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Considering the deacon rotation system

 

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It has been my privilege to help a number of Southern Baptist churches as a consultant. I have found dedicated servants of God who are deacons in all of the churches. Practically all of these servant leaders have been supporters of their pastor and involved in ministry.

In several of the churches, some deacons “burn out” because of health reasons and job responsibilities. As a church consultant I have recommended to several churches that they consider implementing such an approach.

George Dye, a transitional pastor and church consultant, lives in Dacula where he is a member of Hebron Baptist Church. He moved to Georgia nearly five years ago after a half-century of pastoring South Carolina Baptist churches, all of which he says were “strong Cooperative Program churches.”

He served as president of that convention’s pastors’ conference in 1994 and as state convention president in 1996. In Georgia he has served as interim pastor at Hochton Baptist Church, Chattahoochee Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, and as a consultant with Mountain Creek Baptist Church near Jefferson. On Jan. 9 he completed a ministry as consultant at Union Baptist Church in Winder.

Dye can be reached at (678) 377-5710 or at gdye0834@comcast.net.

The deacon rotation system enables deacons, who need a graceful way of being temporarily relieved of a ministry, an opportunity to step aside for a period of time.

What are the values of such a system? It allows a tactful way to retire people who neither attend meetings nor carry out their responsibilities as a deacon. Many churches have a family ministry plan and a number of their deacons do not visit or make any contact with their families.

In some cases a deacon may need a year off of active service because of varying circumstances. There may be a crisis in the home, an employment responsibility may take them away for a few months, or their schedule may change to the point that they cannot attend meetings or carry out their ministry responsibilities.

After several years of service, for health reasons or for taking on too many responsibilities, a deacon may simply need a year off for rest and renewal.

Churches who have used the rotation of deacons have found it to be more effective and efficient than those who have continuous service. It helps to keep up the morale of the deacon body and it encourages more dedication and consecration. When there is little or no accountability, persons tend to become somewhat lax and indifferent toward carrying out their responsibilities.

A person who rotates off after a three- or four-year term is eligible to serve again after one year. They also can serve on other teams or committees during their off period; they do not need to be inactive.

It also says to new people considering joining the church, as well as those who have recently joined, that the congregation allows qualified new people to be selected for service and is not a closed system whereby new members have little opportunity to serve.

All of us serve best according to our giftedness. The system allows the deacon body the opportunity to reorganize and select teams to carry out their responsibilities according to their spiritual gifts.

Examples of some ministry teams include New Member Ministry Team, Homebound/Nursing Home Ministry Team, Grief and Crisis Ministry Team, Hospital Ministry Team, and Prospect visitation Ministry Team.

To begin the rotation of deacon system, we ask those who would volunteer to rotate off at the end of one year service to do so, then we ask those who would volunteer to rotate off at the end of two years to do so, then we ask those who would volunteer to rotate off after being willing to serve three years to do so.

This begins the process which allows many deacons to serve their Lord and their church more effectively.