Conductor – (3 definitions)
1– a person who directs the performance of an orchestra or choir
2 a person in charge of a train, streetcar, or other public conveyance, who collects fares and sells tickets.
3 Physics a material or device that conducts or transmits heat, electricity, or sound, esp. when regarded in terms of its capacity to do this:
To be a conductor in any form is an amazing responsibility, but in the area of the ministry of being a deacon it can have huge great effects or disastrous ones. Believe it or not, all three definitions given by Webster are applicable to the life of a deacon. Paul in writing to Timothy knew that this position of leadership could get out of control if not handled properly (verses 14-16) so he gave some upfront qualifications to help keep it in the right frame of ministry. In the denomination I serve, the deacon ministry has warped into the very thing Paul was warning against. It is such a pivotal ministry that if used by those who are deacons in the wrong way, it can stifle the cause of Christ for many years. Why? Because we are traditionalists when it comes to position and power. What I mean is, when we get a position of leadership we tend to want to pass it down to our children, grandchildren, close friends, and so on like it’s an inheritance. That attitude in itself is a mockery to the deacon ministry. The deacon is a man who is individually proven to be a man of dignity, not double-minded, not addicted to wine, or fond of sordid gain. These are individual characteristics that come out of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The first definition speaks to this very thing. A deacon is a person who directs the performance of the church, as he also directs the performance of his family and his own life (verses 12). That direction is not given by a person who is a star or a man of position, but as a servant who shows the mystery of who God is by pure, undefiled, Godliness. Oh he’s a leader alright. But a “servant leader.” Too many deacon ministries in my denomination have morphed the ministry of the deacon into an office or a position of decision making power. The decision making is good if controlled by a heart that understands and lives the life of a servant. I’m gonna make a call here……ONLY by a person who has the heart of the ultimate servant, Jesus Christ. There, I did it!!
The second definition also applies to deacons because they are on this gospel ship and they are very pointed in wanting to reach more and more with the gospel. They know the power of new converts being added to the cause of Christ. They also know that when they line up with Jesus in their thinking, they will have the distinct honor of not only reaching new converts, but mentoring them in the faith. They welcome new converts into the church and punch their ticket for the ride by investing their time and teaching to disciple those new converts on this gospel ship we are riding on. If the streetcar was named Desire, their desire would be to see all who come to know Christ share in the mysteries of the life of following Christ. They would never stop sharing those mysteries with those new converts on a personal level. If you would go to any Baptist Church and quiz their deacons about how many people they have personally mentored I would dare to say that fewer than 10% have ever done it. Why? Usually it’s because they aren’t told “this is what you do!” In their case, Ignorance is bliss!!
The final definition speaks to a plus or minus lifestyle all deacons have to aspire to at some time in their lives. They are conductors of many things. Church members will try to come to them to get something done politically or for position. If they are conductors of gossip, political leanings, or anything but serving, they are conducting the wrong things and the end result will be “souls” not won for Christ. It means they are off task and doing the wrong things and people’s impressions of them are not what they should be. This only confuses members of the church and community at large and the ministry of deacon becomes a back door bully pulpit. I don’t even have to say how bad that power is and how destructive it becomes. But……if they are conductors of the Spirit of God through a growing relationship and people see that they will pass on the truth of what it means to be a Man of God to all who see them. Their witness will win many and their very presence will calm fights in the church and get the church back on task every time. Every Time??? Every time!! In verse 13 Paul says, “those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” Deacons who know what kind of conductors they are will be one of the rocks in the modern day church. Contemporary churches that want to keep all of the church polity out of the mix won’t even have deacons. Why? They have seen to many bad conductors and they don’t want the possibility of it compromising their mission as a church. That seems to be why Paul needed to write to Timothy about these qualities of this very important ministry. It’s one or the other. Very good or very bad!! May we still believe in deacons and the positive affect they have on the modern day church, but may we never assume anyone can serve in this very important ministry of service. Jesus Christ gave His life for the church and deacons are asked to do the same. I see that the deacon line is dwindling a little right now. I guess it needs to. Something to think about…We worry about whether a deacon has ever been divorced before, but we rarely worry about if he’s been married to the true gospel of Jesus Christ in the first place. I’m just sayin……..
The Pilgrimage continues….