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The Hyles Church Manual
I cannot praise enough this book which places warm and sympathetic hands on all matters that pertain to the welfare of the church.
Dr. Hyles has gone into details in such a wonderful way that pastors and churches will profit greatly by giving heed to the author’s instruction.
The giving of the actual proceedings of a business meeting will guide pastors wisely in how to conduct a business meeting of the church. The same can be said for the chapter on the church budget and all matters concerning a building program, showing good plans and bad plans for building.
The chapters that deal with dedications and ordinations-the dedication of buildings and ordination of deacons and preachers-is superb in directions given.
Superiority superlative are all words in this book that set forth plans for building a great Sunday school, for conducting teachers’ meeting, for securing and operation of buses.
The urgency of caring for the sick and shut-ins, for direction in youth programs, and well-organized and well-operated church nurseries, for having the right kind of music and singing, and the usefulness of the women’s Missionary Society is evident in all the author writes.
What the author writes about baptism and examples in soul winning add to the value of the book.
Every pastor on earth will find great profit and help in giving careful attention to the words of Section III--and being doers of the words.
If I could command pastors and they had to obey my command, all pastors would give careful attention to all the author says about weddings and actual wedding ceremonies, funerals and actual funeral services, spiritual counseling, pastor and people relationship and the pastor and the staff.
In what he writes about the invitation, Dr. Hyles, an expert himself in giving an invitation, expresses himself wisely as to how some wonderful gospel messages are ineffectual by a weak invitation.
I could use many strong adjectives
in speaking of this book. But they would be inadequate to set forth its
worth--written by a great gospel preacher, pastor of a great Baptist church,
who has given much thought and prayer and time to the writing of a most
excellently superb book--setting forth so many valuable things pastors and
churches need to know and put into practice. I wish every pastor and
evangelist and church in America would get a copy of this book, read it, and
put into practice the wise instructions it gives.
Some inquiries then came in concerning the
possibility of another such school, and because of popular demand, another
was conducted the next year. Approximately 250 pastors attended. The next
year over 350 came, and in 1967 approximately 650 were registered for the
pastors’ School. then in 1968, there were 1,205 registered for this week of
1. The Church Business Meeting
Because of this, many churches feel it is wise to have
periodic business meetings. For some, the business meeting is once a year.
For others, business meetings are conducted whenever there is special
business. I have found it helpful through the years to have a monthly
business meeting. Though brief, it is important. It keeps the people
informed as to the affairs of the church and gives them an opportunity to
speak out concerning such matters.
Perhaps the best time for such a meeting is after the
Wednesday evening service. In the first place, the people are already there
and this avoids having to call a special meeting on a special night just to
take care of business. Then also, the people are in a spiritual frame of
mind after a good service and fellowship around the Word of God. Many
churches make a mistake, I think, in giving an entire Wednesday evening
service to a business meeting. The people of the church have worked hard all
day and, no doubt, have had their minds on carnal and material things. They
are in no condition spiritually to do God’s business. After a few great
songs about Christ, some time of prayer, and a message from God’s Word,
people are in much better condition to transact the business of God.
It is wise to start off with a prayer. This prayer
should be a brief and simple one asking God to give wisdom to make the
proper decisions and to give love in the transaction of the King’s business.
This prayer is followed by the pastor simply saying, “We will now have the
reading of the minutes by the church clerk.” The church clerk proceeds to
read the minutes of the last business meeting. When the minutes have been
read the pastor asks the congregation, “Are there any corrections or
additions to the minutes?” If no one speaks, the pastor simply says, “The
minutes stand approved as read.” If someone makes a correction to the
reading of the minutes, the pastor says, “The minutes stand approved as
Following the deacons’ recommendations we then come to
the time of the treasurer’s report. The treasurer’s report may be read but
we have found it more helpful to have a mimeographed report. Following is a
copy of one page of a typical treasurer’s report.
We find it helpful to pass out the treasurer’s report at the door following the service. We announce to the people that if anyone has any questions about the expenditures, he may call the church office at any time and we will be happy to explain any or all of the treasurer’s report.
We then ask if there is a motion to adjourn. Between the time of the asking for the motion and the making of the motion, of course, anyone who wishes to bring up something else may feel free to do so. This should not be encouraged but it should be allowed. The motion is made and seconded to adjourn. Then the pastor simply says, “all in favor of the motion to adjourn will signify by standing for the closing prayer.” The standing to pray is the vote to adjournment.
The above order of service is a very simple one. The business meetings is our pastorates have usually lasted from five to thirty minutes, with an average of about fifteen minutes. The people know that nothing is being done under the table and that they have a right to speak on any issue. Because they do know it, normally they do not exercise this right. A right that is taken away is exercised more than a right that is granted.
Bear in mind that the deacons’ recommendations are
simply that--just recommendations. The deacons have no authority. All the
authority rests with the church body. However, the church body has such
confidence in the board of deacons that almost without exception, they
readily accept the deacons’ recommendations. This is as it should be. The
church has confidence in the leadership of the deacon board and the pastor.
Consequently, they are pleased and happy with the recommendations brought
2. Insist on kindness. The membership of the church should feel that they may speak about any issue. They should not feel that they may speak rudely, or unkindly, about any issue. The moderator should insist that kindness prevail and the right of anyone to speak freely on any subject be protected. People should have the idea that if they oppose something kindly, they will not be ostracized or ridiculed, but they should have a complete understanding that in caring for God’s business a Christian spirit should prevail.
3. The moderator should give all a chance to speak. The smallest member of the church should feel that he has a right to speak concerning any issue. As mentioned before, when a church has this right, normally, fewer people will speak out. As long as one can see hi privileges he need not fight for them, but when he sees his privileges being taken away he will often become obstinate and critical.
4. Do not encourage opposition. While each member feels that he has the right to speak and is offered the chance to speak, opposition should not be encouraged. For example, if it is obvious that the majority of the congregation is for a certain matter, when suddenly someone rises to speak in opposition, he should be allowed to say his peace, if he says it kindly. Then the moderator (the pastor) may say something like, “Thank you, brother, for that word,” or “Is there any other word before we vote?” Statements such as these are dangerous: “Than you, my brother, would anyone else like to speak on this matter?” or “What do the rest of you think of this opposition?” The opposition will rise to speak without any encouragement. It is wise to give the opposition a chance to speak but not to encourage their speaking. After the opposition has been expressed then simply take the vote. Remember through it all the moderator should be kind and gracious even in the face of opposition.
5. When big issues are involved the moderator should foresee the questions and prepare his answers. When the moderator knows there is going to be a big issue he should predict the questions that will need to be answered and prepare the answers. On certain occasions I have taken as many as sixteen pages of notes to a business meeting when I knew questions would be asked me. I have prepared a page of answers for each possible question. This enabled me to answer carefully, thoughtfully, and with premeditation. This eliminated any possibility of my speaking hastily and in the heat of the battle making a mistake in fact or spirit. Then, when the question is asked, the moderator may simply pull from his little file his prepared answer and read it.
6. Write letters of kindness and love to the opposition. Following a business meeting where there have been differences of opinion and where someone obviously opposed the action taken, it certainly would be Christian gesture for the moderator to write a letter of encouragement to the opposition. The following is an example:
Dear Mr. Doe,
I was thinking about you this morning as I reflected
upon our business meeting last night, and I thought I would put my thoughts
on paper. First let me tell you I thank God for your friendship and what you
have meant to me through the years, and though last night we appeared to be
on different sides of the fence, I do want you to know that I respect you
and admire you as a Christian brother. I also want you to know that as long
as you are in the church and I am moderator, and as long as you manifest the
fine Christian spirit that you manifested last night, I will certainly fight
for your right to speak your piece. You were gracious in your opposition and
you have been a blessing to me personally. I thank God for the privilege of
being your pastor and trust that He will give us many years of service
together. I also Thank God that on most issues you and I agree
wholeheartedly, and I rejoice in what you mean to me and to your church. May
Gods richest blessings rest upon you.
8. Have recommendations thoroughly thought out before being brought before the church. Now this is so important. The normal procedure of a recommendation in our church is from the pastor to the deacons to the people. The pastor should thoroughly think through his recommendations to the board of deacons. Then he deacons should thoroughly discuss and think through a course of action before recommending to the church that it be followed. Most church trouble is caused by a lack of thoroughness and proper planning on the part of the pastor and deacons. The discussions, the opposition, the deliberations, etc., should be done in the deacons’ meeting and not on the floor of the church where weak Christians may be present. Bear in mind that the deacon is supposed to be a mature Christian who is well seasoned in the work of the Lord. Consequently, he can disagree more agreeably than the weak Christian. The more discussion on the floor of the deacon board the less discussion there usually is on the floor of the church. When an issue is not thoroughly discussed and thought out by the deacons, it is oftentimes an issue of controversy on the floor of the church.
9. The moderator should never display his temper. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that it is the person who hits the second blow that is usually penalized. In an athletic contest the man who hits first is seldom seen, but the man who retaliates is often seen and penalized. Many times people privately criticize, slander and rebuke the pastor but the other people do not see this. The pastor gets his fill of such actions and then goes to the platform and retaliates. The people only see the retaliation; hence, they penalize the pastor instead of the tormentor. The moderator should be very careful to be kind and gracious and the people should be aware of this spirit.
10. Always keep the people informed. An informed membership is a happy membership. An uninformed membership can be an unhappy and rebellious membership. As one has said, “Keep all the cards on top of the table” so the people know exactly what is going on.
11. Do not run ahead of the people. Many pastors prematurely borrow money, buy property, and build buildings. Now it is not so bad for the pastor to run a little bit ahead of the people on the program of the church or some other matter that can be rescinded, but suppose the pastor leads the people to borrow money when they are not ready to borrow money, then when he is called to another field they have to pay his debt. There is a note of a lack of wisdom in this. The pastor may be the kind of leader that will inspire his people to want to borrow, build, and give, abut the people should be ready before a large project is started. Keep the people abreast with you. This is especially needful concerning the deacon board.
