How the Hot Dog is Made – Acts 6:1 – 6
Welcome to Faith and Victory Church. I’m Pastor Todd Sommer and I’m an associate pastor and elder of this church. I’m also the pastor directly responsible for Deacons. Myself along with Pastor Shelly and Deacons Kyle and Amanda Mott train them, oversee them, hold them accountable, and are responsible for them. Tonight we’re going to ordinate 5 new deacons into the church, before we do that however I wanted explain what deacons are, what they do, why faith and victory church has deacons, and what you can learn from the Deacon ordination this evening.
Before we get started lets pray. Dear Lord I pray that I not get in the way of tonight’s message. I also pray for the deacons that are to be ordinated tonight. Lord you’ve seen the work they’ve put in and that their hearts that want to serve you. So I pray that you bless them as they move forward with your work. Amen.
What are Deacons? Unless you are really paying attention in your Bible reading you might not know. The Bible actually doesn’t talk about Deacons a lot. There are two main verses about Deacons in the Bible and they are 1 Timothy 3:11-18 and Acts 6:1-6 both which I will cover tonight. Deacon comes from the greek word Diakanos which means servant or one who serves and that really is the essence of being a Deacon.
A Deacons role is defined in Acts 6:1-6
Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
So what’s going on in these verses is the apostles are teaching and preaching the word of God to the people. Now who if we were to assign a modern equivalent (not that we’re saying their apostles) but who in today’s church would be the apostles. If you allow me a little latitude the correlation is of course pastors. They preach and teach the word of the gospels. So the Apostles were preaching and teaching the word of God but things were getting neglected mainly the distribution of food to the widows and orphans. Now imagine what that’s like if we put it in today’s terms.
We don’t have a lot of orphans and widows that need taken care of in the year 2024 at FVC (not to say that we don’t help people but it’s just not something that requires tons of people to do), but if we take a step back we realize that it wasn’t specifically about orphans and widows. It was about the work of the ministry. It was about serving or being a servant to the pastors of the church so the work of the ministry could get done.
Well that begs the question, what is the work of the ministry at Faith and Victory Church. Now before we do this I’m going to have to give you the hot dog warning. The hot dog warning is for those that love hot dogs but not really interested in the details of how it gets put together because it might forever affect your ability to eat hot dogs. What I’m telling you tonight might forever change your perspective on the way we do things at FVC. Now I’m the type of person that eats hot dogs. Nothing you can say or show me will deter me from eating the hot dog, but not everyone is the same. So if you would rather live in ignorant bliss, it’s time to fake a phone call and go outside or pretend your kids need you downstairs, because I’m about to take you down the rabbit hole.
#1. Work of the Ministry. Being intentional with New People. In 2024, You are either a growing church or a dying church and there isn’t much in between. Statistics bear out that on average people will visit your church twice and if they don’t find a friend or someone they can relate to in that period of time then they will leave your church and go find another church. It takes more than just being nice. We have fantastic preachers but it takes more than fantastic preaching, we have great worship but it takes more than great worship. You have to build relationships with people and you have to do it fast. That is why as Pastors and Deacons some of the most important work we do is build intentional relationships with the visitors of this church.
So what does intentional relationships mean? What does it look like? So when you walked into Faith and Victory Church for the very first time you probably had a deacon or pastor talk to you. You might have had a deacon or pastor ask to get your phone number and you maybe even had a deacon or pastor invite you out to coffee. That deacon or pastor probably asked you a lot of questions about your life, your work, and your family. The conversation was probably mostly one sided in other words it was about you. During that conversation there also might have been a sense that that Deacon or Pastor wanted to be your friend and get to know you better. This was not an accident. This was 100% intentional. Unless you visit church with a friend or family member that already attends that church you feel ALONE. You feel like everyone else is part of something and you are on the outside looking in.
