July 18, 2001

First Baptist Church

Niceville, Florida



. . . whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matt. 20:26-28




I. Deacons In Scripture

  1. The Office Defined
  2. Standards of Life and Character
  3. Deacons in the New Testament
  4. Implementing Biblical Principles

II. Organization and Structure of the Deacon Fellowship

  1. Deacon Body
  2. Deacon Leadership
    1. Deacon Chairman
    2. Deacon Vice-Chairman
    3. Deacon Secretary/Treasurer
    4. Ministry and Committee Leaders
    5. Deacon Committee and Ministry Team Appointments
  3. Deacon Meetings
  4. Deacon Selection and Rotation
  5. Deacon Classification
    1. Active Deacon Body
    2. Reserve Deacons
    3. Deacon Emeritus
  6. Budget Action
    1. Deacon Ministry Budget
    2. Deacon Operational Budget
    3. Annual Pastor Salary Adjustment
  7. Deacon Ministry Manual Maintenance

III. Deacons For Service In Godís Kingdom

  1. Organizing for Effective Ministry
    1. Ministry Overview
    2. Ministry Organization
  2. Deacon Specific Ministry Areas
    1. Prayer Ministry
    2. The Lordís Supper
    3. The Lordís Supper for Homebound Ministry
    4. Deacon Fellowship
    5. Deacon Operational Budget Policies
    6. Special Needs
  3. Training for an Effective Ministry

IV. Appendices

Tab 1. Deacon Nomination Process

Tab 2. Calendar, Rosters, Committees, and Organizations

Tab 3. Church Constitution and By-Laws/Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual

Tab 4. Ministries

Tab 5. Meeting Minutes, Notes and Miscellaneous

I. Deacons In Scripture

A. The Office of Deacon Defined

B. Standards of Life and Character

C. Deacons in the New Testament

D. Implementing Biblical Principles

II. Organization and Structure of the Deacon Fellowship

A. Deacon Body.

B. Deacon Leadership.

    1. Deacon Chairman

      Chosen by the Deacon Body, this person serves as the motivational and organizational leader of the deacon body. His duties include, but are not limited to the following:

      • Plan, conduct and evaluate deacons meetings.
      • Lead the deacons in becoming an effective ministry team and in developing their ministry plans.
      • Lead in providing deacons with adequate training and resources for doing their work. (Reference Part III, C Ė Training for an Effective Ministry.)
      • In September, accomplish the specific budget tasks as outlined in paragraph F below.
      • Serve as a member of the Church Council, Trustees, and Stewardship Committee, acting as a liaison between the deacons and these organizational elements.
      • Work closely with the Pastor and Church Staff to facilitate an effective ministry partnership.
      • Report regularly to the church on the work of the deacons.
      • Work with Deacon Vice-Chairman to identify deacon committee and ministry team members.
      • Should the pastorate be vacated or forecast to be vacant for any reason, the chairman will:
      • --Take action to ensure the pulpit is filled.

        -- Appoint an Interim Pastor Search Committee.

        -- Call the church into conference for establishing a season of prayer, after which a Pastor Search Committee would be elected.

    2. Deacon Vice-Chairman

      The Active Deacon Body elects the Vice-Chairman. His duties include, but are not limited to the following:

      • Conduct deaconís meetings in the absence of the chairman.
      • Assist the chairman in planning and executing his responsibilities.
      • Assist the chairman in developing ministry plans.
      • Serve as the coordinator of deacon training.
      • Work with Deacon Chairman to identify deacon committee and ministry team members.

    3. Deacon Secretary/Treasurer

      Elected by the Deacon Body, the duties of the Secretary include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Keep accurate minutes of deacons meetings and records of deacon ministries.
      • Work with the Education Secretary in maintaining deacon membership records, records of deacon rotation and deacon ministry reports in coordination with the Records Secretary
      • Prepare official correspondence for the Deacon Body.
      • Coordinate maintenance and update of the Deacon Ministry Manual with the church Records Secretary.
      • Assist the Chairman and Vice-Chairman in deacon ministry planning.
      • Serve as the chairman of the Deacon Emeritus nominating committee.
      • Collect funds from monthly dues and special offerings, maintain the deacon fund checking account, and pay all expenses.