12. No business meeting should be held without the pastor. This is another one of those things that is a conviction with me. An understanding should be had with the pastor, deacons, and people that no church business meeting should be conducted in the absence of the pastor. When the people love the pastor and the pastor loves the people, this is usually no problem. They are more than delighted to grant his request.
13. It is wise to have a two weeks’ notice before calling a business meeting of major importance. No secret business meeting should be conducted. In something of major importance such as the calling of a pastor, the building of a building, the borrowing of money, the buying of property, etc., an announcement should be made at least two Sunday mornings before the business meeting is conducted so as to give every member of the church adequate knowledge of what is to be transacted. Not only should the business meeting be announced but the matter to be discussed should be announced also.
14. It is very important that the pastor know parliamentary procedure. The pastor should know how to handle a motion and even an amendment to a motion. Suppose someone makes a motion; the pastor says, “Is there a second?” If there is no second, he then says, “The motion is lost for lack of a second.” If there is a second, he says, “Is there any discussion?” Following the period of discussion the Pastor says, “All in favor say, ‘Aya’ All opposed, ‘No’ and it is so ordered.”
However, suppose that during the time of discussion someone amends the motion. Someone could say, “I amend the motion as made and seconded as follows.” Then the pastor, acting as moderator, should call for the vote on the amendment. He should say, “Is there a second to the amendment?” If there is a second, he then may say, “Is there any discussion about the amendment?” After the discussion about the amendment he then calls for the vote on the amendment of the motion. Following the vote on the amendment of the motion the pastor then returns to the previous motion as amended. He may then say, “All in favor of the motion as amended say ‘Aya’ All opposed, ‘No’ and it is so ordered.
Following is an example of a typical business meeting
as conducted in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
2. A Business Meeting
We will now have the reading of minutes.
CHURCH CLERK: “The April business meeting was called to order and opened with prayer by Pastor Hyles on Wednesday, April 19, 1967, at 9:00 p.m. The minutes of the regular meeting held on March 15, 1967 were read and approved. A list of 191 names was read by Pastor Hyles for church membership-169 by baptism, 17 by Christian experience, and 5 by transfer of letter. A motion was made by Dave Gifford and seconded by Dave Sharp that these applicants be received into our membership. The motion carried.
“On adoption of a motion by Bob Lial and seconded by Doug Hiles fifteen people were voted out of the membership-13 by transfer of letter and 2 were dropped by request.
“The board of deacons presented the following
recommendations for the church approval:
May 1 through April 30, 1968, as follows: Church treasurer, Glen Smith; Assistant
Treasurer, Cliff Anglen; Church Clerk, L. J. Parr; and Assistant Clerk, Don Krueger. A motion was made by Ken Cunningham and seconded by Blanford Duff that this be approved. The motion carried.
2. That the church approve having steel guards installed on ten doors and six first-floor windows along the alley on all buildings except the Annex at the cost of $481.00, the money to come from the surplus fund. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by John Olsen, Sr., that this recommendation be approved. The motion carried.
3. That the church approve purchasing addressograph plates for the Beginner Department at the cost of $50.00, the money to come from the surplus fund. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Jim Sprague that this be approved.
The motion carried.
4. That the church grant a license to preach to Clarence Goren. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Ed Rausch that this be approved. This motion also carried.
5. That the church approve leasing a new ‘First Baptist Church’ sign from the Ad Craft Sign Company at the cost of $600.00 down and $80.00 per month for five years to be installed on the corner nearest sidewalk approximately ten feet south of the red block wall and half way from the corner to the west wall of the auditorium. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Walter Mitziga that this be approved. The motion carried.
6. That the church approve having the rear wall of the new Educational Building waterproofed with two coats of paint by the same contractor who did the new auditorium, at a cost of $750.00, the money to come from the surplus fund. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Ray Boardway that this be approved. The motion carried.
7. That the church approve spending an estimated $200.00 from the surplus fund to have the present church sign repaired. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Vic Nischik that this be approved. The motion carried.
8. That the church approve transferring $1,000 from budget item #59 to budget item #14 to increase the salary of custodian Mr. Sullivan, who will have increased responsibility with the completion of the new Educational Building, and this money to be replaced at the end of the year if the surplus fund so warrants. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Earl Dukes that this recommendation be approved. The motion carried.
9. That the church approve tazing the apartment building to the east of the office building and the Knights of Christ building with the consent of Mr. Inkley, who holds the title to this building. A motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by Lewis Shoaf that this recommendation be approved. The motion carried.
10. That the church approve giving the bleachers in
the Junior II Department of the Annex to the Bill Rice Ranch when this
building is remodeled, following the completion of our new building. A
motion was made by L. J. Parr and seconded by George Huisenga that this
recommendation be approved. The motion carried.
PASTOR: We have these requests for transfers. (Eleven names were read for transfer.)
Do I hear a motion that we grant these as requested? (Mr. Dunsworth raised his hand.)
Brother Dunsworth makes the motion. Is there a second? (Mr. Shoaf raised his hand.)
Brother Shoaf seconds it. Any discussion? If not, if you are in favor say “Aya”
I think I should make this observation and explanation. I announced Sunday night that we had a life-changing decision to make tonight. That life-changing decision has been changed. We thought that we were going to buy the Wulf’s Cleaners across the street but the matter has been postponed indefinitely, and we are not going to do it as of now.
All right, let us have the deacons’ recommendations.
PASTOR: Is there a second to the motion? (Mr. Cunningham’s hand was raised)
Brother Cunningham seconds it.
This is what it amount to: We have divided the rooms
200 and 300 of the present educational building (Miller Hall, as we call it)
into classrooms, and we need one more folding door in room 200. The deacons
are recommending that we buy this door and take the money from the surplus
fund. Are there any questions or discussion? All in favor say, “Aya.”
PASTOR: Is there a second to the motion? Okay, we have
forty “seconds” to this motion. I saw Brother Duff here. He seconds the
motion. Walter Ruskowski, of course, has been one of our own deacons for a
number of years. Now he feels that God would have him to preach. We do not
know what the future holds for him, but we wanted to go on record as being
for him and recommending unanimously that the church license him to preach
the Gospel. Is there any discussion about it? If not, if you are in favor,
you will give a resounding “Aye.”
Brother Streeter seconds it. Back in the rear of this
building there is ceramic tile. When the building was built, asphalt tile
was installed. When we came in the first Sunday, it was raining, if you
recall, and we slipped. We then decided to put down ceramic tile first. We
didn’t. We put the ceramic tile over the asphalt tile. When the fire came,
the firemen came in here and, of course, the water got all over this floor.
It seeped under the tile back there. The professional tile men say that the
water has lifted up the edges of the asphalt tile. what they want to do is
take one width of asphalt tile off all the way around, build up the
concrete, and lay the ceramic tile directly on the concrete. They will fix
it for $80.00 to go home early? All in favor of spending the $80.00 by faith
so that we can go home say “Aye.”
All in favor may stand.
Let us pray.
Father, thank you for every activity of this evening and for the sweetness that prevails in our church. In Jesus’ name. Amen,
Good night and God bless you.
1. Deacons compose the budget committee. In our chapter on the board of deacons we mention that the deacons we mention that the deacons form every committee of the church and that every church officer is chosen from the board of deacons. We also point out that the deacons have a meeting each Saturday evening, which means that every officer and committee of the church is present at the same meeting. This eliminates hundreds of hours of needless committee meetings. Now bear in mind that the committees are not chosen from the board of deacons but the board of deacons is every committee. The board of deacons is the nominating committee, the budget committee, the finance committee, etc. Hence, the budget is drawn up at their regular meetings.
2. If the deacons plan to prepare the budget at the regular monthly meetings with no extra called meetings then it is best for the preparation of the budget to start in September. Since the fiscal year should be the calendar year, that hives the board of deacons four months to prepare the budget for following year. We have found it more practical and more timesaving, however, to have weekly budget meetings enabling us to start as late as the latter part of October or even the early part of November. In five or six rather lengthy meetings a budget can be prepared if proper preparation is made by the treasurer, the pastor, and the staff.
3. A check should be made of the expenditures of the previous year. Each item on the budget should be examined very carefully by the treasurer, pastor, or both, before the first meeting of the budget committee. Much care should be given to compare the budget item versus the expenditures for that item for the previous year. This will enable the budget committee in deciding whether to decrease or increase each particular budget item.
4. A prediction should be made of the needs of the
coming year. Once again this should be done before the first budget
committee meeting. Perhaps a building has been built which would necessitate
the increase of the utilities. Perhaps a new staff member has been hired
which would necessitate the increase of salaries. Perhaps there is a
building program being planned and the building will be completed before the
end of the coming year. This should be taken into consideration. Using an
old budget the pastor, or treasurer, or both, should then write beside the
old budget item what they feel the item would need for the coming year.
Following is a sample of such a page:
1. Administrative expense
2. Building and grounds
3. General office expense
4. Mission budget
6. Program expense
7. Sunday school budget
6. The deacons, or budget committee, should discuss, at their meetings, each item and allocate its amount for the next year. One by one, carefully, prayerfully, and slowly the budget committee discusses the budget. When coming to each item, last year’s expenditures are considered; the recommendation of the needs of next year as given by the pastor and/or treasurer should be considered; then an intelligent decision should be made concerning the needs of each item. When each item has been examined carefully the budget should be totaled and divided by the number of Sundays in the coming year to see what the total budget would be if recommended, as is to the church. If the deacons feel that the average weekly budget is within reach of the people, then they should vote to approve the budget and recommend tit to the church. Bear in mind at this point that the deacons have no authority to adopt a budget. This authority rests only in the church. The deacons are only an advisory committee as always and, as always, have no power to act apart from the church.
7. The proposed budget is then presented to the church. The first week in December is a good time for this. A mimeographed copy is given to each member and an announcement is made that a vote will be taken two weeks later to approve, reject, or modify the proposal budget. This gives the members two weeks to consider the budget and also gives ample time for absent members to secure copies and become acquainted with the proposals being presented by the board of deacons. Once again, an informed church is more likely to be happy and satisfied church. Special care should be taken that nothing is being pushed through but that the church is kept aware of every step.
