church study

Biblical Requirements and Responsibilities of Deacons in the Church

Scripture tells us almost nothing about the selection, work, and office of the deacon.

In the early church, deacons were church officers—third to bishops and elders—and they had to be obeyed and respected “as Jesus Christ.”  (Tabb, B. J. (2016). Deacon.) Mounce (Pastoral Epistles) points out that at one point the deacon was over the church serving the bishop (Pastoral Epistles, 210) instead of serving the church. Today, a deacon is everything from a trustee to ordained ministers who are a step down from priests.

We need to dig deep.

christ church scripture

Corinth: Thought Model For Dealing With Church Problems

I’ve noticed when a church has problems (or more often before problems) they try to figure out what to do to make things better. Mind you, that might be fine. If a church has money issues, it might be a good idea to examine spending habits and prepare for the future.

Thing is, some of the problems are specifically spiritual but folk try to contrive a fix using the flesh. Now, what I mean by that isn’t what the modern ear would hear. I’m not saying “things that have to do with our internal faith have to be dealt with by praying or other faith-things instead of using our physical selves to deal with it.”

I mean that we can’t deal with these situations, whatever they may be, using the methodology and empowerment of the old system we’ve been rescued from. Church gossip might be addressed by saying “stop doing this” or “gossip hurts people” and then maybe having get-to-know-one-another-parties: but this is based more on what the world values in the Flesh System than what God has revealed as valuable to deal with these issues.

I suggest examining the thought model offered by Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth.


Must Churches Have Small Groups (A Small Groups Ministry for Growth, Discipleship and Fellowship)?

I keep finding churches that have small group ministries (called SGMs going forward). This isn’t unusual. Plenty of churches have been into this idea of small groups for a while now—more so in the mega-churches. Thousands of people going through the door winds up creating an atmosphere of anonymity; SGMs winds up being a pragmatic approach for creating community.

But I’ve seen SGMs in churches with as little as seventy-five people.

By SGMs I don’t mean Sunday School where people think that Kids need to have a targeted message. I don’t even mean a ministry like a few of the people in the assembly working in a Homeless Shelter. I mean the small groups where the local church has small groups (sometimes in this article called SGs) that meet regularly in a home for something other than a Bible study but it might include a Bible study. Perhaps working through some book (say on marriage) together. Perhaps praying together or learning to pray together (Luke 11:1). The goal, they say, is essentially a fellowship group that gets to know each other and function together while leaning on one another: a pathway to fellowship and discipleship.

What I’ve also seen is that this is then promoted as the Biblical model for discipleship and fellowship. If this is the Biblical model for fellowship, discipleship and outreach then it’s not really a optional.

First, I’ll restate what layperson Small Group Ministry Proponents (called SGMPs going forward) seem to repeatedly use in their presentation; then I’ll examine the grounds for those positions; then, if possible, I’ll come to a conclusion.

I make no promises that this will actually conclude in this post. It may be the case that some SGMP will come along with another argument that I may have to examine. Or someone might recommend a book on the issue and I’ll have to deal with a scholarly argument. Who knows.

Also, this post will be extremely long. Breaking it into smaller posts might help traffic or general readability, but the point here isn’t really to aid either but for me to examine a position. That being said, I will break up the post into pages so that you, person who is reading over my shoulder, don’t feel overwhelmed by the length of the post on one page.

acts church

Increase Not Decrease: Joy In God-Given Vocation

“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegrooms voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.” (John 3:29-30)

John, at this point of his life, noted that his joy was fulfilled in being where God wanted him to be doing what God wanted him to do. The focus of his words is not on being the bride of the groom, but being the friend of the groom. He was the greatest of the prophets; his joy was full at that endeavor because it was his God-given position and he was operating in it.

And his joy was fullfilled in hearing the groom enjoying the party with the bride. I’m sure The Baptist knew about the bride metaphor in Scripture (God and Israel Hos 2:19–20) but he didn’t know how Paul (who is Paul anyway?) would later use it (Christ and the Church Eph 5:32). He was the best man.

What of us?


Each One Has

By Scott L: Guest Blogger

I believe this will be my final post for now pertaining to the topic of church. I can say, for myself, it has been both encouraging and challenging to be reminded what is, or who is, church. If you missed any of these articles and want to start back at the beginning, check out Church 101 – The Basics.

To end out, I wanted to look at one of the most important passages, for me, concerning the topic, and one of my current favorites. It is found in 1 Corinthians 14:26:

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

There is a little phrase in this Scripture that jumps out at me – ‘each one has’. That’s right! Each one has! It doesn’t say a few have, or most have, or all but you have. It says, ‘each one has’.

What a revolutionary idea. But yet, it’s been around for almost 2,000 years! Now, most of God’s people are beginning to realize that we are all called to ministry, we are all called to serve on behalf of Christ. We see Scriptures like 2 Corinthians 5:18 that actually help us believe such life-changing truth:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

But, when we gather together on Sunday’s (or whenever), do we really believe the truth that each one has. For it is the main church gathering which Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 14. In that main meeting of the saints together, he says we all come with something – a song, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. And there are other things we could slide in there.

But have you noticed that Sunday mornings are usually dedicated to one person, or possibly a handful. Yeah, we all sing, or most of us, and we all listen to the ‘preacher’, or most of us. But 1 Corinthians 14:26 seems to teach that all of us have something specific, and special, to give in the meeting. Thus, we must shield ourselves from taking on an audience mentality when we meet together. That means guarding against letting one person, or a handful, do everything and lead everything. For remember, we are the people of God called to share our lives together. And when we gather together, we must embrace the reality that ‘each one has’. We cannot leave it to the professional paid Christian behind the pulpit. It is us together. We are a team, we are a body.

Some of you would be quick to say, ‘Well, we do this. But we save it for home groups. There isn’t enough time to allow people to share, prophesy, or “give a word” on Sunday mornings.’ But we must be reminded of the context in which Paul says ‘each one has’. It is concerning the main gathering, not just home groups. And if your response to that is, ‘Well, we are too big to administrate something like this,’ then I would not necessarily challenge you to downsize, but rather to break out in expansion (one larger group breaking out into several smaller groups). And, in doing so, you will also see the opportunity for the kingdom rule of God to expand into the lives of others who need to be reached.

I do not believe Paul had in mind that every single person in the body Christ has to share. Of course not. But the potential for such is present. For consider, if each member has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they are looking to continue in that relationship with Him, then they have things that He is speaking and doing in their lives. Or, during the time of corporate worship, a revelation might come to one, and it is like a two-edged sword. We must give room for that to be shared! This is truly part of realizing the truth that ‘each one has’.

So, as I close these thoughts on church, at least for the time being, I end with the challenge, and encouragement, to make sure we are making every effort to walk out 1 Corinthians 14:26. And as we do, I believe we will see a healthier and more mature body of Christ as we make a way for them to freely and safely learn to share their gifts in the midst of their brothers and sisters.

Rey’s Local Church Series.