So we as Pastors and Deacons step in and say I’m including you in what we are doing here. I’m being your friend, even though I don’t really know you yet. The only basis of our friendship is that I love Jesus and will do whatever it takes to grow the kingdom and I hope but am not assured that you do as well. Deacons and Pastors intentionally become persons’ friends until either Jesus comes back or they find someone else that fits their interests or personality or whatever better. Some of you are sitting there now realizing this was you. I see you sitting in your seat. Looking at me with shock and disdain in your eyes. You mean we aren’t friends? Pastor Todd, is my whole relationship with you is a lie? NO it’s not a lie. If we’re friends I LOVE YOU, but given the opportunity to meet new people or just talk to the same 5 people I’m safe with every Sunday … I’m choosing the safe people and I had 5 friends at FVC 16 years ago. If Pastor Matt never pushed me to “intentionally” friend someone else I wouldn’t have done it, and it would be very sad because I wouldn’t have wonderful friends like you. You can ask my wife. Everywhere we go she wants to meet new people. I’m like why … I already know people, why would I want to meet new ones? We’re on vacation. Do we have to talk to those people we don’t know them? You laugh but most of you live in some form of the world I’m living in. I know but I watch what happens before and after services. You form mostly the same groups and talk to mostly the same people every week. Someone has to do the WORK and have the COURAGE to make new friends and form new relationships for the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the church will never grow. That’s Deacons. This Church feels like a family. You know why it feels like a family because we as pastors and as deacons go out of our way to make sure everyone is included. I spend months training deacons how to do this. It’s hard, it’s awkward and it’s sometimes painful because you get rejected. I constantly have to remind Deacons to talk to new people because as humans we lapse back into what is comfortable and talking to new people is not comfortable. That’s the work Deacons need to do.
Side note … We don’t give out yellow bags with mugs in them because we think people need another mug to put in the cabinet. They are giant yellow flag saying DEACON/Pastor get over here and talk to me. Every step of the process is intentional.
#2. Work of the Ministry. Counting Sheep. Did you know the word pastor means shepherd? That’s because the main job of a pastor is to shepherd the sheep. Do you know how many sheep we have in this flock? If we got everyone in the same room attenders and members of Faith and Victory Church it would be over 500 people. As a former farmer that’s a LOT of sheep. How in the world does Pastor Matt shepherd all those sheep? Well he has some help. He has help in the form of a phone call that you get on a close to monthly basis from a Deacon at this church. They call and check in with you. They make sure you are doing ok. They see if your marriage, or your finances, or your parenting, or anything else in your life has gone crazy and see if you need help. This is shepherding. This is some of the most important work of the ministry that we’ve delegated to deacons and it doesn’t happen by accident either … We as pastors divide the regular attenders and members of the church up by phone # and assign them to deacons. Then those deacons are assigned to call you. We do this because we care about you and we don’t want you to be overlooked. We care about you but we don’t always know what’s going on in your life because sometimes you are too afraid to reach out to a pastor and just level with them. We care about you … sooooo much and we want God’s best for you in your life. That is why we call you, that is why we check in with you, that is why we frankly won’t leave you alone until you either block us or tell us to go away. This is the hardest part of being a Deacon. Harder than talking to and forming relationships with new people.
#3. Work of the Deacons. Ultimate Substitution. I’m responsible for every serving ministry at this church. I’m responsible for making sure Sunday and Wednesday services go off without a hitch, all the volunteers are in place, all the tech works, and other than preaching or spiritual happenings everything goes exactly as planned. As you can imagine, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes I need a leader that just fills a hole and solves a problem. Sometimes I need people that I know and trust to handle certain situations. That’s what Deacons do. I work with them and train them about how I (and by I, I mean ultimately Pastor Matt) wants things handled and done. They are invaluable for making sure the church works on a weekly basis.
I want to address something that some of you might be thinking because I get this all the time mostly from Deacons that don’t want to do calls. Dude, deacons are kind creepy stalkers. Why can’t things just happen naturally? First of all, in my experience when people complain about “things not happening naturally” it’s mostly because they are just being lazy. Second, I know for a fact I wouldn’t even be here when I visited FVC for the first time if things were allowed to “happen naturally”. I thought I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I definitely didn’t want to get to know anyone. But there was Rich and Sheryl Beck after service inviting me out to lunch doing the work of deacons before it was a thing. I’m sure Pastor Matt probably told them to take me out to lunch but it doesn’t matter. They took the time and sacrificed part of their precious Sunday afternoon to spend time with a single guy who probably said three words to them the whole time, I’m sure they would have probably rather went home and took a nap, but look at the fruit it has produced. I will stand before God one day and say their sacrifice led me to the calling of Pastor in my life.