8. The church then votes to adopt the budget. Two weeds after the budget is presented the church meets in a regular business meeting and votes to adopt the budget as proposed by the board of deacons. This can be a brief meeting. Every member of the church has had ample time to carefully check every budget item. The pastor, acting as moderator, asks for questions or deliberations from the church floor. The budget may be changed by majority church vote. However, when the church has proper confidence in the pastor and deacons, and when the pastor and deacons have thoroughly thought out these proposals, we find that changes from the floor are very rare. In spite of this fact, however, the people should be aware that they may change the budget without bringing the wrath of the pastor and deacons upon them.
After ample discussion the pastor may then call for a motion for the adoption of the budget as proposed or as corrected. he may make such a statement as this: “Do I hear a motion that we adopt the budget as proposed by the board of deacons?” Someone makes a motion, the motion is seconded, the pastor then asks for discussion. Though discussion whatsoever is given. After the discussion the pastor may then say, “All who are in favor of the budget as proposed will signify it by standing,” and “All who are opposed may signify by like sign.” (This is one of those few votes in the year when I prefer standing or the raising of the hand rather than simply the “aye.”)
9. The operation of the budget. There are many
successful systems for such an operation. In our ministry we have tried many
but, following, you will find the system that has been best adapted to our
Since each item on the budget is numbered, then the page for that item bears the same number. This way a running balance may be kept, not only for the extra budget, but for each item in the budget.
(2.) Each Monday the weekly allocation for each
item is credited to its page as follows:
11. The balance of each page must stay in the black.
This means that nothing can be ordered unless there is a sufficient balance
to cover its purchase. Suppose, for example, that the secretaries need some
stationery. They look to the ledger book under the item “Secretarial
Supplies,” “Office Expense,” or whatever the appropriate title of that
budget item is. They cannot order more stationery than these budget item
will allow. Notice the following chart:
Suppose, for example, that we pursue with the ordering
of the stationery mentioned above. We have found that we have only #94.62.
Suppose, then, that we order $75.00 worth of stationery; the following entry
is made in the ledger book:
13. The same deposit is made into the operating account each week. Let’s suppose that a church’s budget is $300.00 a week. The deposit each week is $300.00, no more and no less.
14. A surplus account should be set up. Because we are depositing the same amount of money each week in the operating account there must be another account where the surplus is deposited. Assuming that our budget is $300.00 per week as aforementioned, suppose the offering is $362.98. $62.98 of this is deposited in a surplus account and $300.00 deposit covers every item in the budget and since every item stays in the black we know that the $300.00 is more than meeting our needs. This gives us the assurance that we may spend anything in the surplus fund without affecting the budget.
This surplus fund cannot be touched unless the offering is below the budget or unless the church votes for an expenditure. This gives us direction and constant awareness as to our financial condition. Over the period of the year this surplus fund builds up and offers great security to the church. In case of emergency the church may decide to use some of it, and in case the offering is less than the budget, the surplus fund is used to make up the difference. This allows us to meet our budget every Sunday and to know exactly where we stand financially at all times.
15. Following is an actual copy of a church budget we
have used in the past:
The plan that we have used for years is having three men whose signatures are acceptable. Any two of these may sign. This enables one man to be out on vacation or sick, and still the Lord’s work and business can go on.
17. The counting of the money. Under no conditions do we allow money to be counted during the services. We feel that everyone possible should be in the public services of the church, and so we discourage activities such as counting money to be carried on while the preacher is preaching. We have divided our board of deacons into four groups. One group counts each first Sunday, one group each second Sunday, etc. This means that each deacon counts money once each month. This is done on Sunday afternoon. The money is counted in a private, well-locked room with the best of money-counting equipment. The deposit slip is made up, the police department is called, and deacons proceed to the bank under armed guard to make the deposit. The money is placed in the night deposit vault where it is kept until the next day when the final and official deposit is made. Through all the years of my ministry I have left counting of the money in the hands of my deacons. We have found it wise not to let the same people count the money each week. Not only is there a security for the church; there is also a security for the counters in that the people realize that the counting of the money and the financial responsibilities are being spread out to many rather than controlled by a few.
18 The keeping of financial records. When a family is
voted into the church they are given a packet of offering envelopes for the
entire calendar year. There is an envelope for each Sunday of the year.
2. Easter and Thanksgiving offerings are taken. Twice a year we encourage out people to make a thank offering unto the Lord. This is over and above their regular weekly tithe. These can be used for radio, buses, rescue mission, or one of many other projects. Sometimes it is helpful to have such an offering for the purpose of meeting budget needs. Maybe the offerings have not met the budget for the year. The goal for these offerings could be to bring the offerings for the year up to the budget requirements.
3. There are several things to be considered in the taking of a special offering. Of course, the offering should be taken only when there is a need. The people should be given the true picture of the church’s financial program. They should be trained that the pastor will take an offering when there is a need and that if he says there is a need, there is a need. The people must trust the pastor completely. If he says we need a dollar, then the people should know a dollar is needed. If he says we need $10,000, the people should know that the need is $10,000. They should never feel that they are being used by the pastor to meet an objective. Complete confidence concerning these matters should be developed.
In the taking of a special offering, the pastor should be serious. There is far too much joking going on at offering time. When a person gives, he should have the feeling that it is a spiritual activity. This is not to say that something humorous cannot ever be said, but the general atmosphere should be one of sobriety. The burden and the need should be laid kindly, lovingly, frankly, and sincerely upon the hearts of the people by the pastor. Following would be some words the pastor could use:
“Dear friends, we face a serious need today in our church’s life. We find ourselves in need of $5.000 in order to meet our budget requirements for the year. Now you know that I would not come to you for this need unless it were a real one. You know how I have acted toward financial needs through the years and you also know that I am not an alarmist. If I act alarmed, then I am alarmed. Today I come to you presenting a serious need. Since I have been your pastor I have never presented a need that you have not met and I come to you sincerely and in faith believing that this one will also be met. Our receipts thus far this year have been $52,000. Our budget is over $57,000. That means that we need $5,000 in today’s offering. This may cause some sacrifice on my part as well as yours. I plan to do my part. I trust you will do yours. Some will have to give $300.00. Some can only give a dollar or two, but let each of us give whatever he feels he can and each of us give whatever he would have to give to make it a sacrifice. I’m trusting God to lay on your heart the need. Let us meet it together.”
Then the pastor should be honest concerning the raising of an offering. If an offering is taken for a certain matter, it should be spent for that matter. No money should ever be used for any purpose other than that which was told the people. It is certainly dishonest to take an offering and wrongly allocate the funds.
When the offering is taken and counted, the people should know the total given. Again, as we have said before, keep everything in the open. Never conceal anything from the people. Be honest with them and build their confidence in your financial responsibility.
It is often wise to have special envelopes for special
offerings. Several of these are presented below:
By no means have we been exhaustive in this chapter.
Simplicity has been our goal. We have not tried to confuse the reader with
many plans but have tried to offer a simple, practical one that is being
used and can be used. To be sure there are many others that God is using and
the above is simply one of many plans. God has seen fit to bless it and use
it in hundreds of churches around the world to carry out the greatest
business in all the world-God’s business.
4. A Building Program
1. Don’t magnify building. Buildings are only tools which enable us to reach people and teach people about the Lord Jesus Christ. They should not be magnified out of proportion. In the Grange Hall Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, we grew a rather large rural Sunday school and church with only six or eight adequate classrooms. We used the shade of trees, the baptistery steps, the bedrooms of the parsonage, the attic, and church buses for Sunday school classrooms, and yet the church grew rapidly.
When I assumed the pastorate of the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas, the total property valuation was $6,000. We had a building made of Arkansas tile with nothing but concrete on the floors, rafters for ceilings, and with no choir or pews. The first Sunday forty-four people attended to welcome the pastor. We had a little prefabricated building about sixteen feet where we had two Sunday School classes and other than this, we had only a nursery adjacent to the auditorium. We had five Sunday school classes meeting in the auditorium that seated comfortably only about 150 people. With these limited facilities we grew to an average of over 400 in Sunday school, with a high of 952. We used garages of the houses of neighbors. We borrowed an empty house across the street which we used for Sunday school classes. Since we had no pews, we came to an opening assembly in the auditorium and sat o folding chairs. We then went to our classes across the street in the borrowed house. Each person carried his chair with him across a busy street. Folks who came in early for the preaching service found an auditorium empty of chairs, and it remained so until Sunday school was over. Then they could see people carrying their chairs across the street to the auditorium.
We then built a one-story educational building but we could not afford chairs for this. I stood up and announced to our people that we were going to have the only Chinese Sunday school in America. Since the Chinese sit on rugs in school we would have a Chinese Sunday school with our children sitting on “throw” rugs. It was inconvenient, but the church grew. When we dedicated the aforementioned Sunday school building (which, by the way, I built myself), a strange thing happened. Bear in mind that I had never built a building. I knew nothing about buildings. We simply could not afford an architect, and we had only #13,000.00. With some wise counsel from a cement contractor, I led in the construction of the building. When the building was dedicated, we were very, very happy and proud even though it was a very simple building. On Dedication Day somebody asked me what kind of heat the building had. “What...err...kind of...heat?” I asked. Oh...Ah...Yes, you guessed it right, I forgot to put heat in the building. We got some star drills, drilled holes in the walls and ran pipe along the ceiling to provide gas heat for the building. To this day the pipes are still visible. In spite of this the church grew.
To be sure a church can grow without adequate buildings but its growth will be faster and more solid if the building program can keep progress with the church’s growth. Hence, do not magnify the buildings but plan for adequate facilities, if at all possible.