    4. Ministry and Committee Leaders

      The deacons shall serve as a council of advice and conference with the pastor in all matters pertaining to the welfare and the work of the church. With the pastor they are to consider and to formulate plans for the consistent effort and progress of the church in all things pertaining to the saving of souls, the development of Christians, and the extension and growth of the Kingdom of God. By proper organization and method among themselves, and in conjunction with the Sunday School, they are to establish and maintain personal relations with and minister to all the membership of the church. They are to seek to know the physical needs and the moral and spiritual struggles of the brothers and sisters; and to serve the whole church in relieving need or concerns, encouraging, and developing all who are in need.

      All deacons (active, reserve and emeritus) are encouraged to lead the church in its various ministries and committee functions. Deacons should actively participate as a ministry team leader or committee member in the planning, organization and execution of these ministries. Deacons must model themselves after the "Seven Principles of Servant Leadership" identified in Dr C. Gene Wilkes book, Jesus On Leadership. In addition, they are responsible for reporting on ministry status in deacons meetings and providing ministry status reports to the Deacon Chairman. Section III, "Deaconís For Service In Godís Kingdom" will outline the details of the various church ministries and committees.

    5. Deacon Committee and Ministry Team Appointments.

      The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Deacons make deacon committee appointments and deacon ministry team appointments (Tab 2) to delegate responsibility for special deacon ministries, activities or fellowships, which are scheduled on an annual or one-time basis.

      • Deacon Social Committee . Recommends and plans fellowships for the deacons as outlined in Part III, B, 4, Deacon Fellowship.

      • Deacon Nominating Committee Chairman (the complete committee is composed of those deacons serving in their last year as an active deacon). This committee is responsible for accomplishing the deacon selection procedures as outlined in paragraph D, Deacon Selection and Rotation, and as a Deacon Emeritus Committee to recommend candidates to the church for honoring as Deacon Emeritus. (See paragraph E, Deacon Classification, sub-paragraph 3. Deacon Emeritus).

      • Deacon Sunday Morning Prayer Ministry Committee . This committee is responsible for accomplishing the tasks associated with the Prayer Ministry as reflected in Part III, B, 1 - Deacon Specific Ministry Areas.

      • Deacon Constitution Committee . This committee is an Ad Hoc committee established to periodically review the church constitution and make recommendations for change. Membership may also be extended to church members outside the Deacon Body upon recommendation of the chairman.

      • Deacon Lordís Supper Committee . This committee will prepare and clean up for the Lordís Supper observances. The committee shall be composed of two teams. Some members may serve a second term to provide continuity. The committee chairman will ensure the equipment used is in proper repair and order new or additional equipment as needed. He will ensure the deacon budget is properly funded to conduct the observances. The committee chairman will ensure that the required number of deacons are contacted and scheduled for each observance. Additionally, the committee will provide the logistics to effect ministering of the Lord's Supper to homebound members, and members of various nursing home and congregate living facilities where deacon ministry is being accomplished.

      • Pastor Advisory Committee. The three elected deacon officers (chairman, vice-chairman and secretary) will act as an advisory council to the pastor on matters of his choosing, or concerns of the deacons.

      • Other committees as needed. The Chairman has the latitude to appoint other committees deemed necessary for effective function of the deacon body.

C. Deacons Meetings.

Deacons meetings are normally scheduled on a monthly basis. Additional meetings may be scheduled on an "as required" basis. All active deacons are expected to attend and to submit his resignation if he is absent for 3 consecutive meetings unless providentially hindered. The pastor and members of the church staff should also attend the meeting. Invited guests will periodically attend to provide information or bring proposals before the Deacon Body. Called meetings may be held when deemed necessary and may be called either by the pastor or by the chairman of deacons with their mutual consent or by the written request of at least four (4) active members of the deacons.

The main purpose of the monthly meeting is the coordination of ministry plans and consideration of church business. It is also an important time for fellowship, encouragement and prayer. Anytime the deacons meet; they should assemble as a spiritual, ministry-oriented team. The tone and agenda of the meeting should reflect this spirit.

