one individual mentioned the fact that raising money for the church budget was the task of the deacons. If that were true, then the major qualification of a deacon would be finances. I happened to be reading through 1Timothy at the time and some other passages related to the work of deacons in the early New Testament Church. I wondered about what this individual stated. Have we confused the task of the deacons with the Finance Committee? Or should we all take responsibility for the proper funding the church so the deacons can do their task and serve the congregation through a “deed” ministry?
It made me think further about the roles of the offices in the church. The Presbyterian Church I presently attend has the ushers receive the offering each Sunday and the Finance Committee solicits the congregation to make pledges to cover the cost of the annual budget. The Deacons sponsor many programs for those impoverished and the homeless. It caused me to pause and reflect from a Biblical perspective what the roles of the church officers have in the ministry of the church.
Do people really know what the roles of the pastors, elders and deacons are? Are they written somewhere obvious so that the first time visitor is able to read them? Individuals coming out of various church backgrounds, or only childhood experience with a church, or no church experience at all may have no idea what elders, deacons and perhaps less so, pastors are or suppose to do. In fact in various Christian Church traditions the definition of their roles are different.
One of the mistakes that we make in our churches is to assume people know things that are obvious to the long time member in our tradition; but in fact they do not. I also believe that over time we drift from the original intent of a program or a position within the church. A review of our structures, programs and roles is important.
I think at least once a year the council should review the Biblical mandates for elders and deacons. Evaluate how well each person holding the office is able to perform their task without being encumbered with things that really do not pertain to their office. So how often do you discuss what it means to be an elder, deacon, pastor, etc.? Or is it that obvious we do not have to review our positions and we assume everyone in the church knows as well?