2. Keep planning ahead of the needs. The pastor and deacons should be planning ahead constantly for the needs of the church as far as buildings are concerned. Some churches even find it wise to have a master plan to provide continuity to their building program. This is certainly a wise step. As plans are made, they should be made within reason and common sense. Many churches build an auditorium that is such a mistake as this. An auditorium can be built with room for a balcony to be installed later or with plans for expansion later. I would rather have a smaller building that is packed than a larger building that is half empty. This is one reason that including a balcony in auditorium plans is usually a wise thing. When the balcony is not is use, the people will not be aware of this fact and the spirit of the church will not be hampered.
3. Consider your needs, not your money. Remember the promise, “But my God shall supply all you need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Sometimes the needs cannot be met immediately. Hence, the building program may have to be made in several steps, but it always seems to be a mistake when a church considers money before it considers its needs.
4. Appoint a building committee. Through the years I have asked the church to empower the board of deacons as the building committee. This is in keeping with our policy of church organization. (See chapter on Deacons.) Be careful here not to choose people just because they are builders or well-to-do. Stay with the spiritual people of the church in this capacity. Now if the spiritual people happen to be builders or well-to-do people, it is much the better. It is better to choose the spiritual common man than the carnal well-to-do man.
5. Look at many church buildings. Acquaint yourself with the church architecture of the day. Especially should you acquaint yourself with the buildings of churches that are the same type church as yours. For example, our church is very evangelistic; hence, we want our buildings to look evangelistic. We have found it wise to visit numbers of evangelistic churches and look at their facilities. The deacons, or building committee, should take many trips together, carefully taking note of different advantages offered by different type structures. Do not limit your building to copy another but rather make it include the best features of many others.
6. Employ an architect. This is a vital part of a building program. I have found it best to use Christian architects who draw plans for many church buildings. It is amazing how much such an architect can help and how many ideas he has accumulated of which the pastor and deacons would never think. Much prayer should be given in the choosing of an architect. Remember, just because a man is a good architect does not make him qualified to draw church plans.
7. Employ the architect to draw preliminary plans. By preliminary plans, I mean a floor plan along with an artist’s sketch of both interior and exterior of the building. This is normally done at a very nominal fee.
8. Have the architect explain the floor plan, the elevation, and the architect’s sketches to the deacons. Such a meeting would probably last several hours, and the architect should go into much detail as he informs the deacons of his suggestions.
9. The deacons should then adopt these preliminary plans. A vote should be taken by the board concerning the plans, and if the plans are adopted, the can proceed with the building program.
10. The pastor and deacons should then present the plans, as adopted, to the church for church approval. Of course, this meeting is announced at least two weeks in advance and must be well attended by the membership. I have found it helpful to make slides of the architect’s sketches, floor plans, and elevation showing them to the people and explaining them in detail. Caution must be taken not to run ahead of the people. Be sure deacons are in complete agreement as to the building program and be sure the people are ready to go into such a program.
11. The church may then vote to employ the architect to draw the complete set of plans, to adopt the preliminary plans, and to empower the deacons as a building committee to see the building through to completion. If the church enthusiastically adopts the plans, then the architect may proceed with the drawing of the completed set of plans.
12. Be looking for money. All the time the pastor and/or deacons should be looking for finances. Local banks should be contacted as well as savings and loans associations, insurance companies, brokers, bonding companies, etc. Though final action on a loan by a lending agency is not usually taken until the plans are completed, it is important that the steps be taken to secure finances even before the completing of the plans.
13. It is wise for a church to limit its debt retirement to one offering a month, or one-fourth of its income. This has been our policy through the years and we have found it to be a sound one. Allocate one entire Sunday a month for debt retirement or 25% of the income. Explain this to the lending agency and they will be impressed by your financial farsightedness and conversation.
14. Raise all of the money that you can. Through the years I have steered clear of the money-raising campaigns that interfere with the evangelistic program of the church. I have also steered clear of an every-member canvas, etc. First, the pastor can decide what he himself can give. It should be sacrificial if he expects the people to sacrifice. Then he may call a meeting of his staff and explain to them that he is sacrificing. He can then show them the need and ask them to join him. A little card could be passed out asking the staff to indicate at the bottom of the card how much they could hive during the days of the building program. For example, if the building program is going to last six months, ask them to write on the card how much they can give over the six-month period. We do not ask the people to sign the card. We simply want to know how much we can expect. We have no idea who it is that is going to give that much. It is between them and God.
Then a similar meeting is held with the board of deacons, explaining the them what the pastor and staff are going to do, laying the burden upon their hearts and leading them to join you in sacrificing. Then a meeting could be held with the teachers and officers and other leaders of the Sunday school and church. This meeting is similar to the one conducted with the staff and the deacons. Again, cards are passed out. The people indicate their promises but do not sign their names on the cards. After these meetings, a called meeting of the church should be conducted. It should be handled along the same lines of the aforementioned meetings. The Sunday school hour would be a good time for this since the Sunday school workers have already made their promises. In this meeting the remainder of the church can decide what would be a sacrifice for them, again using the blank card method.
After the pastor, the staff, the deacons, the teachers and officers and the people have written their intentions, a total can be added and a victory report given to the church. It is very important that during this period the pastor be very honest and sincere with the people. He should keep them informed as to how much money is coming in and the needs that remain. I have found it unwise to use high-pressure methods, and I have also found that when the pastor is honest and sincere with the people, God’s people will always meet the need.
Attractive envelopes should be printed for people to
use during the building program. Below is a sample of one we have found most
It is also wise to have at least four bids. To get four bids a church would probably have to contact six to eight contractors. The date should be set for the opening of the bids. The bids should be sealed and given to the architect. At the date of opening the deacon board, or a designated portion of the deacon board, should meet with the pastor and the architect for the opening of the bids. The architect opens the bids and reveals their contents to the deacons and pastor. The deacons may then vote their preference and let the contract.
16. There are varied types of agreements with contractors. There are several different ways to employ a contractor. The best way is what is normally called “a turn key job.” This means the contractor hives his bed and agrees to build a building for so much money. He does all of the labor and then presents the building to the church upon completion.
A very popular way of building is “cost plus 10%,” which means the contractor agrees to build the building at what is costs him plus 10% for his profit.
An interesting way to build is called “contract plus percentage of savings.” Suppose that a builder agrees to build the building for $100,000. An agreement can be made with him that a percentage of all he saves the church will go to him. For example, suppose he can build it for $90,000. Then he will get one-half of the $10,000 he saves. In other words, the original agreement is that the contractor makes 10% of the $100.000 which is $10,000. If he can build the building for $90,000, he makes $15,000. If he can build the building for $80,000, he makes $20,000. So the more he saves, the more he makes.
Sometimes a church finds it impossible to employ a contractor and must build a building with volunteer labor. This is the worst of all the plans but it can be done and has been done very successfully.
In some cases the church will let the contract for a portion of the building and use volunteer labor for the rest. Perhaps the church members would want to paint the building, or lay the tile floor. Then these items simply could be left out of the contract and left to the church members to complete.
17. As soon as the contract is let, the church could have a big ground-breaking day. Goals should be set and a record attendance should be present. This should be a day of joy and victory. Often it is wise to have visiting dignitaries such as mayors, governors, congressmen, etc. The ground should be broken by the pastor, deacon chairman, or some other important member. Pictures should be taken to be used for future publicity purposes, for newspaper articles, etc.
18. During the building program there should be a weekly meeting of the deacons. This meeting is for the purpose of alerting the deacons to the progress of the building and allowing them to make necessary decisions as the building committee. Again the pastor should be very careful to keep the deacons informed and abreast with him in the building program.
19. The pastor and deacons should work closely with the contractor.
20. Lighting should be considered very carefully. Some architects and builders are a little aesthetic and tend to make the building a little dark. A light building is very important to a church, and care should be made to provide sufficient lighting.
21. The building should depict the personality of the church. It should reflect the church, and it certainly should not clash with the church’s personality or profile.
22. Give much attention to the public address system. This is very vital. I like big speakers near the platform in preference to many little speakers scattered throughout the auditorium. The speaker should be able to hear himself. The pastor should certainly work closely with the architect and builder in this matter as the pastor is the expert in involved as far as the public speaking is concerned. It matters not how beautiful the building; if the people cannot hear, the entire program is in vain.
23. Following are some suggestions and sketches
concerning the building of auditoriums and Sunday school classes with brief
explanations of each:
1. Adequate closet and storage space
2. A half kitchen for the preparation of formula, warming of baby food etc.
3. A diaper washer for the convenience of the workers
4. Diaper-changing tables
5. Diaper bag racks
1. Diaper-changing tables
2. Diaper bag racks
3. Toy boxes
4. Toddler-size restroom
5. Nursery staff dressing room
5. A Dedication Service for a New
To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, thro’ Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God!
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the father, thro’ Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
And great our rejoicing thro’ Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
Praise God, from who all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Lord, as we think back over the years of the services here together with Brother Jack in this pastorate, we are thankful for every hardship that we have been through, for the lessons that we have learned, and for the fact that we have been shown how all things work together for good to them that love God and how great Thou hast been. You have opened doors for us to move ahead in Thy work. Lord, as the song said just a moment ago, may we always remember to give Thee all of the praise and glory for all of it.
We thank Thee, Lord, for these friends who have come
to join us on this happy occasion. We pray that they will go away from here
with a great blessing from having been here. We are thankful for everyone
who had a part in the building and how smoothly the building program has
gone. Lord, now would You open our hearts and guide us forward from this
point on in greater service for Thee. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
My wonderful Lord, my wonderful Lord,
By angels and seraphs in Heaven adored!
I bow at Thy shrine, my Saviour divine,
My wonderful, wonderful Lord.
And a joy this world could not afford
Since I yielded control of my body and soul
To my wonderful, wonderful Lord.
Constant and true is Jesus.
More than I fancied He ever could be
Is Jesus, my wonderful Friend.
The blessings are falling tonight,
There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart
Since Jesus made everything right.
He gave me a robe of pure white.
I’m feasting on manna from Heaven,
And that’s why I’m happy tonight.