The deacon chairman is responsible for planning and conducting the deacons meeting. The agenda for the meeting will normally include, but is not limited to, the following sample format:

In preparing the agenda, the deacon chairman consults the pastor, the church staff and the other deacon officers.

D. Deacon Selection and Rotation.

Deacons are elected and ordained by the Church for life. The church nominates deacon candidates at large, but screened and processed by the Deacon Nominating Committee, whose members are those in their third year of service as an active Deacon. The Committee encourages an emphasis on the qualifications described previously in this manual in reviewing the submitted recommendations. The process of nominating and electing deacons is described in the following paragraph.

E. Deacon Classification.

F. Budget Action.

G. Deacon Ministry Manual Maintenance.

III. Deacons For Service In Godís Kingdom

A. Organizing for Effective Ministry

Youth Committee * Evangelism Committee *
Senior Adults Committee * Childrenís Committee
Single Adult Committee Long Range Building and Planning *
Recreation Committee Clowning Ministry
Gang Rescue Visitation (F.A.I.T.H.)
Crisis Pregnancy Publicity/Broadcast Committee
Baptism Committee * Stewardship Committee *
Nominating Committee * Committee on Committees *
Benevolent Committee * Bereavement Committee *
Christian Life Committee Hospital Visitation
Homebound Grief Support Group
Crisis Support Group Family Life Committee
Media Center Committee Parking and Security Committee *
Preschool Committee * Sound and Lighting Committee
Transportation Committee Insurance Committee
Usher Committee Air Conditioning Committee
Missions Development Committee * Property and Grounds Committee *
My Friends House
History Committee Welcome/Greeting Committee
Hospitality Committee * Personnel Committee *
New Member Committee *
Prayer Committee * Counting Committee
Worship Arts Committee Lordís Supper Committee * (Deacons)
Computer Committee *

B. Deacon Specific Ministry Areas.

    1. Prayer Ministry. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16) A praying church is a powerful church. To be more effective in ministry, deacons should seek a greater level of understanding and responsibility in their prayer life. As deacons, we are privileged to participate in prayer for the membership and to intensify this effort in times of crisis or need. Thus, the primary focus of this ministry area is to encourage the deacon fellowship to pray for the needs of the church.

      1. Sunday Morning Prayer Ministry (Tab 4).

        Sunday worship services and Bible study are the focal point in the life of the church and its members. As deacons, we should always be in prayer for the needs of the church. Sunday Prayer Ministry is led by a deacon during each Sunday morning worship service (8:00 and 10:30 AM) and includes a small group of volunteer prayer warriors. They specifically pray for 1) the worship services, 2) the worship leaders and 3) the worship participants, that God might be glorified as we worship together.

        Procedures and Responsibilities. Deacon(s) and church members taking part in the Sunday Prayer Ministry are requested to earnestly pray for our church on Sunday and during the preceding week, focusing on the following:

        1) Pray for our church as we come together to worship and study Godís Word during the services and Sunday School hour.

        2) Pray for our worship leaders, including:

          a) The Pastor

          b) The Church Staff

          c) The Choir and other Music Leaders

          d) Lay Leaders participating in the services

        3) Pray for those who have come to worship, focusing on:

          a) Church Members

          b) Visitors

          c) Those who need to make decisions

          d) Specific prayer needs from the Wednesday night prayer list

        4) Each deacon leading in the Sunday Prayer Ministry should recruit prayer warriors at least one week in advance to pray with him in the chapel. The designated deacon will meet in the pastorís office before the worship service for a review of specific prayer needs and for a time of prayer with the pastor. He will then go to the Brown Chapel to pray with the prayer warriors during the worship service. Other deacon participation in the prayer time during worship services is encouraged, but entirely voluntary.

      2. Deacon Calling Roster and Church Prayer Chain (Tab 2).

        The Deacon Calling Roster and E-Mail are used to contact each deacon when there is a serious illness, emergency, or death among the membership. These methods are also used to notify members of important events or information.

        The FBCN Prayer Chain, while not deacon specific, is the method used to contact each member of the prayer chain when there is a serious illness, death or other crisis involving the church membership, or critical needs within the church. The FBCN Prayer Chain is at Tab 2.

