In Acts 6 Luke tells us this: The Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers and sisters, choose men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose seven and presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly.

This passage is taken as the foundation for the work of Deacons in the Church. We might ordinarily think of Deacons in the context of our mercy ministry partners like Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center or Servant’s Heart. Or we night think of Deacons in the context of the Father’s Cupboard or in the distribution of Mercy Fund resources to those specially in need. We probably do not think of Deacons as being the way in which the “Word of God spread.” But that is what Scripture says! “And the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly.” (Acts 6:7).

This past Sunday we were privileged to ordain three new Deacons at GRC. Steve Bourque, Cliff Cordes and James Sang join our existing Deacons and Deaconesses serving our congregation and others in mercy ministry. Theirs is a serious responsibility. The Greek word for “Deacon” shows up in Mark 10 as a verb. In verse 45 Jesus tells the disciples that “even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” It might be read “he came not to be ‘deaconed,’ but to be a ‘deacon.’”

This, however, is not just a calling for Deacons, it is a calling for us all. Jesus gave us one of the most remarkable object lessons about serving each other at the Last Supper when he washed his disciples’ feet. Afterward, what did he say? “If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). Indeed, not only did he wash the disciples’ feet, he went even further and died on the Cross to atone for their sins and for ours.

We can not serve in in our own strength. We can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. As that Spirit comes upon us and we are united through him in Christ, will we be able to truly serve, even as Christ has served us.

We welcome Steve, Cliff and James as Deacons at GRC, specially called to service among us. We rejoice in the ministry they will have, together with the other Deacons and Deaconesses. We too, individually, must join them in service following the example of our wonderful Savior and Lord Jesus. Through all of us, may the Word of God spread and may the number of disciples increase.

Lee Augsburger serves as an Elder at GRC.