So that being said, I think more importantly than letting things happen naturally is that we are deliberate in our intentions to show people the love of God. If that sounds familiar it’s because I stole it directly from Pastor Kulibaba’s sermon during revival week. We are called to love each other and love is deliberate intention. That is a motto your deacons live by. Yes I lean on them to go talk to visitors, yes I force them to call you, but the deacons actually do the things that benefit you and the body of Christ. They do the work not for money or for power or even for church status because let me tell you being a deacon is NOT glamorous. They do it because they love God. They love this church, and ultimately they love you and want you to be what God has called you to be. They have deliberately put themselves in your path with the intention of helping you grow and get to know God better. Love is a deliberate intention.
On a side note, did you know we flourished during covid. FLOURISHED. Other pastors were calling Pastor Matt asking him how he managed to keep track of everyone but our church was already set up for everyone to be contacted and communicated with even though we didn’t meet in person for a time.
What are the requirements for Deacons? The requirements for Deacons are spelled out in 1 Timothy 3:8-13
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
I’m not going to spend tons of time going over the requirements of deacons as 1 Timothy does a great job in spelling it out, except to say Deacons must be tested. I spend a year testing every deacon meeting with them monthly, diving into their lives, and making sure they are ready for the calling of being a deacon. They are expected to be able to know how most ministries work at FVC, the entire list of church beliefs, and how to be able to interact and lead people in certain situations. We also make sure to throw them into fire with greeting new visitors and starting to figure out their call list. It’s not an overwhelming feat by itself but when you add that to their already busy lives, serving in other ministries, families, and marriages, it can be a lot. Every deacon is a volunteer, but they allow me to hold them accountable like I’m paying them.
Last my favorite part. What can you as a member or regular attender of Faith and Victory Church learn from the Deacons.
#1. It’s not about you. The first lesson of every deacon class is titled “It’s Not About You”. Change the nature of how you attend church. If you are past the new visitor phase of attending FVC then it’s time for you to think about other people. You don’t have to be a deacon to do this. The yellow bag secret is out. You now know who the visitors are every week. Will you look for them? Will you chance looking foolish or awkward introducing yourself to them? Will you take them out to lunch and pay for their meal? Will you listen to them talk about their problems? Will you be understanding and patient? Will you let them sit in your seat at church? Will you take a chance forming a relationship knowing you could be hurt if they decide not to come back? This is next level church attendance. Put aside your hurt, your pain, your emotions, your drama, your wants, your control, you you you you you. Focus on the kingdom of God rather than yourself. In the end, I guarantee you’ll be much happier for it. This is why Jesus said the first will be last and the last shall be first, because he knew that those that go last are thinking about other people and you will be a better person for it.
#2. Show up early and stay late for everything. This is something that I ask of my deacons and is just good general practice for all members of this church. Ministry happens at church. Relationships within the body happen at church. Healing happens at church. Breakthroughs happen at church. If you are constantly late and always leave early you are missing the best times to connect with people. I think I knew the Grows were going to be deacons when they kept getting to Sunday church before I did. I usually roll in about 30 – 45 minutes early to church. For months they beat me to church, it went on for so long I stopped keeping track. They are still beating me to church. And the First thing as I come through the doors … good morning anything I can help you with this morning pastor. Not let me tell you about what happened to me this week, not let me tell you about what God did in my life, not pray for me about this or that, what do you need, Pastor? Not that there’s anything wrong with asking for prayer or sharing your victories or defeats but there is something powerful about having the presence of mind to acknowledge that Sunday services are about worshiping God not listing off the things in my life.
To go along with that stick around after service is over. Be the people, I have to threaten to go home. If you really want to take it up a notch, you can help cleanup. The church ALWAYS needs people to help cleanup after church and events. If you don’t know what to do, find me. I’ll give you something to do. If you can’t find me empty a trash can or clean a bathroom. Those are things that always need to be done.
#3. Be a mature Christian.
A lot of people over the years have wanted to participate in the deacon program because they just wanted to be trained on how to be a Mature Christian. They have reached a place in their life where they want to get serious about their faith but they don’t know how to progress further. The truth is though, I’m not training my deacons to be mature Christians. I’m verifying that they are already mature Christians and instructing them on how we do ministry at Faith and Victory Church.
