Tag: Deacons

5 Questions to Ask Deacons

We’re just finishing up our second round of Deacon interviews. I’ve been overwhelmed and the godly caliber of men and women who have gone through our training process and eagerly aspire to be lead servants in our church. As the elders interviewed each candidate, we asked them 5 main questions:

1. Based on the character qualifications of 1 Tim 3, where are you the weakest?

  • We followed their answer up by asking for specific examples.
  • We inquired how they are experiencing growth and change in this area.
  • We looked for a personal and specific application of the gospel to their weaknesses and helped them with this, which created a great pastoral moment to exhort, encourage, & counsel

2. Do you have a budget and how much debt do you currently have?

  • If deacons are exemplary servants, they need to be exemplary with their money.
  • If they are handling finances for the church, we should be handling it well at home.
  • Follow up questions about good vs. bad debt and plans to pay off.

3. Are you in a Fight Club (discipleship group)?

4. Do you have time in your schedule to commit to being a deacon?

  • We laid out general expectations and emphasized flexible but regularly monthly commitment.
  • Monthly deacon team meetings work to create collaborative environment for ministry.

5. Why do you want to serve as a deacon?

  • This gets to the heart and allows us to see if this is all duty or a calling.
  • Was a blessing to hear some of the responses.

How We Develop Elders

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is discovering men whom God has called into ministry and developing them into godly shepherds and missional leaders. Currently, we are training three elder candidates and two church planting residents. What a privilege! As we develop elders, we don’t look for strong business or cultural leaders and them knight them for church leadership. Rather, we look for men who are already shepherding others through missional communities and invite them to join an elder development process (See Diagram). Some of these men are strong business leaders and some are not. We want eldering men for our elder candidates.

Elder Development Process

The Elder Development Process begins with inquiry and aspiration and ends in assessment and appointment. Here is an Overview of our Elder Process. Once the candidates have been approved for training, we begin the phase of Preparation. In this phase, we place a strong emphasis on character, spending 2-4 months on character assessment, spiritual development plans, transparency, spousal partnership, and resolve.

Character, Doctrine, & Skill

The three areas we are developing are character, doctrine and skill. Through three overlapping and self-nurturing phases, we move towards godly, experienced, qualified leadership.

Phase 1: Biblical Understanding & Character

  • Transparent conversations about doctrinal, character, and skill weaknesses. Talk through growth plans for each candidate. Gospel-Centered Elder Study Guide, written by Bob Thune has been a helpful tool.
  • Make sure candidates are currently serving and sharing what they are learning in some capacity. Coaching and skill development in counseling
  • Biblical Eldership – Readings and socractic discussions on the nature and responsibilities of eldership. Exposure to elder meetings

Phase 2: Doctrine (courses offered in our semi-formal City Seminary)

  • Christ-centered Interpretation
  • Systematic Theology
  • Cultural Apologetics

Phase 2: Pastoral Skill

  • Gospel-Centered Discipleship
  • Gospel Counseling 

 

Deacon Installment

On Sunday, we installed the first deacons of Austin City Life, 5 months after they completed training! Church planting! We introduced them as lead servants in our church who have demonstrated a commitment to the character, theology, and service of deacon. It was a sweet time to reflect on the gospel growth in our church, and to celebrate our deacons commitment.

As I introduced each person, I asked them the following question: Do you pledge, by Gods grace, to serve this church with the character, faith, and service fitting of a deacon? If so, say I do. This question simulateously called each person to sober commitment and to God’s all-sufficient grace in serving the church. I am thrilled to have such fine deacons dedicated to the good of our church, the good of the city, and the glory of God!

Here are the Deacon Resources we used and developed along the way. The newest contribution is the manuscript and outline of what I said during the installment. Hope it helps.

Deacon Interviews

I am finally getting around to some overdue Deacon candidate interviews. After three sessions of training (I, II, & III), I am meeting with each candidate. In preparation I am praying for each candidate, re-reading their reflection papers, and formulating candidate specific questions. During the interview I am looking for their understanding and commitment to Gospel, Community, and Mission.

In general, I begin by catching up with them and asking them the following questions:

  1. Communion with God: Describe your walk with the Lord. How is it going?
  2. Office of Deacon: From what you have learned about the office of deacon, what are you concerned and excited about in potentially serving the church in this way?
  3. Purity of Life: Are there any areas in your life that are out of step with the character of a deacon? Do you struggle with impurity in any particular area?
  4. The Gospel: Describe how the gospel is shaping your life and decision-making.
  5. Mission: How are you currently living out the mission of Christ?

These have been influenced by Tim Keller.