Let us have every person tonight who is not a member of First Baptist to honor us by standing. Would you please stand, please. That is right. All over the house, there are many, many of you, and we want you to stand. I think that it is only fair to say that we have a great crowd of visitors tonight. Take one of our visitors’ cards. One half of it is for you for a souvenir. Deposit the other half in the collection plate after awhile, please.
Tonight we do have honored guests. Mrs. John R. Rice is here. Mrs. Rice would you stand, please. It is always a joy to have you, Mrs. Rice. God bless you. We are glad that you could come this week. Fairy Shappard is here. Fairy, would you stand. Fairy has been employed by the Sword of the Lord for thirty-two years. It is always a joy to have Fairy with us.
Leroy Troyer is here. He works with Bob Foltz and has
made a real contribution to this building and the new building. Leroy, will
you and your lovely family stand, please. Here he is with his wife, twin
boys, and another little fellow. Leroy, it is so nice to have you.
MR. EDWARDS: Hurry, Harry.
MR. EDWARDS: Thank you. Well, we made it. First of
all, I wish to extend, on behalf or our contractor, Mr. Reuth, who could not
be here this evening, our sincere thanks to you, your staff, and Bob Foltz
for his complete cooperation. We thank you for the understanding that we
have had from you people throughout the construction period, which has been
approximately a year. It has always amazed me how that during the planning
of a new structure the architect can visualize in his mind what the new
building will look like and then transfer these dreams on paper line by
line, which would make up the construction drawings for the new building. In
the hands of the builder these lines become concrete, brick, glass, and wood
as the structure rises out of the ground. Mr. Foltz, I sincerely hope that
you can recognize this as your dream building as I offer it to you for your
acceptance in offering you the keys in behalf of Leo Reuth and Sons.
Mrs. Edwards is here tonight. Mrs. Edwards, would you
stand, please. We are delighted that you could come. May I just say again to
you and your husband how much we appreciate your contribution. I have a
letter to read while these men are here. I have a letter to read from Mr.
Reuth of the Reuth Construction Company:
We know that all things work together for good for
those that love God. Rising in the place of Adams Chapel is a new building
(of course, I may be accused of being prejudiced) that is not only
beautiful, but one that is utterly functional. We thank the Lord for the
privilege of being able to participate in this program with you. I too have
congratulated Harry on the work that Leo Reuth and Sons, and Harry Edwards
in particular, has done here. Publicly I would like to say that in my
experience the cooperation and the caliber of employees and subcontractors,
etc., that go to make the program have been without equal. We realize that
this building is just a tool, but it is a tool that can be used for good,
measured not only in time but eternity. We trust that you might use this new
tool well. It is a great pleasure to pass these keys to Brother Rausch. Do,
by God’s leading, use this tool well and effectively for Him.
MR. RAUSCH: On behalf of the church congregation, it is with the very deepest of appreciation that I accept these keys to the beautiful building that you have already see. Certainly, in a building of this nature, there has to be good planning, and we had good planning by Mr.. Foltz and his staff. Then there has to be a building made from those plans, and for Mr. Edwards’ following of those plans and for Mr. Reuth, certainly we are deeply appreciative of that which we are able to use and see this day.
As I think of this building, I realize that it is made
of brick, of stone, of wood, and it is constructed in a way that it will
probably last for scores of years. That fades in the thought that in this
building there is a facility where the lives of people will be changed for
all eternity. So we are thankful today and deeply appreciative to accept
this fine building which will be used solely for the glory of Christ. We
praise Him for this opportunity and this occasion, for surely the blessings
of God have been on this congregation, this ministry, Brother Jack Hyles,
and his good staff. Certainly we would have Christ have all of the glory and
all of the honor. We praise Him for it.
Brother Fisk, would you come, please, and we are going
to award this check of $300.00 as a token of our appreciation. I appreciate
so much what he has done. God has given us here the greatest staff in
America and only God knows how much credit these deserve. When everyone
around the country says, “Dr. Hyles is doing a great work in Hammond,” I
say, No, no. God is doing a great work in Hammond and is using people like
Fisk and others to get the job done. This is to you form grateful people. If
you can compose yourself, we want you to lead our dedication prayer.
Three years ago this month we stood across the street as a congregation. From the wee hours of the morning until noontime of the next day, most of us stood across the street. Many watched a lifetime of memories go up in smoke. People wept openly and unashamedly, for the building was more than a building. In 1913 God gave to our church the building that we had known then as the Adams Chapel. The auditorium was used as a place to preach the Gospel for a half a century. Many of you were born with your family attending this building. How many of you were born with your family attending this building. How many of you were born and reared in this church and grew up in the other auditorium? Would you raise your hands, please. Oh, many of you were, and you stood across the street, and mingled our tears. We thought that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I confess it wasn’t easy to see. I stood alone on the street corner over at the Firestone Store weeping. Brother Jim Lyons came over and put his arms around me. I did not know he was there.
He said, “Preacher, we have seen an awful lot together.”
And I said, “That is true, Jim.”
We stood and watched the dome, which was a landmark in the city of Hammond, when it fell and crushed to pieces. The Associated Press got the story and all across the world it went. Television stations, radio stations, and newspapers told of the fire at the First Baptist Church of Hammond. We said to ourselves with tears in our eyes that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” It was hard to see.
We still have lingering in our minds the memories of walking through the halls of our lovely new building, and tonight we not only believe Romans 8:28, but we can see how it is true. As a church to night we can say with the Apostle Paul, “And we know....” That word “know” in the original language is an interesting word. It means that we know something that no one else knows. We have a little private, secret order of people who love God and who live in His will. There is something we know. What is that something? “...that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
My heart fills with gratitude tonight as I look at our people, realizing that many of you have sacrificed. Numbers of you had planned to buy a car this year. You have not bought the car. Many of you have foregone vacations this summer because of your sacrificial gift. This is not Hyles’ building. This is not the deacons’ building; it is our building-yours and mine. We thank God for it, for His blessings, and yes, even for the fire. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
MUSIC DIRECTOR: We have a special song by Mrs. Jack
Hyles, Mrs. Vic Nischik, and Mrs. Johnny Colsten. This trio of ladies shall
sin a song of testimony called, “Now I Am Saved.”
Banished from God, knowing not of His grace,
Seeking by merit to gain my salvation,
Ever despairing of winning the race.
Saved from my sins and my pathway made right;
No more in darkness and fears shall I wander;
Jesus has scattered my gloom and my night.
When by His grace He revealed it to me,
Showing me Christ, who had purchased my pardon
When for my sins He was judged on the tree.
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long;
Praise Him! Praise Him! ever in joyful song!
Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Saviour, reigneth forever and ever;
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! Over the world victorious,
Power and glory unto the Lord belong:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness;
Praise Him! Praise Him! ever in joyful song!
Here is an interesting thing. A man came to em who had
met me one time. I sat across from him at a banquet in Indianapolis. I would
not have known him if I had seen him. He came to me this afternoon. He said
that he wanted this church to have this envelope. In the envelope is a check
for $500.00. That man does not even belong to our church. He is just a
friend. He just loves the First Baptist Church of Hammond. I thought you
would be glad to hear that. Mr. Sinning is his name. you will want to make
your offering tonight as the final building fund offering. Brother Johnny
Colsten is on our staff. Johnny, would you come, please, and lead us in our
(The Dedication Message was then preached by Dr. John R. Rice.)
6. The Deacon Board
Not long ago a very fine family moved from our church and our city to another area and another state. The man was a medical doctor, and he and his wife had a lovely little daughter. The daughter loved our church dearly (for the matter, so did the mother and father), and she missed us so much. She was particularly impressed by the fact that the pastor preached behind the pulpit and the deacons sat around on the front-many on the front rows and others near the front. When she attended the church in the other city, she came home the first morning and said, “Mommy and Daddy, I didn’t like that church at all.”
“Why didn’t you like that church?” asked her mother and father.
“Well,” she said, “at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Brother Hyles stands behind the pulpit and all the ‘demons’ sit on the front.”
She was talking about deacons, of course, and she was disappointed because the “demons” (deacons) did not sit on the front at the new church they were attending.
Now in many cases I am afraid “demons” would be a more appropriate term than deacons for the leaders of many of our churches. These men of God who hold this Bible office can be deacons or demons, depending upon whether or not they take the Word of God as their authority and their plan. I hope in the next few pages to show you the Bible plan for deacons in a New Testament church. If we do not follow the Bible plan, deacons may become demons and may do more harm than good.
How I thank God for those men through the years whom God has given me to hold up my hands in prayer and to work with me in the work of the church and Lord Jesus Christ.
When Moses’ arms were heavy in days of old, God gave to him Aaron and Hur to hold his hands high. Aaron got on one side; Hur, on the other. Each lifted one of Moses’ arms high. When his arms were lifted, the battle was won. When his arms were lowered, the battle was lost (Exod. 17:12). God has, in His wisdom, given to pastors today in the New Testament church men of God called deacons who lift the hands of the pastor, work with him, and serve God with him in loyal, sacrificial service to the church and to the Saviour.
It is said of Saul, the first king of Israel, shortly after he was anointed, “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (I Sam. 10:26). How much easier it is for a pastor to serve the Lord Jesus Christ when it can be said of him that there went with him a band of men-deacons, if you please-whose hearts God had touched. Even our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, chose twelve men to work with Him, or stand beside Him, walk with Him, and learn from Him in His work of redemption.
How I thank God for the men whom God has given me in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana; in the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas; in the Southside Baptist Church of Henderson, Texas; in the Grange Hall Baptist Church near Bogata, Texas, a little country church where I served my first pastorate, I had a godly deacon.
In this chapter I hope to help deacons and pastors
properly fulfill God’s plan and purpose for church organization and help
them realize the qualifications, duties, responsibilities, etc., of this
great Bible office.
We turn our attention first to this subject: How are
the deacons elected? In the First Baptist Church of Hammond we use the
With heads bowed and eyes closed, the pastor says, “Is any person here ready to veto this particular man?”
