New Curriculum: A Deacon on Purpose
February 5th, 2018 / By: Kay Adkins / comments
Churches and pastors seeking a resource to establish or renew the vision of their congregation’s deacon ministry can benefit from A Deacon on Purpose, a training curriculum developed by SBTC Pastor|Church Relations Director Tony Wolfe.
The short, easy-to-read book uses Acts 6:1-7 to outline the four essential purposes of the deacon role: lead by example, serve the people, support the pastor and staff, and protect the peace.
Wolfe developed A Deacon on Purpose to be a biblically grounded, thought-provoking tool for local churches that provides suggestions and discussion questions for immediate and contextual application. Since the book’s release in late 2017, dozens of churches across several states are already benefiting, with inquiries from more and more churches coming in weekly, according to Wolfe.
The material is designed as a group study, but churches have used it in a variety of ways.Some conduct deacon training meetings or retreats, while others have simply supplied each deacon with copies for a self-study. Six short videos are also available as optional introductions to each section of the book.
Gary Ward, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Weatherford, praised Wolfe’s facilitation of the training session for a group of 12 at his church in December. “At most of these kinds of meetings, people come anticipating when it will be over. But no one wanted it to end,” said Ward.
Ward noted that often conflict arises in the church when the role of a deacon is presumed to be administrative, rather than servant-oriented. He appreciates how Wolfe not only presents the biblical exegesis of the role of deacon, but also provides many stories and relatable examples demonstrating the practical application in churches today.
Ward said, “The church today needs to be on the cutting edge. They can’t sit back. They need to do some things differently. With deacons doing things right, it helps the church grow. Start right—deacons being true servants.”
Chris Bain, a young deacon from Glenview Church, Fort Worth, participated in A Deacon on Purpose training in September. With this event his second experience in deacon training Bain said, “It seemed like the momentum and pace was not there before Tony’s training. People were set in routine [lacking] passion for what they’re called to do. One of the biggest things that happened after the training and since Tony came is the message of A Deacon on Purpose—a call to arms.”
A topic personally relevant to Bain was conflict resolution, and how deacons can appropriately respond when encountering members engaged in a disagreement. Bain said, “Wolfe gives an example of how to handle that as an assistance arm to the pastor.”
Bain noticed a different approach taken in their deacon meeting subsequent to the training. Instead of the pastor being the main speaker, he said, “Leadership was able to lead the team and set the tone: ‘We have a calling to help out during a transition period, and here’s what we can do.’” He explained that the group was able to openly discuss issues and come to agreement. “It was an affirmation of the training,” he said.
Wolfe is convinced that the ministry of the deacon is as important today as it was at the establishment of the New Testament Church. “I pray that in the years to come this resource will propel the deacon ministries of thousands of local churches into effective, biblical, kingdom service as they ‘lead, serve, support, and protect’ on the frontlines of gospel advance.”
For more information about the curriculum, or to schedule Wolfe for a training event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase copies of the book and accompanying videos, visit here.