The ‘Deaconized’ Pastor

John is a young man who responds to the call of God. The excitement of finally surrendering to the Lord’s will for his life is beyond containment. He spends years preparing and submitting to training for the work ahead and he can hardly wait for his release to reach people for Jesus and bring life to a local church.

He finally becomes the pastor of a church and he is ready to bring changes and life into a stale or nominal American church. He sees opportunities in the community and limitless potential to impact people with the truth of the gospel. He pitches his vision to the deacon board with all the surety given to him by the Holy Spirit. They listen with suspicious looks and granite flexibility. After much discussion and warnings of moving too fast and too extreme, the pastor’s vision is lost in an endless parade of excuses and small minded thinking.

Time and time again, the scenario above is played out until John finally becomes ‘deaconized.’ Church after church, he experiences the same thing. He may last 5 years or 10 years but eventually John realizes the situation is hopeless. He makes the second hardest decision of his life…he resigns from ministry and leaves for the secular world.

This story happens frequently. Men called by God are forced out of the ministry at an alarming rate by a class of men who usurp the biblical authority within a church. They ‘deaconize’ the pastor. That captures it perfectly. It should never exist because it is foreign to the NT model of church polity.

Pastors, you are needed! Come back into ministry and fulfill your divine purpose. Accept nothing less than the biblical pattern concerning spiritual leadership in NT church and you’ll never be deaconized again. If the churches you minister in will not adopt the NT model of church government, become a church planter and do it right. That pattern involves:

  • Elders/Bishops have the oversight of the local church – (1Tim. 3:4; Acts 20:28; 1Pet. 5:1-2) Ruling authority is in the presbytery. (Body of Elders)
  • Plurality of Elders is the pattern which prevents a dictator – (Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; Jas. 5:14) No one man show.
  • Deacons are recognized servants to the body and the local leadership – (Phil. 1:1; 1Tim. 3:13) Called to serve, not to rule.
  • Deacons are not called by God to ‘run the church’ – (Acts 6:1-4; 20:28) The business or duty is that which is appointed by the Elders or leaders.
  • Democratic church polity is unscriptural – (Acts 15:2,4,6; 1Thes. 5:12; Heb. 13:17) Church vision and direction is determined by the body of Elders.

Much can be said and developed from these and many other verses, and I have done so in one of my books. However, if you are a Pastor who has been deaconized, allow God’s grace to heal your heart and restore you to ministry in a local church which operates according to the Lord’s due order. The body of Christ needs you!

Questions? Comments? Jump in and start the discussion.

Related Articles:
Wolves Among The Elders
Signs of a Healthy Church

5 thoughts on “The ‘Deaconized’ Pastor

  1. Christopher Paine

    Man, is that the truth! After 9 years in Christian Education we moved to the northern kingdom of Vermont to pastor a ‘deacon run church’. I missed a couple big red flags during visits that should have closed the door. After 2 years and 2 months, we moved back to upstate NY and I worked in construction for a couple years before assuming the pastorate in the church we attended when our pastor left. 10 years later we are still here, but I lack that fire and vision I had going into that first pastorate. Have I grown content just to raise my family and maintain the ministry? Probably, but there are no battles, no divisiveness, no church discipline issues.

    1. Christopher, thanks for sharing your story. It is sad, but the experience you lived through is much too common. Many men have gone through it and most never return. Praise the Lord you did. Brother, my prayer for you is that the Lord would pour afresh His Spirit on you and restore the fire and vision you once had and that it would spread throughout the church you pastor! Don’t just exist brother….make a difference!

  2. Pingback: “Deaconized” Pastors; Amish Lessons; Prophets Among Us and More | ChosenRebel's Blog

  3. Terry,
    Thanks for your reply to my post over on Marty’s blog.

    I perhaps should have written this on your site but I was really responding in general to Marty’s list.

    I do see what you are saying and I do agree for the most part. (In fact it was in the back of my mind when I was writing.)

    I guess for me the issue is not so much “character” vs “office” in as much as it is the fact that we have misused and misunderstood the word “deacon” to such a way that it no longer resembles the biblical meaning. To build on your analogy, it’s like the original plan was for the church to have apples but someone replaced them with oranges. Thus we run into the problems you talk about in your post. I myself have faced those issues and work with many others who face them on a day-to-day basis. It seems to me that there is often a power-struggle between two opposing forces — the Pastor and the Board that is nothing like what the Bible describes as the model.

    A return to a more biblical understanding of office, based upon not only the traditional “office of deacon” passages, but also upon the other passages that refer to what you call “character” is essential to resolving the issues raised in your post.


    1. Mike,
      I certainly agree that the heart of being a ‘servant’ should be the foundation of everyone and the motive of everything. (The Greatest is servant of all.) Thanks for sharing. I would have one addendum to your comment above. The “power struggle” you mentioned, at it’s core, is more than just a lack of having a servant’s heart. It is prompted by the unscriptural position (ruling, overseer) most Deacons are placed into. When men called into Ministry of the Word (Elders/Pastors) are ‘under’ men who do not carry those gifts and burdens (Deacons), the formula for disaster exists. Unfortunately, the history and damaged testimony of American churches bear this out very clear. So, both ‘character’ and ‘due order’ are necessary to eradicate the “power struggle!” Again, thanks… Terry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s