When Is It Time to Appoint Elders and Deacons?

September 27, 2011 by  
Filed under   RSS Guidance from our Shepherds

First a congregation must recognize the authority, purpose and need to fill the roles of elders and deacons.

The New Testament certainly addresses those issues.

I Timothy 3:1-3, Titus 1:5-9, Acts 14:21-23, Philippians 1:1, Acts 6:1-6

After congregations have successfully installed elders and deacons then the question arises, when do we add to or replace men that can no longer serve for whatever reason.

Years ago many of us that are now members of the Franklin Church were part of another congregation. We had four spiritually strong, qualified elders. They were men of leadership and vision.

In a relatively short period of time, one elder had a heart attack and died at a seemingly young age. One elder became gravely ill and was admitted to a nursing home and was never able to resume his duties as an elder. One elder was stricken with cancer and died.

Selecting men to serve as elders in an “emergency” puts the congregation and the men asked to serve in a stressful situation. The congregation feeling pressured to appoint elders may approach men who are not fully qualified. Men may agree to serve who do not meet the qualification or who do not have the desire at that time to serve.

When is the time right to appoint elders and deacons ? N O W !

As a congregation we should always be watchful for men that are qualified to serve as elders. We should always look to men qualified to become deacons, when there are specific task to be accomplished.

Men of the congregation should be constantly working to prepare themselves to meet the qualifications to become an elder or a deacon. This should be a natural part of spiritual growth.

Brethren, let’s not wait for an “emergency” situation to occur. Let’s prepare our congregation and help our brothers prepare themselves to serve in whatever area of the Lord’s work that they are qualified and have the heart felt desire to serve.

– David Coleman

 

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Count Your Blessings

For many years we have sung the song “Count Your Many Blessings.” This is a very old song, but with a most relevant message for us today.

It seems today as if God blessing us is equated with our personal financial (material) condition.

Having talents, education and abilities to provide financially for our families certainly is a blessing from God. However, if we see our financial independence and ability to earn a living as our only blessing from God, we have really missed the point of the song and the true meaning of God’s blessings toward us.

If we go back to the verse of the song that says, “Name them one by one” and we actually sit down and list all of the ways God has blessed us, we will definitely understand how blessed we are.

What’s on your list, mine surely is not finished or complete. Somehow making a list, writing them down, giving them some thought helps us realize just what a blessed people we are.

With the economic hardships that many people are experiencing today, if we equate God’s blessings with our financial health we will truly miss all the other wonderful ways that God has blessed us.

Think about how God has blessed you, write them down -”Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One By One.”

Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.

Matthew 6:31 & 33 “Therefore take no thought, saying what shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you“.

–David Coleman

 

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A Clean Slate

When God, thru Moses, led his people to the Promised Land, he instructed them to drive out all the inhabitants of the land. These people were idol worshipers and God did not want his people mixing with them for fear that the Jews would take on their idol worship and forsake God.

Given a Clean Slate, they could worship and serve the true God as he instructed and remain faithful to Him alone.

King Josiah served God from an early age. One of his first acts in serving God was to tear down the “high places” and destroy the wooden, carved and molded images. He too was creating a Clean Slate for the children of God to begin serving God again without the baggage of the previous evil kings.

The history of the Jewish people reveals that they were repeatedly rejecting God and turning to idols and worship of false gods.

When one is baptized to become a Christian we also are given the opportunity of a Clean Slate.

Psalm 51:7 says “we shall be whiter than snow.” All of our previous sins are forgiven by the grace of God. Yes, we will stumble and fall from time to time, but Christ’s blood continually cleanses us from our sins as we repent of them.

Let us not be like Israel of old. Let’s not turn back to our former lusts of the flesh. Let’s not take up our “idols” and reject God in doing so.

We have a Clean Slate – let’s fill it with good things (Philippians 4:8).

-David Coleman

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Time

God’s word places great importance on TIME.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a TIME to every purpose under the heaven.”

Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the TIME, because the days are evil.”

Psalms 89:47 “Remember how short my TIME is.”

James 4:14 “For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appeareth for a little TIME and then vanisheth away.”

Today’s society is very TIME conscious. We have our bedside alarm clocks, watch alarms, cell phone alarms, day-timers, Blackberry meeting reminders, and on-line schedules to remind us of important meetings and appointments.

