The Deacons Every Pastor (Should) Love

By Sam Rainer

In a lot of churches, deacons get a bad rap. If they do too much, people believe they’re trying to take over the church. If they do too little, people call them lazy.

I hear and read a lot about controlling deacons and apathetic deacons. The reality is that most deacons in most churches do good work. While churches and denominations have varying viewpoints on the role of deacons, due to polity differences, what should be universal is how pastors place a high value on deacons who serve well.

The deacon body at West Bradenton is among the best. They serve. They sacrifice. They give. They have the pastors’ backs. And when called upon at VBS, they get slimed!

Pastors, cherish your supportive deacons. Encourage them. Brag on them. I don’t often come across posts from pastors praising their deacons. That’s why I’m writing this one. My deacons are not just the “other office of the church;” they are people to whom I entrust the most sensitive and critical parts of ministry within our congregation.

Here are five deacons every pastor should love.

Friend Pastors need friends, not only other pastor peers from outside the church but also friends within the church. Since pastors and deacons serve closely together, at least a few deacons should be close friends with pastors. A while back, I had one deacon sit down in my office unannounced. He knew I was in the middle of a problematic situation involving church discipline. He said, “Let’s talk baseball.” It was much needed.

Prayer warrior You don’t always know who the pray-ers are in your church. Often, they pray alone because they don’t want to be known. A special bond is formed when a deacon is a prayer warrior for a pastor. Praying deacons are one of the biggest reasons pastors stay within God’s will. The spiritual battle raging around prayer warriors is silent but intense. Many deacons are on the front lines.

Accountability partner — Any deacon at West Bradenton has the right to ask me about any part of my life at any time. Why? I want every area of my life to be above reproach.

Confidant A couple of deacons are not only my friends but also my confidants. I share with them ministry burdens I may not even share with my wife. I understand the high level of trust that must be in place for this kind of relationship. I wish more pastors and deacons were confidants.

Mentor We have some valiant older men serving on our deacon body. They move more slowly now, but their mindset is still fierce. They can wield power with one short sentence—not because of manipulation but because of wisdom. When they speak, an entire room shuts up. These are the men I seek out to be my mentors. The deacon who has served for 60 years and not stopped, the deacon who has remained married for 60 years and not fallen, the deacon who has served with multiple pastors but stuck with one church—I want that man as a mentor.

The deacons every pastor should love are the friend, the prayer warrior, the accountability partner, the confidant and the mentor.

Published March 6, 2024

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Sam Rainer

As president of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time pastor at West Bradenton (Florida) Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.