      3. Deacon Prayer Partners.

        As deacons, it is our privilege and responsibility to pray for one another, and with one another. All deaconsí meetings are opened and closed with prayer. During closing prayer time, we will often divide into pairs or small groups to pray and share with fellow deacons. You are encouraged to use this time to get to know other deacons on a more personal basis through prayer with one another.

    2. The Lordís Supper.

      One of the privileges of deacon ministry is that of sharing in the administration of the Lordís Supper. All deacons are encouraged to be present and prepared to share and receive the elements as described in I Cor. 11:23-34. Normally, the Lordís Supper is scheduled once each quarter during both morning worship services (8:00 and 10:30 AM).

      Procedure and Responsibilities.

      1. Please wear a coat and tie for this occasion.
      2. Normally all participating deacons meet in the sanctuary at 7:30 the morning of the services to receive instructions for participation in the Lordís Supper for both services.
      3. The Deacon Lordís Supper Chairman hands out a diagram of the sanctuary with each position highlighted. The diagram of the sanctuary is at Tab 4. If any deacon is unclear of the procedure, everyone can walk through the process.
      4. A total of 22 deacons is required in order to conduct the Lordís Supper, if members are seated in the balcony. They will sit in their assigned places on the front pew at the beginning of the service.
      5. The elements are normally prepared by the Deacon Lordís Supper Committee on Saturday in order to be ready for the first Sunday morning service. The elements will be prepared again after the first service for the second service.
      6. The Deacon Lordís Supper Chairman will designate two deacons to serve the choir, the instrumentalist and the sound booth personnel.
      7. The pastor and an associate pastor will give the trays with the elements to the deacons, who will then serve the congregation.
      8. After the congregation is served, the deacons will return to their assigned places.
      9. The pastor and an associate pastor will then serve the elements to the deacons.
      10. Finally, after saying a brief word, the pastor directs all present to partake of the elements.

    3. The Lordís Supper for the Homebound Ministry.

      Participation in the Lordís Supper is a privilege that should be available to all members of the church who wish to participate. Because our homebound members are often unable to attend church services, a ministry is provided by the deacon body to administer the Lordís Supper to homebound church members at their place of residence.

      Procedure and Responsibilities.

      1. Participants. Deacons volunteer to go out in pairs to visit homebound members and administer the Lordís Supper. Normally, from one to three members will be visited by each pair of deacons.

      2. Scheduling of Visits. The recommended time for scheduling the visits is Sunday afternoons, approximately once each quarter.

      3. Advance Preparations. The Deacon Lordís Supper Chairman will coordinate the following preparations with the Minister for Senior Adults and the Homebound Committee Chairman.

        1) The prospective list of homebound members is contacted in advance to see if they want to receive the Lordís Supper. Those who want to participate are notified of the approximate date and time to expect the visit.

        2) Depending on the condition of the homebound member, a follow-up phone call is recommended on the day before and/or the day of the visit.

        3) Visitation packets are prepared including names, addresses, and yellow cards for reporting results of the homebound visit.

        4) The packets are grouped based on the number of deacon pairs participating.

        5) Materials are assembled including:

          a) Portable Lordís Supper kits (for transporting the elements). Preparation of the kits is coordinated in advance with the Lordís Supper Committee.

          b) Extra Bibles for the Lordís Supper service.

      4. Logistics of the Visit..

        1) Deacons arrive at the scheduled time to determine pairings and receive, 1) the Visitation Packet and, 2) the Lordís Supper Kit.

        2) Deacon pairs briefly review the order of service and determine responsibilities. (i.e. reading of scriptures, serving of elements, scripture reading, etc.)

        3) Important - Have prayer as a group before departing on visit, asking God to prepare our hearts and the hearts of our homebound members.

        4) Upon arrival, utilize the deacon visitation guidelines. Try to create a relaxed atmosphere of friendship and genuine concern.

        5) Inquire about special needs or concerns, and then take time to listen.

        6) Conduct the Lordís Supper Worship Service according the guidelines outlined below.

        7) Return to the church upon completion of the visit and, 1) Record results of the visit on the yellow card and deposits in the Visitation Box and, 2) Return the Lordís Supper Kit to a designated collection point.

      5. Lordís Supper Worship Service - Guidelines (Tab 4).

        1) Open with Prayer.

