One of the least appreciated worship experiences in every church to which I’ve belonged is the one where we ordain new Deacons. I still remember as a boy having to endure the seemingly endless line of Deacons placing their hands on the heads of the new ordinands and whispering what I took to be secretive words meant only for that special class of church leaders. It was only later that I learned that those secret words were simply prayerful expressions of encouragement and blessing. Nonetheless, even when I was able to participate in the ordination process, I always felt like we were leaving out a lot of people who had a serious investment in what was taking place. I thought that surely there must a way that we could do a better job of helping all attendees appreciate the significance of what was taking place.
So, a while back, I decided to move that service to a Sunday morning, where the majority of the congregation could participate in the experience, and I also chose to involve the ordinands themselves in worship leadership that day. I asked them to share a brief word of testimony about either their faith journey or how some ministry of the church has blessed them. Little did I realize what a reward it would be to the church to be encouraged by those testimonies and how the congregation felt so much better about the new leaders we were setting apart for service.
This year’s ordination service will be this Sunday, January 8, at 10 AM. It will be our last combined service for some time. We’ll have two baptisms to go along with the ordinations of six new deacons: John Barnhart, Chad Fooshee, Sherrie Futch, Douglas Grant, Brooks Knapp, and Charlie Nowlin. We’ll also be recognizing three Life Deacons: Coy Collinsworth, Bob Patrick, and Jo Wills – whose exemplary service to our church over the years deserves such recognition. And it will be Epiphany Sunday, which represents the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles and God’s extension of salvation to all people. So, on a number of fronts it will be a banner day in the life of Mountain Brook Baptist Church.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. You’ll have a chance to see and hear firsthand the quality of leadership God has provided our church, not only through these new Deacons, but also in reflecting upon the character and commitment of all our servant leaders. No organization can move beyond the capacity of its leadership. Fortunately, we have a stellar group of servant leaders at MBBC and our future possibilities are limitless because of it. As you participate this Sunday, I encourage you to be thinking about how God might inspire you to serve in the place you occupy in our church, even as I will be doing, so that together we can move ahead into the New Year more committed to “loving God and living with grace and generosity,” and manifesting God’s salvation in Jesus Christ to all people, which is why every church exists in the first place.
“Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13).