I have realised that there is a noble work or office in the church which many people neglect—many have rejected the post of being a deacon. It has been regarded as the least office a person should hold. For me, being a deacon is a duty of a noble man. I am going to share with you the joy of being a deacon.
I gave my life to the Lord through the deacons
I grew up in Rwalengre Village, 26 kilometres from Kiunga Town, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. When I was 13 years old I gave my life to Jesus and really wanted to know more about Him. I still want to know about God and serve Him. While trying to know about service the Lord led me to know the work of deacons.
The deacons and the deaconesses were the people who impressed me. Their warmth and welcome for me was the sweetest experience of my life. Just to name a few faithful deacons who made our church a haven: deacon Gwen Gra and his deaconess wife, and also deacon, Pa’a Awi and his deaconess wife. There were other deacons and deaconesses who did a great work for the Lord and are continuing to serve Him.
Helping deacons and deaconesses
When I started going to church at 13, I realised the sense of true calling. The calling was for me to be in the house of the Lord. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1). I found joy being in the church. Church became a haven for me when deacons and deaconesses asked me to help them.
I felt like being a deacon was not just looking after the church but also taking care of all that the Lord has entrusted to me. Sometimes my mother would find me in the church sleeping. I found peace when I went to church.
Something keeps yearning in my heart, “I would be the guardian of the Lord’s”. I began to read about the story of the priests and what they did in the sanctuary. All I learnt was a life of service. The story of young Samuel also impressed my life.
I would help the deaconesses arrange flowers and sweep the church. The deacons asked me if I could also assist in opening the church, and blowing the trumpet to call people for worship. Much more than that, I was entrusted by the deacons to stand at the door of the church to greet and welcome people into the church. It was a double blessing for me. Making people smile was the greatest joy of my life. In a world with broken people, lonely people and people with uncertainties, I felt that making people feel at home and accepted was what was required of me.
Boldness to share God’s love
While helping the deacons and deaconesses I felt that I should extend the love of God to those around us. Every Sabbath morning when I greeted people and ushered them into church I felt I must also feed the hungry. After the church service I would call the new interests to my house and feed them. I would also buy some clothes and give them to the needy people who came to church. It was a great joy to be a deacon.
God also impressed me about an interesting work I should do. After lunch on Sabbath I would walk six kilometers to a nearby hospital and visit sick patients there. When they saw a 14-year-old boy praying with them, singing and sharing God’s love with them, they could sense the power of God. Some of the people I visited in hospital became Adventist. “The Lord is with you,” one of the patients said to me. From the visitation I began to connect with people to share God’s love. I also visited the old people and some people who were neglected in the community.
Every afternoon I would stand in community gatherings and preach. After class I would share the story of Jesus with my teachers. I also shared the truth with my friends. Some of my teachers gave their life to Jesus. My community saw me as a blessing. It was not because I was a leader in the church, but because the Lord gave me a heart of service. I came to realise that service in the name of Jesus is a blessing.
When I read Matthew 24:14 I was motivated to continue sharing, as it says, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the world as a witness”. The Lord did not ask me to fight for a position, rather, He asked me to be a witness so that I can be His servant to serve Him and His people.
Until now I am learning that being a deacon gives me boldness to serve the Lord. The story of Stephen continues to ring in my heart. Not just the boldness he had in sharing the story of Jesus but also his confidence to die in the name of the Lord. His prayer of forgiveness is a great example for every deacon. “Lord, do not charge them with this sin . . .” (Acts 7:60).
From a deacon to a minister/pastor
When I was 17 years old in 9th grade, I was officially ordained as a deacon. It was a dream come true. I always love to read the stories of those who served the Lord. I found Psalm 84 a blessing. In Psalm 84:10 it says, “For a day in your court is better than a thousand. I would rather be a door keeper in the House of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
I said, “I would rather be a deacon.”
From 9th grade to 12th grade I served as a deacon in a town church (Kiunga, Western Province). Standing at the door and making people feel welcome into the church was exciting. Taking part in the Lord’s Supper service and assisting the pastors in baptism is the greatest joy.
After I completed 12th grade, I continued studies, doing the Advanced Diploma in Pastoral Ministry at Sonoma Adventist College. In my first year they ordained me as an elder and I was asked to work closely with the deacons. For the next three years at the college I was assisting the deacons. With my experience being a deacon, I mentored other deacons.
When I graduated in 2017, I was posted to pastor three churches on Emirau Island, New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea. During my three years there I continued to encourage the church leaders, including the deacons.
I would also assist the deacons and deaconesses in preparing the church for worship. Through serving others people give their life to work for Jesus.
After three years of serving the church I am continuing with my bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry and theology now at Pacific Adventist University. When I graduate I will continue to serve my God in a life of service.
I have made up my mind that, even though I am a young minister in the service of the Lord, I will still serve as a deacon. Serving God and His people is the joy of my life. I want to be like the seven deacons anointed by the early church to settle disputes.
If I was asked to choose between being an elder, a pastor or a deacon, I would rather be a deacon. The deacon work gives me joy. It is the work I want to do in serving the Lord until my last breath. I encourage the church to regard the work of a deacon or a deaconess with great admiration.
If you are called to work as a deacon in your local church, do not reject the call.
Joseph Yero is a bachelor of ministry and theology student at Pacific Adventist University, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.