If a deacon lifts his hand, the man is vetoed and does not run for deacon.
We do not ask the man why he vetoes this prospect. He
simply lifts his hand. At this meeting we do not discuss the merit or
demerit of men of our church. No word of criticism is given. He simply is
accepted or vetoed.
The pastor then gives a card to each of these men who
have been approved by the deacons to run for deacon. The pastor simply asks
each to write his name on a card and “yes” or “no.” If he wants to run, the
answer is “yes.” If he refuses to run, the answer is “no.” Once again, the
pastor does not ask them why they will not run. He does, however, explain to
them that if they do not meet all the qualifications or if they will not
fulfill each responsibility, they should not run for deacon.
Shortly after the church approves these men to run a
ballot is made and an election is held. We keep the polls open between six
o’clock and seven-thirty on a particular Wednesday night. The people come
between six and seven-thirty, receive their ballots and cast their votes at
the polls. If we have twenty offices available, and if twenty-five names are
listed, each person is asked to put a check beside twenty of the twenty-five
names. These represent the men they feel should be deacons for the new year.
Those with the highest number of votes, of course, become deacons in our
After this, the pastor writes a letter of appreciation
and thanks to those who were not elected, thanking them for running for
deacon and assuring them of his love and appreciation to and for them. This
is how we elect deacons at the First Baptist Church of Hammond.
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued,
not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of
the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let
them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their
wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the
deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own
houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to
themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ
There are other qualifications, however, that our church requires. For example, we require that the man be a member of the First Baptist Church for at least one year before he can run for the office of a deacon. We do not accept a man from another church as a deacon just because he was a deacon in the other church. We accept each man on an equal basis according to his qualifications, his devotion and service for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me pause to say this word of warning: We do not choose a man to be a deacon because of his financial standing. That is not even taken into consideration. We do not take into consideration a man’s social standing in the community. He might be the head of the school board, the mayor of the town, the president of the bank, or the richest man in the whole city. That does not give him one bit of preference over the poorest man in the city. We use only Bible and spiritual qualifications. Pastor friend, you will rue the day, and my Christian friend, your church will rue the day that deacons were chosen because of talent, social standing, financial standing, prestige, or educational background. The Bible says nothing of this. We choose them because of spiritual qualifications only!
Let us list some others. A deacon must be a soul winner to fill this office in the First Baptist Church of Hammond. No one can run for the office of deacon unless he actively participates in the soul-winning ministry of this church.
Then, we require a deacon to be separate from the world. No man can be a deacon in our church if he drinks alcohol in any form. No man can be a deacon in our church if he uses tobacco in any form. No man can be a deacon in our church if he dances or if he would transgress against any of the convictions that we have here at the First Baptist Church. We believe that the leaders of the church ought to be above reproach. We believe that the leaders who fill the Bible offices for a church ought to be men who walk straight, whose lives are clean, who are peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, men who walk with God, avoid the appearance of evil, and whose lives are clean. Consequently, we expect and demand separation from the world and from worldly practices by those who fill this Bible office.
There is still another qualification. We expect and demand faithfulness to the public services of our church. No man can run for the office of deacon in the First Baptist Church of Hammond unless he is faithful to the Sunday school, faithful to the Sunday morning service, faithful to the Sunday evening service, and faithful to the Wednesday evening service. The men who fill the office of deacon in the First Baptist Church are required to be faithful! Just because a man has money, prestige, power, influence, or leadership ability does not give him any preference over the others. I know church after church that has such men serving as leaders in the church who do not even attend the midweek service on Wednesday night, and oftentimes not even the Sunday evening service, when the preacher pours his heart out before sinners and before God. What a pity! What a shame! How we need to reexamine ourselves concerning the qualifications of our deacons.
Another qualification is the trait of loyalty. We demand and expect that our deacons be loyal-loyal to the church, loyal to the pastor, loyal to the program of the church, and loyal to what God is doing through the church and through the pastor. Don’t you see? The deacons were originally chosen by God (if the men chosen in the sixth chapter of Acts were, for a fact, deacons-and I think they were) to help the pastor, to lift up his hands, to help serve him, to be a boost to him, and to be a help to him. When a deacon ceases to be loyal to the church program and the pastor whom God has called, then he ceases to fulfill one of the main purposes for a deacon and the original purpose for the office.
In Acts 6:3 we read, “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”
With these Bible qualifications, I believe that God can make your church and mine a spiritual lighthouse and soul-winning center for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Someone would ask, “Pastor, what happens if you elect a man to be a deacon in your church and find out that he smokes or drinks?” Immediately he is dismissed by the board of deacons. Immediately we call a special meeting of our board and this man is asked to resign. I he does not resign as requested, then, of course, we will excuse him from the board of deacons. This is important.
Let me make this word of warning, however. If enough
pressure, earnestness, and frankness is exerted in the meeting before the
deacons run and before the men are presented to the church, explaining to
these men that if they run for deacon they must meet the qualifications, and
if they do not meet the qualifications after they are elected, they will be
excused from the board, this will avoid some problems and heartaches later
on. Make the front door small and back door will not have to be large
1. The deacons help in the work with the shut-ins of the church.
2. The deacons form an advisory board. The board has no authority whatsoever. A simple, organized church has pastor, deacons, and people-this is the scriptural plan. There are only two offices mentioned in the Bible-pastor and deacon. The deacons have no authority whatsoever. They are simply a board of advisory, a board of recommendation.
These men seek out plans for the future of our church. They prayerfully consider what direction we ought to go. They prayerfully consider the future of our church. They consider the buying of property, the drawing up of the budget, and the planning of the church’s future. They consider the building of buildings, etc. These men find what they feel are the best plans for the First Baptist Church. Then they come before the church body and recommend to the church body what they think should be done. The final authority rests, not with the pastor, not with the deacons, but with the church. Hence, these men can not spend one dime on their own. They cannot make one decision on their own. The decisions are made with the approval, yea, with the vote of the church. We believe that a church in business matters should be a democracy. Our deacons only advise.
I do think that it is only fair to say, however, that in almost every case our church accepts the recommendations of the deacons. I cannot recall a single recommendation that our deacons have made to our church that was not heartily, enthusiastically, and even unanimously accepted by the church. In spite of this fact, the final authority rests with the congregation and not with the deacons. They are simply an advisory board.
3. The deacons are the pastor’s helpers. Let us never
forget this. In the book of Acts, this was the purpose of their existence.
You will notice in Acts, chapter 6, verses 1-3:
4. From the board of deacons is chosen all elected officers of the church. Every committee of our church is composed of men on the board of deacons, and the deacons form every committee of our church. Our church treasurer must be a deacon. Our church clerk must be a deacon. Our head usher must be a deacon. All of our committees must be chosen from the deacons. Now there is a reason for this. This means that when the deacons meet, every committee is present, and every church officer is present. Most pastors, I am afraid, are busier than a one-arm paperhanger running from one committee meeting to another. Why not enlarge the deacon board and why not choose from these men the men who hold offices in the church and form committees in the church, thereby having every committee and every church officer present every time the deacons are called together. Many a pastor would have been saved a Nervous breakdown and ten ulcers if he had followed this simple procedure.
By the way, I think I should say this: We have no standing committees. We appoint a committee of deacons to do a fob. When that job is done, the committee disbands.
5. There is another duty that our deacons fulfill which we list as number five. The deacons elect five or their own to serve as trustees in the church. We do not have a double board,-the board of deacons. Since, however, we are a corporation under the laws of our state, we must have trustees. These trustees are elected from the deacon board. By virtue of the fact that our chairman is also the president of the corporation, he is a trustee. Four other men are elected from the other deacons to fill the office of trustee. These five trustees have no authority. They have no meetings. They simply fill an honorary position fulfilling the laws required by the State of Indiana. Why have two boards when the board of deacons can care for the needs of the church?
6. Our deacons do the personal work at the altar. On Sunday morning when the invitation is given, the deacons come to the front and as the people come receiving Jesus Christ as Saviour, a deacon takes his Bible, kneels at the altar, opens the Word of God and leads the man or woman to the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the personal work is done by the board of deacons.
7. Our deacons count the money on Sunday afternoon. We divide our men into four different groups. Each group counts the money one Sunday afternoon a month. The money is counted in the afternoon and deposited by the deacons. No one else touches the money. For that matter, when the offering is taken in a public service, the deacons (several of them) must go together and carry the offering to the safe. The money is handled only by deacons.
8. The deacons take care of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The deacons prepare the Lord’s Supper and work kin the men’s dressing rooms preparing the new converts for the ordinance of baptism. The deacons serve the Lord’s Supper. We have men from our deacon board chosen to do these jobs.
9. Our deacons oversee the entire program of the
church. With no authority, only as a board of recommendation or board of
advisory, these men guide the church, stand out in front, sit up in the
tower, and look toward the future, trying to suggest the best way the First
Baptist Church should go.
One-third of the deacon board goes off annually. Each
man is elected for a three-year term. He must run again if he is to succeed
himself, and by the way, he can succeed himself, which means that twenty-two
of our men go off each year. They can run again, others run against them,
and from these men we a have another twenty-two men elected for a three-year
In conclusion, may I simply make this observation. The main relationship of a deacon is to be a pal and an encouragement to his pastor.
Have we demons or deacons? I say deacons. I have not known what it is to pastor demons. How I think God for those men who have labored with em through these years filling the Bible office of deacon, helping the pastor, praying for the pastor, and serving with the pastor.
God bless these good men and increase their tribe.
7. A Dedication Service for New
The type service we have this evening is certainly a biblical one. I read for you, Acts, chapter 6, starting with verse 1:
“And in those days, when the number of the disciples
was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews,
because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the
twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not
reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore,
brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy
Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give
ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
Verse 6, please.
“Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had
prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and
the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great
company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
I think first, however, I should, as pastor, on behalf
of our people, once again express our sincere appreciation for these men who
served for the past year. I do not see how any pastor could have more
faithful, loyal, loving, spiritual deacons than I. How I thank God for the
deacons of our church. It has been this way from the first until now. Our
deacons of our church. It has been this way from the first until now. Our
deacons have stood the test; they have proven their loyalty to the pastor
through thick and thin. Much has been thick and some has been thin. I
appreciate these men personally, and I know that you appreciate their
ministry and their labor of love for the past year.
Deacon Parr will come and introduce to us another of
our new deacons.
We trust that being a deacon will be a blessing not
only to Terry Wright, but that he minute in turn be a blessing to each one
of you. We trust that the church as a whole will support him and help him as
a deacon, realizing that he is a new deacon. We who have been on the board
and servant with these men know that it will be a challenge to Terry, as it
has been to each one of us, and that he will grow in the seniority that many
of them have on the board, helping us when we need it. Brother Terry will be
able to receive help from each one of the older deacons when he needs it,
and we trust that you folks will stand behind him as a new deacon and that
he will grow in the Lord.
Deacon Fields, will you come please, and introduce
another of our new deacons.
Cal Streeter, come, please, and introduce another of our new deacons.
MR. STREETER: Ken Ball, would you come up, please. It is my privilege tonight to introduce to you Ken Ball. I have know Ken for several years now. I have gone soul winning with him and have won souls with him. I believe it was three years ago when he started working on the bus route with Brother Nischik. I remember the first time that Brother Ball came up to me one Sunday in the alley. This was the first impression I had of him. He said, “I won my first soul this week.”
So I know that Ken is a soul winner. I have been with
him in the mission services. We have been to missions together. I have
watched him want to see men saved, cry over men, and plead with men to get
them saved. It is my privilege to introduce him to you tonight. I know he
will be an asset to the deacon board.
Deacon Graves, would you come, please sir, and
introduce another one of our new deacons.
John Olsen, would you come, please sir, and introduce to us another one of our men.
Mr. Olsen: Will Mr. John Vaprezsan come to the front, please. My first recognition of Johnny Vaprezsan was when my own son began going out with the fellows such as Jim Ruskowski, Terry Smith, Terry Duff, Larry Loser and Johnny Vaprezsan. My first impressionable recognition of Johnny Vaprezsan was when I was here at the church one Saturday evening (I believe it was just before the Christmas vacation) and two fellows had come back from college-Jim Ruskowski and Johnny Vaperzsan. I was here doing some work in the Pioneer Classroom with some of the other folks and they came bursting through the door. I was just amazed! These two had left as boys and came back as mature, poised, young men. Johnny was chosen as a deacon candidate because he expressed maturity, poise, intelligence, a love of the Lord, and a support of this church and its program. it gives me great pleasure tonight to present to you Mr. John Vaprezsan.
PASTOR: Thank you, Mr. Nischik, would you come,
please, and introduce still another of our new deacons.
Brother Charles Hand will come and introduce the last
of the nine men presented to you this evening.
MR. SHARP: Thank you.
The laying on of hands is a Bible custom. At least seven times the laying on of hands is mentioned in the Word of God. Many of these times it has to do with the laying on of hands for the ordination of preachers. However, on at least one of these occasions it deals with laying hands on the deacons. It is something to be a deacon. This is because it is one of the two Bible offices.
For many years now I have filled the office of pastor, which is the other of the two church offices found in the Word of God. I have never gotten used to it. I have never gotten accustomed to it-being a pastor, filling an office that Jesus Christ started Himself.
Now we come to the second office of the church. You are about to fill a Bible office. What an honor! It is an added honor, however, to become a deacon in the First Baptist Church of Hammond. Those of us who are members here think of this church as probably the greatest church in all the world, and you have become a deacon here. Tonight we set you aside to this office.
You folks in this church may be interested to know that to become a deacon in the First Baptist Church you must have the unanimous approval of the deacon board. That means a man ordained here is proved by each of these men that you see on the platform and every other deacon in our church. Not only is that true, but these men are screened carefully. We, of course, chose them realizing their wives are godly ladies. After awhile we will say a word about the deacons’ wives.
Along with the honor of being a deacon comes a tremendous responsibility. Men, you were not chosen because of your financial position. You were not chosen because of your educational background. you were not chosen because of your social standing. You were chosen because we believe that you are godly men who fulfill the biblical requirements for being a deacon.
Now in our deacons’ meetings we laugh a great deal, as you know already. We have a big time. We discuss the King’s business oftentimes with a little bit of frivolity, but behind all of it there is that sobriety and seriousness of the work of God. I knew one time of a family who had a child that could not live. Those people had the most fun. They laughed a lot. They told funny stories. They enjoyed life. Yet, behind all of that there was a seriousness because of a baby that could not live. Behind all of the fun and even frivolity that we have in our deacons’ meetings there is the burden for the church. Many victories have been won that would not have been won had it not been for these men on the platform. The truth of the matter is, I would not be pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond tonight were it not for these men on the platform.
So you join a godly group of men. I mean this when I say it. YOU are highly honored tonight. One reason it is an honor is that godly men are about to lay hands on you. In Deuteronomy 34:9 we find the first mention of laying on of hands in the Bible. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.” When Joshua took the place of Moses, Moses laid his hands upon Joshua. You think that is something wonderful. It is not any more wonderful than that which we do tonight. Moses was a man like we are. Joshua was a man like I am. Just as one man laid his hands upon another thousands of years ago, we follow the same procedure tonight. When Moses laid his hands on Joshua, Joshua received wisdom. Who needs wisdom more than a deacon? The business matters that have to be discussed, the decisions we will have the church we will have to steer, the properties of the church we will have to lead, are some of the many things we on the deacon board must do. We do not have human talent nor wisdom enough to do these matters, so we ask the Lord for wisdom.
Another mention we find in the Bible concerning the laying on of hands is found in Acts 19:6. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them....” Now the Bible says in Acts, Chapter 6, that a deacon is to be full of the Holy Ghost. So tonight as we lay our hands on you, may you, as did Joshua, receive wisdom and may you, as did the disciples of Ephesus, receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The third time we find the laying on of hands mentioned in the Bible is in Acts 8:17. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Then in Acts 6:6 we find that they chose seven deacons in the early church. This office was created as a pastor’s helper. Did you know the word “deacon” in the original language comes from the same root word as the word “servant”? The root word means “to crawl in the dust.” It means that the deacon is a servant. He is one who humbles himself to serve the people and help the pastor. So it was in the early church.
One day the church in Jerusalem gathered together just as the church in Hammond is doing tonight. They called the names of the men. (We are reading between the line.) “Philip, would you stand up. please.” Peter said, “I am glad to introduce to you Philip. I have known him all of his life.” Then John said, “I am glad to introduce to you Stephen, one of the finest men that ever lived.” They had a church like we do. They had problems and weaknesses and burdens just like we do. They were just common people. We are prone to deify people and experiences in the Bible. No, some preachers just got together and set aside some godly men. That is what we are doing tonight.
The fifth time that we find the laying on of hands mentioned in the Bible is in Acts 13:3. “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Paul and Barbados were being sent out from the church to the mission field. The church gathered around them and laid their hands on them.
The sixth reference is I Timothy 4:14. The Apostle Paul said to Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in Thee, which was given Thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands....” It is a very serious matter. George Whitefield said one time that he was filled with the Spirit when Bishop Benson laid hands on him in the ordination. This is Bible ground, brethren. this is a Bible practice. You are about to enter into a Bible position and about to follow Bible procedures. So do enter into a Bible position and about to follow Bible procedures. So do not leave the altar tonight without receiving something. Whitefield received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Barnabas and Saul received a commission from the church. Joshua received wisdom from Moses. I trust when our hands are laid on you tonight that God will give you that which you will need to fulfill this task.
The seventh and last time we find that laying on of
hands is in II Timothy 1:6.
Timothy said, “Yes.”
Paul said, “Do not ever forget it.”
Do not think of this ceremony tonight as some sort of ritual. It is more than that. Do not think that. Do not think of it as some kind of official decoration of becoming a deacon. It is more than that. It is godly men praying for you. It is God the Holy Spirit giving you wisdom and power for the job that is before you.
I have been pasturing for almost a quarter of a century. I have had scores of men on my deacon boards. I do not know what I would have done without them. I owe my life, my ministry, and much of my success (what little I have had) to godly deacons.
Now, brethren, the reason that deacons were chosen in the sixth chapter of Acts was that the preacher needed some help. I need some help, and that is why you have been chosen.
I trust that God will help us to be buddies, pals, co-laborers and co-workers. I hope that we will be able to say that we love each other as much in a few years as these fellows and I can say tonight about our relationship.
Bob, you painted the inside of my house. We live in a house which you painted.
Terry, you were reared in this church. What a privilege to serve here as a deacon.
John, were you reared here too? All of your life just about, I guess. You are one of our products.
Terry, you are one of the products too. If Brother Nischik ever has a boy, he wants him to be like you.
Dave, you and I have some memories we share that are quite sacred and precious.
Dick, you were here when I came. you were one of the first people I met when I came.
Of course, Ken, I recall the day that you were saved as I prayed with you.
The same is true with Dave Sharp. It was my joy to lead you to Christ, Dave.
Then, of course, Tom, if I had time, I would tell alot
of things about you. I remember the night that you first came into the
church with the tremendous smile and winsome personality God has given you.
You were just a visitor. You encouraged my own heart when you sat on the
back row, near the center, in the other building. I count it a real joy to
welcome you to our deacon board and to the group of pastor’s helpers here at
First Baptist Church.
(The pastors and deacons lay hands on those being
(Brother Rausch gives each one individually his
I say, fellows, to you particularly tonight, that we
have the greatest pastor that any church has ever been blessed with. We have
a great congregation, and you represent this congregation. We trust that
your faithfulness in the Lord’s work will produce even greater things at
First Baptist Church. It is our privilege, men, to serve the living Christ,
to uphold His name, and to uphold our pastor as he upholds Him here in the
pulpit, and the fine staff that we have. Truly, we are privileged men to be
on the board of deacons of this church. We praise God for you all.