In light of all this emphasis on TIME, how do we prioritize our TIME for meeting with our brothers and sisters to worship God or to study his word?

When was the last TIME you were late for:

Work

Doctor’s Appointment

Movie at a theater

Kick-off or tip-off of a sporting event

Dinner with friends at a restaurant

Business meeting with your boss or a client

In contrast, how often are you late for :

Bible study on Sunday morning

Worship services on Sunday

Bible study on Wednesday night

Special services where God’s word is being taught

Accidents happen, sickness occurs, but be honest with yourself, most cases of being late, anywhere, are due to poor planning in advance and bad habits which could be cured by leaving the house five or ten minutes earlier. Being late to services or classes disrupts the concentration of the teacher and the other students or audience. Give your spiritual life as much importance as your secular and social life and TIME will not be an issue.

-David Coleman

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Christians and Christmas

At this time of year many Christians struggle with how to deal with Christmas among their family, friends, co-workers and other Christians.

How do we present the story of our Savior’s birth, a true and essential part of our faith?

How do we deal with “gifting”, why do we give gifts to others at this time of the year?

As a family, do we have a tree in our home or not? How was this tradition started, is it appropriate for Christians to observe this tradition?

What do we tell our children and grandchildren about Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), is there a place for fairy tales and myths in the life of a Christian?

Can we as Christians sing traditional spiritual songs associated with this Christmas season?

As a congregation, do we avoid any preaching, teaching or songs that would lead our visitors or others to believe we condone the religious celebration of this season?

I will not attempt to answer all of these questions.

We do have scripture that cautions us about observing special days, Galatians 4:10.

We do have scripture that teaches us to do good unto all men, Galatians 6:10.

We do have scripture that teaches of the Greatest Story Ever Told; Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of our Lord.

We do have scripture that teaches of the Greatest Gift ever given, John 3:16.

We do have scripture that teaches that our Savior died on a tree (cross), different from this traditional tree.

We do have scripture that teaches us to teach and admonish each other in song, Colossians 3:16.

At this time of year I am always reminded of Paul’s teaching in Philippians 1:15-18. ” not withstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice.”

In whatever way Christians choose to observe the traditions of this season, let us seize every opportunity to teach Christ!

–David Coleman
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Drawing Our Line in the Sand

As young boys, often when there was a heated disagreement, we would draw a line in the sand or dirt and challenge one another to “step across that line,” thus signaling the beginning of a fight.

Through the centuries this challenge has taken on a more complex meaning in disagreements with peoples and nations.

The Mason-Dixon Line is usually thought of as the dividing line between the North and the South in our country and symbolizes a great conflict that tore our nation apart.

The Maginot Line was a fortification built on the eastern border of France for protection from invading armies. During World War II the German army passed to the north of the line and attacked the French from the rear capturing the line.

During the Korean Conflict (War) the United Nations Security Council established the 38th Parallel as the line which North Korea was to retreat to and not enter South Korea beyond that line. North Korea ignored the resolution and invaded the South.

Spiritually speaking, we are called upon to draw lines every day.

Where do we draw the line when it comes to sin? For example, where do we draw the line when we are faced with decisions about drinking alcohol, taking habit forming drugs, or having sexual relations outside of marriage? Do we see just how close we can get to the line and then convince ourselves we will not cross over the line? Do we run with a crowd that is always pushing the line and testing us to see just how far we will go?

As Christians, we often sing the song “Have You Counted The Cost.” The first verse begins, “There is a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord.” If we reject the Lord, we can live anyway we please and have little conflict. If we cross over the line and accept Christ, we are signaling the beginning of a battle. We will battle Satan everyday as he tries to devour us (I Peter 5:8), but our reward will be eternal victory in Jesus (I John 5:4).

Where have you drawn the line?

–by David Coleman

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Good Guys

Recently a business associate shared an article with me entitled “Good Guys’ built U.S. powerhouse” (The Tennessean, Sunday 9-20-2009, by Joe Scarlett). In general, it discussed how our nation and our economy has been victimized by a small group of “bad guys” who really did some very bad things. He points out that we should not let the actions of this minority of business leaders condemn a great system built by many ethical and honest business leaders over the years.

The article had five points that demonstrate the path followed by the “good guys” that led to their success. As I read these five points of success, I realized they followed a pattern that we as Christians should be familiar with as we strive to live our lives day by day.

