The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Today I had promised to continue the “cruise series” via some stunning photos from Mexico. I will in my next post. But first I need to share this brief report from church yesterday, here in Wake Forest. It was a powerful morning.
The occasion was the installation and ordination service for incoming elders and deacons. People serve three-year terms, so each year one third of the church leadership rotates off and a new “class” comes on, after eight weeks of training and community building.
I had not been feeling well all weekend, and almost didn’t make it to church. But the presence of God was so real (in both services), and the positive spirit of community so vibrant, I felt renewed and energized.
This is the first church Rebekah and I have served with both deacons and elders. But the roles of both are now clearly defined, and Rebekah is very pleased with the way they work together.
SPIRIT POURED OUT: The sanctuary was crowded at 11:15 worship. Then, when the new leaders gathered at the front of the church for “laying on of hands,” and prayer, others crowded around them, hands on heads, shoulders, backs – all physically linked as we prayed that God’s spirit be emptied into the leaders of our church, filling them up, equipping them for dynamic ministry in the name of Jesus.
One reader asked me “what’s the difference” between elders and deacons. “Elders” (who meet as “The Session”) oversee the ministry of God’s people; and deacons (the Diaconate) take care of the congregation and our life together. I can’t do much better than share the following from our church website:
- The Session is the governing body of a local Presbyterian church. The Congregation elects individuals who are committed, active and gifted leaders to serve as “elders”. Why are they called “elders”? The title comes from an ancient Greek work “presbytos” which translated, “ruled by elders”. In both the Old and New Testament we have many examples of “elders” overseeing the ministry of God’s people. Of course, it is also the word that is the root of why we call ourselves “Presbyterian”. It simply denotes the type of government the church works with. The Session is responsible for all the various ministry areas of the congregation, such as Worship and Music, Christian Education/Discipleship/Bible study for all ages; Mission and outreach (local, national and international); church finances and generosity; membership, and more.
- The Deacons of the church are elected by the congregation, and, like in the early church recorded in the Book of Acts, their ministry focuses on care of the congregation and its life together. They oversee the ministries of Welcome and Hospitality; Fellowships Events; Compassion and Care of those who are struggling with various life circumstances; Encouragement of those in transition; Weddings, Bereavement, church-wide celebrations; Stephen Ministry; “Branch” ministry (staying connected), and more.
We’re excited about what God is up to here at WFPC. Pray for us, and ask God how you can follow Jesus in the context of your local congregation – DEREK