Training to become a mature Christian is what we call discipleship. Luckily for you, we have a whole package that was specifically created to take you a member or regular attender at Faith and Victory Church and train you to become a mature Christian. It’s called 3D Discipleship. It’s free and I have over 100 printouts of the program up here with me today. All you have to do is come get one and then start today. You can do this with your spouse, with a friend, or you can also do it with a Deacon. In a moment, we’ll have all the deacons up here in front of the room. Pick one you know and ask them to disciple you. It’s probably going to take you 6 months to a year to complete this discipleship book if you do everything inside it. Don’t skip steps, don’t hurry through it. Take your time and learn the lessons and let it change your life.
Please come forward Halayna Bracket, the Grows, and the Flints and all serving Deacons.
Did you know that this is the 10th year of Deacons at Faith and Victory Church? Pam Hammerquiest is my longest serving Deacon and was ordained January 20th 2014. She has been faithfully serving God and the leadership of this church for 10 years.
Faith and Victory Church strives to structure ourselves as closely as possible to what the Bible says. This happens in our preaching, our serving, our giving, and even in our leadership. The Bible talks about Elders, Shepherds (pastors), and Deacons as leaders of God’s church. Today We present for Ordination
And Karen Flint
Before we ordinate these new deacons, however, we need to review how we got here.
In first Timothy 3 we see the requirements of Deacons
Must be worthy of respect
Must manage his own family well
Must be self controlled
Must not be given to drunkenness
Must not be a lover of money
Must be trustworthy
Must not be a recent convert
Deacons must be tested
These are all requirements that must be in a Deacons life BEFORE he or she is even considered to be a deacon. The last requirement which is my favorite. Deacons must be tested. The Bible doesn’t specify a time of testing but we test our Deacons for a period of one year. During that year they undergo rigorous training and meticulous scrutiny as we (myself, Pastor Shelly, and Kyle and Amanda Mott) spend time looking for any reasons why these people should not become Deacons.
In that time, I found Halayna Brackett to be a warm caring individual who loves the Lord and her sisters in Christ. I’m so proud of you and Brian as you have walked with God during good times and hard times faithfully.
In that time, I found Niko Grow to be a man who loves to serve the Lord. If I ask Niko to do something I’m assured it will get done. As a guy that gets stuff done, I appreciate and love that about him.
In that time, I found Jessica Grow to be a woman who wants to please God. No other deacon has ever been consumed with the details of being a Deacon like Jessica has. I know that with her attention to detail and love for God she will make a great Deacon.
In that time, I found Marty Flint to be a leader of men. Not an extrovert but rather having a quiet confidence in what the Lord has done in his life and in his family’s life. I’m excited to see what happens after we ordain you.
In that time, I found Karen Flint to be relentless and have a heart for new people. No other Deacon has quite jumped at meeting new church people quite like Karen has. Her tenacity to make new visitors feel welcome is amazing.
We come now to the ordination of Halayna Brackett, Niko Grow, Jessica Grow, Marty Flint, and Karen Flint to the office of Deacon of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Having diligently inquired into their fitness required by the Scriptures in doctrine and manner of life, and especially the inner call of the Spirit, we present them before you to receive ordination with the laying on of hands, according to the apostolic example.
These are the charges of the Deacon. If you agree with the following charges please answer aloud “I DO”
Do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ and your loyalty to him as your Lord and Savior, and will you strive to show forth is Spirit in all of your life and ministry?
Do you affirm your belief in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as containing the Word of God?
Do you affirm your determination in your study of the Scriptures, prayerful in your attitude toward God, gentle, patient, and faithful in your ministrations to the people, friendly in your relations with other Christians and in your feelings and actions toward all races?
Do you affirm your determination to give your life to the ministry of Jesus Christ, whatever difficulties may lie in your way?
Now I need the help of the congregation. Do you Faith and Victory Church affirm your confidence in Halayna, Nikie, Jessica, Marty, and Karen and promise your prayers for God’s blessing up their ministry? If so say I DO.
Can I have all the Pastors and deacons lay hands on these new deacons as we pray.