1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:1-4
For those of you who have been following along, you know that we have been working diligently to get deacons installed in City of Refuge Church. I still remember the conversation I had with Pastor Jorge and his wife Shirley a few years ago. “You know, you guys don’t have to be so burnt out. You can install deacons to help share the burden of service in the church.” Their eyes grew wide and they smiled amidst their fatigue. When we started working here 4 years ago, the majority of the work of the church fell upon the shoulders of the pastor and his wife. Yes, there was an established leadership team, but they all relied on the direction and authority of the pastor. Their house had a revolving door and they never got rest nor found reprieve from the constant needs around them.
We started the process by teaching the leaders on basic discipleship. We are all commanded by Jesus to make disciples. However, we must BE disciples before we can MAKE disciples. We used God’s revealed bible study on the Sermon on the Mount to lead everyone through what it means to be a disciple of God’s Kingdom here on earth. From there we focused more on Godly leadership and worked through a study on deacons. This taught why we need deacons in the church, the difference between the responsibilities of the pastors and deacons, and how to select deacons. The class then put together what would be the church’s process for selecting deacons and then we started the process. It took much longer than we anticipated but just a few weeks ago, we finished by laying hands upon and commissioning 2 deacons in the church! We are now working on fully integrating them into the leadership structure of the church so that the physical care of the church as a whole will be more of their responsibility instead of the pastor. Jorge can now better focus on the teaching and spiritual welfare of the church and it will also free him up to begin raising up more pastors. This is our next big adventure in strengthening the core leadership of City of Refuge Church.
As a part of the ceremony, Jorge preached about service, godly leadership, and what it means to love one another. We took the second half of the church service for the whole church leadership to wash the feet of the congregation! Below are some pictures.
We thank God for allowing us to be a part of this process and for allowing us to see the fruit of our labor. Please join us in praying for Fredy and Patricio as they take on these new responsibilities of serving the church at a deeper level for His glory!