First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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Proposed Bylaw Change

10.08.19 | Michael's Corner | by Michael Ten Eyck

    Dear FCC Pittsfield family,

    Over the last few years we have continued to grow and learn what things work and what things are areas of improvement. We have attempted to shift our church governance to a model more in line with New Testament teaching. Our first major change was to do an overhaul on our Eldership. This has been a very positive step for our church. Although we have not fully arrived, we continue to grow and embrace in our understanding and application of what Biblical Eldership means. We feel that it is now time to address the Diaconate.

    Currently we have several issues that we face in this area. As much as we have tried to stress in our installation and recruitment of Deacons that being a Deacon is more than “just” passing out communion, collecting the offering, and greeting folks, we still have some struggles with making that transition.

    Due to many of our family’s summer travel schedules, meeting the attendance requirement of a majority of Sundays in the six months prior, has been an issue.

    We also often have struggled with finding actual “Deacons” to collect the offering and distribute communion, the two duties that seem to have defined the position here at FCC.

    In an effort to remedy these logistical issues that often plague us on Sunday mornings, we are recommending that the duty of collecting offerings and distributing communion should not have to be done by a Deacon but should be overseen by a Deacon. We feel that these areas of service are excellent places of training.

    Paul writes to Timothy about the selection and qualifications of Deacons.
    1 Tim 3:8-13 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. ESV

    Paul encouraged service to be performed by those in the body of Christ prior to having an official label of Deacon. In fact, the very word “deacon” comes from the Greek word for rendering service or aid to another.

    With this in mind, we offer the following amendment to the bylaws regarding Deacons:

    Proposed Constitution & Bylaw Revision
    Current
    SECTION 6. DEACONS. The Deacons, in addition to serving communion, shall cooperate in promoting the growth and welfare of the congregation, assist as congregational greeters, help with financial and visitation projects and with baptismal services, and lead in the expression of a caring/sharing fellowship in time of need.
    Potential Revision
    SECTION 6. DEACONS. The Deacons shall serve to promote the growth, welfare and teaching of the congregation, assist in overseeing assigned areas of ministries, and help lead in the expression of a caring/sharing fellowship in time of need. They will be involved in activities and events such as serving as congregational ushers and greeters, funeral dinners, financial campaigns, visitation projects, and baptismal services.

    This is what we hope to accomplish by making these changes:
    1. Create more service opportunities for the congregation
    2. Create a pathway for becoming a Deacon
    3. Eliminate some of the difficulty in finding people to serve on Sunday mornings
    4. Create working relationships between Eldership and Diaconate
    Deacons may be given oversight of certain areas
    Deacons taking a greater level of ownership and participation in the affairs of the church

    Loving You All,
    Michael