Pastoral Ministry
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Charge to Terry Jordan
Acts 6:1-4 NIV

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. [2] So 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. [3] Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them [4] and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.'" 

Every time I read this passage I immediately think how little things have changed. I learn two eternal truths here, #1 There will always be problems in a church. #2. There will always be a need for problem solvers.

That's a fairly good definition of what a deacon does-they solve problems. And the tools they use to solve problems are sacrifice and service.

Being a deacon is undoubtedly the toughest job you'll never be paid to do. It often means you get in the middle of a problem and solve it. That's what the first deacons did, they got in the middle of a racial conflict in the church and solved it with their sacrifice and service.

Terry, today I want to encourage you to emulate these first century deacons as you minister in the twenty-first century. Do whatever it takes to keep your church healthy. 

Often, like in the case of these deacons, your sacrifice will come as a result of adversity.

During his speech, at the Washington National Cathedral on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrances, President Bush said that adversity calls people to sacrifice.

"We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion; in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible." Bush said.

"And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to safety."


These people's service reminds us of the importance of the Golden Rule: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

But for others, sacrifice and service doesn't come out of times of adversity, it is just a way of life. Take Dr. Paul Farmer for instance. He works about two months a year in Boston, MA where he heads the Infectious Disease program at Harvard Medical School and treats patients at Brigham & Women's Hospital, but the rest of the year he spends most of his time in Haiti, a poverty ridden country with no affordable health care, treating the "disposable people" of the world.

Why? His faith compels him to help those less fortunate than himself.

Farmer's sacrifice has caught the attentions of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder who is working on a book about Farmer. Kidder said, "It's not as though what he's doing is somehow inhuman or superhuman. It's intensely human. When you hang out with Paul you begin to think that altruism is normal, and the other stuff we tend to think of as part of human nature-greed, selfishness, mendaciousness-that those are the things that are abnormal. It's just another way of seeing the world tilt around."

-Biography, September 2001, p. 84-85

Terry, we trust that you will sacrifice and serve whether it is a time of crisis, or just because it is a way of life for you. In fact, that is why we are ordaining you today, because we have noticed in the way you conduct yourself that you have a servants heart-a deacon's heart.

Right now, we lay our hands upon you for the service of a deacon, and after that, we will allow you to serve us, as you join other deacons in administering the Lord's Supper. Your first act of service as a deacon-the first of many.

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