        2) Deacon #1 serves the bread to individuals present.

        3) Deacon #2 reads the following scripture:
        And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." --Luke 22:19

        4) Deacon #1 motions to partake of the bread.

        5) Deacon #2 serves the juice to individuals present.

        6) Deacon #1 reads the following scripture:
        In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." --Luke 22:20

        7) Deacon #2 motions to partake of the juice.

        8) Close with prayer.

    4. Deacon Fellowship.

      While Deacon Fellowship is not a formal ministry, it is mentioned here because it is extremely important that deacons care for and minister to the needs of one another. The Deacon Social Committee plans, coordinates and ensures funding (as needed for special guests) of deacon fellowships throughout the year. The best procedure for funding is that everyone should pay in advance, delivering the check/money to the church office. The committee will determine social events to be held each year from 1 Oct until 30 Sep. They will ensure that the church calendar is updated.

      The following events are normally scheduled each year.

      1. Installation Banquet: This banquet is held soon after the deacon elections are completed. All deacons of the church (active, reserve, and emeritus), the pastors/ministers (retired and active) and their wives are invited. Everyone pays their own way.
      2. Christmas Banquet: This banquet is normally held at the beginning of December each year. All deacons of the church (active, reserve, and emeritus), widows of former deacons, ministerial staff, the pastors (retired and active) and their wives are invited. Everyone pays their own way.
      3. Valentineís Banquet: This banquet may be held if there is no church wide banquet during February.
      4. Deacon Dip: This church wide social event is held after Sunday evening service during the month of July.
      5. Husbands and wives retreat: scheduled as necessary.
      6. Others as necessary like breakfast or luncheons during a training session.

    5. Deacon Operational Budget Policies.

      The funds received from dues collected monthly from Active deacons will be used for the following areas to promote the deacon fellowship.

      1. Provide flowers to active deacons who experience a death or hospitalization of an immediate family member. Immediate family member is defined as the deacon, spouse, child, mother, father, or grandparent.
      2. Provide an appropriate card to other family members, or reserve deacons, who experience a tragedy in their lives.
      3. Provide a gift to the ministerial staff members on their birthday, at Christmas, or at other functions; as determined by the deacons.
      4. Provide honorariums for guest speakers/entertainment for social functions not provided for in the church budget.
      5. Provide funds for unforeseen situations, as determined by the deacon body.

      The Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary/Treasurer will annually review the budget policies reflected above, recommend any changes to the deacon body for their adoption, and determine the amount of monthly dues necessary to raise the required funds. The changes will be incorporated into the Deacon Information Sheet used by the Deacon Nominating Committee to brief newly nominated individuals.

    6. Special Needs.

      As Christians, we are obliged to help those in our church who have special needs. This may include widows, shut-ins, single parents, the elderly and others who need help or support. While conducting visits, serving the Lordís Supper to the homebound or participating in other ministries, deacons may observe individuals or families with special needs. As special needs are identified, they are directed to the Minister and/or deacon ministry team responsible for that area, who will coordinate efforts to address these needs through various channels, including the church staff, the responsible church committee, other church members, or outside sources. In some cases, deacons will be called upon to organize special projects, targeting identified areas of need.

C. Training for an Effective Ministry

Training is an integral part of success in any endeavor, especially in the deacon ministry. Various types of training is available to assist the deacon in fulfilling the many tasks he will be involved in. Some of these training opportunities are:

  1. Reading Robert Sheffieldís book, The Ministry of Baptist Deacons.
  2. Reading Dr C. Gene Wilkesí book, Jesus On Leadership which outlines Seven Principles of Servant Leadership.
  3. Reading John Maxwellís book on prayer.
  4. Conducting annual deacon/wives retreats where specialized training by the pastor and his wife can be experienced.
  5. Identifying specialized training subjects and arrange for appropriate classes. This may involve guest teachers from the Florida Baptist or Southern Baptist Convention.
  6. Taking part in deacon conferences at the association and state level.

IV. Appendices

Tab 1. Deacon Nomination Process

Tab 2. Calendar, Rosters, Committees, and Organizations

Tab 3. Church Constitution and By-Laws/Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook

Tab 4. Ministries

Tab 5. Notes and Miscellaneous