We are two and a half years into our church plant here in Pogradec. Every day we are working toward the ultimate goal of establishing a church that is mature, active, and unified. Biblically, one of the crucial roles in a thriving church is that of a deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-4).
Several months ago Cory and Erion presented the idea of beginning a deacon prep ministry. You could call it, “Intro to Deaconship.” But it would be a deacon ministry made up of those that weren’t officially deacons. The reason for this is that our church is mostly comprised of young people (high school and college age). Many of these are committed to church attendance. But are any of them qualified to be deacons? There are numerous who faithfully serve and help in the church. However, the time and “testing” that Scripture requires to reveal the character of those that should be established as deacons has not yet passed. We are a young church with young people who are young in their faith. And this is exciting!
The “youngness” that characterizes the demographic of our local body is the same quality that allows us to get a head start in molding, training, equipping, the generation that will one day serve our church in this vital role.
So, we identified a group of young men that we believe are characterized by service, faithfulness and personal growth. When I [Chad] met with them for this first time to explain our purpose I said, “You are not deacons. But, one day our church will have deacons, and we hope that one day you will be one.”
Since that first meeting we have been slowly working through the character qualifications of deacons and practically what it looks like for a deacon to serve and care for the church. As with the early church, these men will serve in logistical and practical ways. This means brainstorming to identify the needs that are specific to our church and the best means of meeting them.
As time goes on working with this group, it will become evident who is really committed in being a servant. And for me personally, I will be blessed by seeing Christ formed in them.
We look forward to seeing these men leading our mercy ministry to the poor, widows and orphans.
We believe their humble servanthood will promote greater unity within the Body.
We pray that they each would be like Stephen, passionate about the Gospel to the point of great sacrifice (Acts 7).
We know that their work will be key to the effectiveness and fruitfulness of our church.
Please pray for us as we seek to establish (by God's power and grace) a healthy and thriving church here in Pogradec, Albania.