TAIWAN - On Feb 26, two hundred Chinese Baptist members (Majority of them are church pastoral coworkers and deacons) gathered at the Ching Mei Baptist Church in the morning to attend the church personnel service workshop with the topic “Raising the quality of service, improving the ability of service.”
At exactly 9am, the Chinese Baptist Convention executive director Rev Nehemiah L.M. Tsai led the opening service, introducing the schedule of the day, and then passing the microphone to Pastor Maoshang Zhang of Shindan Top Church to speak on the topic “Self-sacrificing service: Mission Impossible.” The audience enjoyed listening to the sermon for their laughter filled the entire service hall.
During the sermon, Pastor Zhang asked: “Can you find anywhere in the bible that says meetings for deacons?” “The main role of a deacon is not in meetings. Deacon is one who works.” He also said, “Deacon is not a senator in the senate, not a church official, so don’t think of him as higher than others; On the contrary, a deacon has to be an example for others to follow, the most basic is to be prompt. Furthermore, deacon is the church’s sign and representative, so he needs to have a good reputation, good ethics and good image, healthy family and good interpersonal relationship.”
Beside this, he also pointed out that majority of the churches elect deacons based upon worldly standards of those having the most experiences, most knowledge, and highest status. Yet, to elect based upon this is thinking in a worldly way. If they follow these worldly standards in deacon selection, then it would be impossible for disciple Peter to become an apostle. Lastly, Pastor Zhang said that the most important thing of a deacon is having the spirit of wisdom, spirit of faith, and spirit of passion and a spirit of prayer.
After the workshop, our newspaper reporter interviewed Chinese Baptist Convention executive director Rev Nehemiah L.M. Tsai, and he stated that in the past, Chinese Baptist Convention would always set aside a time to provide education courses such as this meeting. Chinese Baptist has a very complete education system, for example they have a year-long bible-study and Sunday school instructions. But in the recent years, they did not host these training courses periodically. He said that he hopes to recover the workshops covering a different topic every year, which would provide the proper training for the brothers and sisters in the services they provide. With these training, each person can fully display his talents and abilities in returning the God-given grace and revealing true glory to God. Also, every believer would be able to fully take care of his or her own responsibilities.
Pastor Tsai further explained about the different history and administrative policies of the each denomination. As a result, different positions were produced. Using the Baptist as example, they view pastors, elders and administrator as the same roles. And that is to shepherd, so the Baptists do not have an elder, but the deacons will hold the tasks of an elder in some other denomination. For examples, taking care of work related to administration. In Baptist, the main task of a deacon is to support and cooperate with the pastor in ministering; just like the first martyr Stephen, who performed both the duties of a deacon and that of a preacher. Thus, the first task of a deacon is to be the pastor’s best co-worker and supporter.
The method for Baptist’s election of a deacon is held in the form of election. Most denominations use this model, first nominating the candidate, and then proceed with the election using the list of names that are publicly announced.
The workshop was separated into four special courses: the first part was the speech given by Pastor Zhang, “Becoming a glorious serving deacon.” The second part was Pastor Xiang’s speech, “How to become the pastor’s excellent helper?” The third part was Elder Lee’s speech “When an incomplete shepherd meets an incomplete herd of lambs?” And the last part was Sister Dan’s speech on “how to push for children’s preaching education?”.
The four different subject courses were held in three separate halls. Each person went separately to his own small group. Lastly, everyone gathered in the main assembly hall for questioning and answering. After the seminar was over, everyone was stuffed spiritually, carrying new strengths at departure, and becoming the church experts on services.