 

1) “Taking a long-term view of their business”

II Cor. 5:1 Our long-term view is of our eternal home in heaven.

John 14:2-3 I go to prepare a place for you, where I am there ye may be also.

 

2) “Practicing “servant leadership,” always placing others’ needs above their own”

John 13:14-16 Jesus taught his disciples that he came to be a servant, and he left them an example to follow in being servants to others.

Phil. 2:2-3 Paul teaches us to be like-minded and to put the needs of our brothers before our own.

 

3) “Following the Golden Rule and treating other people the same way they themselves would want to be treated”

Matt. 7:12 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Gal. 5:14 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

 

4) “Recognizing that team-work and strong business partnerships are essential”

Mark 6: 7, 12 And he called the twelve and began to send them forth two by two.

Acts 13: 2-3 And they separated Paul and Barnabas for the work where unto they had been called.

Heb. 10: 24-25 Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.

 

5) “Observing the highest levels of ethical and moral conduct”

II Cor. 8: 21 Providing for honest things not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Phil. 4: 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If we will follow these principles, as outlined in God’s word, we may not be the most successful business leader, we may not attain great wealth in this world, but by having that long-term view of eternity, we will receive the reward of those mansions prepared for us in heaven.

–David Coleman

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It Doesn’t Have to Be Big to Be Sacrificing for the Lord

Recently a local radio personality (a Christian and a friend) announced his decision to leave his position for one year to travel to China and teach English. In short, he indicated that the Lord had helped him through a difficult trial and he had promised the Lord he would do something special with his life – like this trip to China. He is sacrificing his time – a year of his life. He is sacrificing financially – leaving his business and the uncertainties of living in a foreign country at a time when Americans are not always welcomed with open arms.

You might look at a situation like this and say, I wish I could do something special for the Lord.

You can! In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us to present our bodies as a “living” sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.

Every day that you live your life for the Lord; every day you set a good example for your family, neighbors, co-workers or a stranger; every time you do good unto others; every time you share God’s word with some one else; every time you support and encourage your brethren, you are…

“…Going To China”.

“God does not require anything we don’t have; but, he requires everything we do have.”

–David Coleman 

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The Value of a Soul

For many years now my wife and I have been collectors and “shoppers” of antiques. More shopping than buying, but still fun. One of the thrills of dabbling in antiques is to find a piece in an antique shop that is similar to one you own and using the price of the piece in the shop to establish the value of the piece you have in your home.

Recently, I have been involved with liquidating the estate of my late uncle. He had been a collector of metal toy soldiers for more than sixty years. I have spent many hours reading books, searching online, and corresponding with dealers to establish the value of his collection.

From both of these experiences I have been made aware of a marketing truth. The VALUE of an item is equal to the PRICE someone is willing to pay at any given time.

Using this principle, what is the VALUE of your SOUL?

Romans 5:8 says, “But, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

The VALUE of our SOUL is equal to the ultimate PRICE willingly paid by Christ at a time when we were without VALUE.

PRICE PAID, LIFE OF CHRIST = SOUL’S VALUE, PRICELESS

Matthew 16:26 says, ” For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own SOUL? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his SOUL?”

-David Coleman

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Count Your Blessings

For many years we have sung the song “Count Your Many Blessings.” This is a very old song, but with a most relevant message for us today.

It seems today as if God blessing us is equated with our personal financial (material) condition.

Having talents, education and abilities to provide financially for our families certainly is a blessing from God. However, if we see our financial independence and ability to earn a living as our only blessing from God, we have really missed the point of the song and the true meaning of God’s blessings toward us.

If we go back to the verse of the song that says, “Name them one by one” and we actually sit down and list all of the ways God has blessed us, we will definitely understand how blessed we are.

Salvation                                     Health                             Relationships                           Jobs

Forgiveness                               Spouse                           Homes                                        Food

Prayer                                          Children                          Country                                       Clothing

Spiritual Family                          Grandchildren               Memories                                    Wonders of Nature

What’s on your list, mine surely is not finished or complete. Somehow making a list, writing them down, giving them some thought helps us realize just what a blessed people we are.

With the economic hardships that many people are experiencing today, if we equate God’s blessings with our financial health we will truly miss all the other wonderful ways that God has blessed us.

Think about how God has blessed you, write them down -“Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One By One.”

Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.

Matthew 6:31 & 33 “Therefore take no thought, saying what shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you“. 

–David Coleman

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