On the 16thof June, we as a covenant people would once more assemble as a family to listen and to be led by the Spirit of Him who called us to His local church. All of us who trusted to count himself/herself to be accountable to one another will seek His will in raising servant leaders who fear Him and who are passionate for His glory and His people. We have the enormous task of affirming Fritz Bodmer for the eldership and putting forward names for diaconate until the 26thof May for the elders to consider and eventually to be voted upon on the 16thof June in our General Meeting.
As one of your elders, I would challenge you again to look through and to be guided by the Scriptures in choosing His servants to lead His church. I would encourage you to look with me in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 where it is clearly laid for us a formal non-exhaustive list of qualifications for an elder (vv1-7) and a deacon (vv8-13). The similarities in qualifications are quite remarkable. For example: blameless (v2); husband of one wife (v2); sober-minded (v2); dignified (v2); not addicted (v3); not greedy for dishonest gain (v3); manages his children and own household (v4); must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience and have great confidence in the faith (v6). In principle, the moral qualification listed for the elders, if not mentioned for deacons, would still apply to the deacons. Conversely, qualifications listed for the deacons, not for the elders, would also apply to the elders.
If the character of the elders and deacons are the same, what then differentiates the two roles? I would invite you this time to look into Acts 6:1-6 where the pattern for the elders is mainly devoted to “prayer and the ministry (diakonia) of the word” (v4; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:17; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 13:7). We are not going to argue here whether the seven men were actually deacons or not, which is quite hard to defend as they were given only one specific task, namely caring for the widows and their food (v1,2). The qualifications for the seven were simply – good repute, full of the Spirit and wisdom (v3). These, together with the 1 Timothy 3:8-13, should dismiss any notion that the two offices have differing spirituality. Also, the seven were never referred to in the New Testament as a group of deacons. And in the book of Acts, the transliterated word “diakonos” as used in 1 Timothy 3:8 (deacons) was never mentioned. However, what is good to point out here is the practical nature of the task was given to other servants so that the Apostles can function effectively with their main role and primary calling, which is eventually patterned for the elders.
With this in mind, on behalf of the rest of the leadership, we implore you, both the covenant voting members and church attendees, to prayerfully consider the affirmation of Fritz Bodmer for the eldership and the names you are persuaded to submit for the diaconate.
To Christ who is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), the Head of the church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23), be all glory and honor.
Your servant in Christ,
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