Brother Stooksbury, would you come, please, and as you leave the front row you will take your place here. We welcome you to our deacon board and welcome you to join our group tonight.
Terry Wright, will you come, please. Terry, on behalf of our church and our deacon board, we welcome you to serve with us. Will you take your place with us here on the front row.
Terry Duff, We had suggested tonight that Terry’s dad introduce him, but I am afraid that he would have broken down and we would never have finished the service. Terry, we welcome you to our deacon board and pray God’s blessings on you as you join us here on the front.
Dave Hammers. Dave, on behalf of our church, we welcome you to our deacon board as you join us here on the front row.
Dick Barr, we welcome you to our group. On behalf of our deacon board and our church we welcome you, Dick, as you join us here on the front.
Then, Ken Ball. Ken, we do welcome you to our deacon board. Officially as pastor, deacons, and church, we wish God’s blessings upon you as you join us here.
Dave Sharp. Dave, it is a real joy for me to welcome you, on behalf of our church and our board of deacons, to our board. God bless you as you have your seat.
Tom Bennett, last but not least. Tom, welcome and God bless you as we serve together. Would you have a seat with us, please.
Let us give both the deacons who have served previously and these new deacons a hearty round of applause, shall we? (Applause)
Now to close this ordination service I think it is
fitting that one of our own from our board of deacons, Brother Ed Wolber,
will sing for us, “I Wonder, Have I Done My Best for Jesus?” This is our
desire. This is our goal. This is our promise, dedicated to the deacons who
have done their best and to these who shall do their best. Each of us vows
to God to do his best for Christ in the coming year.
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice of Calvary,
I know my Lord expects the best from me.
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?
I’ll climb to mountain heights above.
The world is crying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.
Ladies, it has been our custom at every deacon ordination service for the wife to kiss her husband. Be sure you know on which side of you he is standing! Be sure you kiss the one that you have a license to kiss! At this time, you will greet your husband with a holy kiss of congratulations. Don’t take this too far now! (laughter)
After we have the dismissal, come by and shake their hands. Congratulate them and tell them and tell them how happy we are to have them. I know that you will want to do so. It will be a time of joy for them and for you.
Our Heavenly Father, we come to the close of this
important service-important because many churches languish in failure and
mediocrity because of poor decisions in choosing deacons. We thank Thee
Truly they have been the pastor’s helpers, the servants of the people, and
winners of souls for Jesus Christ. We dedicate them to Thee and thank Thee
for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
8. The Church Records
1. He receives a visitor’s card in the public
services. This card is divided into two sections. One section is a souvenir
for him. The other section is to be filled out and deposited in the
4. The visitor is reached for Christ, if at all
possible, before the next Sunday. Let us suppose that the pastor or a soul
winner wins this one to Christ and the next Sunday he comes forward in the
public services. After the person is received at the altar, a secretary or
clerk fills out the following decision card:
5. On Monday, the following decision letter is sent to
6. The card below is enclosed in the decision letter.
Following this, some slides are shown portraying the life of the church. Slides concerning the building , the youth program, the musical program, the financial program and various phases of the church program are shown. This usually takes about fifteen minutes.
Following the showing of the slides, the new member
receives several things. He receives a packet of envelopes as shown below:
Each new member is requested to fill out the form
below. This will enable us to locate potential workers for the church
15. A three-week new members’ course is then conducted for the convert. One Sunday night he is taught soul winning. Another Sunday night he is taught the doctrines of the church and how to grow in grace. Another Sunday night he is taken on a tour of the church properties. He is encouraged to have family devotions, to say grace at the table. He is told about the need for a daily devotional time.
Many other things are done for the new member; but as you can see, we have taken the convert from his first visit to the church through his conversion, his joining the church and his being integrated into the life of the church.
16. We use our own forms in granting and receiving of
letters of transfer. When a person unites with the First Baptist Church by
transfer from a church of like faith, we send to that church the following
request for a letter.
9. An Ordination Service for
Tonight we shall ordain three of our own. Two of them
are pastors and one is on our staff, directing the work of our rescue
mission. I am going to ask Brother Fisk, our assistant pastor, to come and
introduce these three candidates to you.
Presentation of Candidates
For the past year and a half I have had the privilege
of working hand-in-hand with Brother Johnny Colsten. he has been a blessing
to me personally. We have cried together and have rejoiced together. I know
that Johnny has a real concern for souls. I know that, needless to say, God
knew what He was doing when He called this man to preach the Gospel. We
heard so much about Johnny Colsten before he ever came to this Church.
Everything we heard was true and more so. I certainly count it a privilege
tonight to be able to introduce to you Johnny Colsten. Brother Johnny, would
you be seated right here.
MR. FISK: All right, I would like to ask Brother Larry
Loser if he would make his way to the platform, please. I was talking with
Brother Larry before the service, and he tells me that he was practically
born and raised in this church. He comes from a godly Christian family. Now
that he is grown into a fine young man God called him to preach. He is
pastoring the Jump Off Baptist Church in Jump Off, Tennessee. That is just
sixty-five miles north of Chattanooga. I have known Larry personally for the
six years that I have spent here at First Baptist Church, and I count his
friendship a blessing. I know Larry also has the desire to win souls. I know
the kind of ministry that he will have and I certainly count it a privilege
tonight to introduce to you folks our Brother Larry Loser. God Bless you,
Brother Colsten’s mother and father are here, I
understand. Where are they? Would you stand, please. All right, we have a
corsage for you too, Mrs. Colsten. We are glad that you are here.
David, do you believe in the doctrines of the Articles
of Faith and practice of the First Baptist Church of Hammond?
MR. COLSTEN: Yes, I do.
Now you man be seated, please.
I am going to ask each one of you to say a word about
your conversion and your call to preach. We will start with David.
On July 23, 1963, I was called to preach the Gospel.
Ever since then I have been preaching every chance I get. I would just like
to say that there is nothing any better, and there is no bigger joy in life
than being in the center of God’s will and doing what He wants you to do.
The call to preach was something that was real to me,
and yet there was a period of time involved in which I felt that I was
called to preach but I just wanted Him to prove it to me. he very graciously
did after a period of time. It just became so bottled up it just had to come
out, and I surrendered my life to preach then not too long ago back in June.
So very sincerely I know that Jesus is my Saviour and that He has called
this unworthy servant to preach.
If there are no questions, if you are in favor, would
you say “Aye.”
After we have the ordination prayer, you may observe
the laying on of hands, wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if God could hear
the unvoiced prayers of the hundreds of people in this auditorium praying
for God’s blessing we will have the laying on of hands and you may observe
Our Heavenly Father, we join, as pastor and people, in prayer for Johnny. We thank Thee for a sweet spirit and his love for Thee. We thank Thee for his diligence, his sincerity. We pray Thy blessings upon him. We pray that the Holy Spirit will give him power for service. We know not where the ministry will tike him. We know not of his future. We pray that wherever it be, whatever it be, You will guide and bless him, his wife, and his children.
Our Heavenly Father, we come to pray for Larry, thanking Thee for his family, his childhood, and teen-age years. many scores of people in his room this evening remember joys, experiences, and blessings of the past. We pray Thy blessings will continue upon him. Bless his ministry. Bless his wife as they labor together, and may their lives always count for Christ. May the laying on of our hands only symbolize the laying on of the Holy Spirit. may he be able to point back to this hour, as Timothy did when Paul reminded him of the gift that was given him at the laying on of hands. In Jesus’ name.
Our Heavenly Father, we come to the laying on of hands
for Dave. We thank You for him, for his spiritual growth, and for the fact
that Thou hast given him maturity above his years already. Thou hast called
him to a church. We pray that Thy hand of blessing will rest upon him as our
hands rest upon his head. We pray that the power of God will be upon him.
Bless his life. Crown his ministry with Thy power. Let many be saved because
of his labors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
So we pray tonight as we give you this certificate,
Brother Johnny, Brother David, and Brother Larry, that you will fulfill the
faith of our people and be diligent to fulfill also the high calling, the
highest calling that can come to man-to preach God’s Word. May God’s
blessing rest upon your ministry, each one.
I have been preaching for many years. I hope that I have learned some things in these years. Some of the things I have learned I hope you can learn faster than I learned them.
1. Three Books You Should Know Well.
The first thing that I would like to suggest is that there are three books in the Bible that you ought to know better than any of the other books if you are going to pastor. There are three books in the Bible that I have found to be the most needful books. All of this service is being taped and you will each receive a tape recording of the service so you need not write them down as you can hear them again and again as you listen to them in the future.
If you know these three books well, you will know more about all the rest of the Bible, and each book will be easier for you to understand. Every preacher should know well the book of Genesis. There is no excuse or substitute. The book of Genesis is certainly a key book. Every preacher should know well the book of Romans. Every preacher should know well the book of Revelation. If you know these books well, liberalism will never darken the doorstep of your ministry. Study carefully the books of Genesis, Romans, and Revelation.
2. Three Books You Should Read Daily.
Then there are three books that I would exhort you to read daily for your own personal edification. I would exhort you to read from the book of Psalms, Proverbs and Acts every day. No preacher can be successful unless he has the warmth and praise of the Psalms, the integrity and character of the Proverbs, and the zeal of the book of Acts. What combination could be more effective in the ministry than the love of David in the Psalms, the wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs, and the zeal of the life and ministry of the apostles in the book of Acts.
3. Three Christian Privileges.
Then there are three Christian privileges that you ought to exercise constantly. The first one is Bible reading, the second is prayer, and the third one is soul winning. It is a tremendous temptation for a preacher to major on any one of these at the exclusion of the other two. I know many pastors who have become Bible students to the exclusions of their prayer life and their soul-winning time. I know many others who have spent hours and hours on their knees in prayer but not in learning the Bible and not in winning souls. I know others who have spent all of their time on the field witnessing to the exclusion of prayer and Bible study. To be a successful preacher or pastor, you must know the book, you must know God, and you must know sinners. These three things are essential in the ministry.
4. Three Things for Which You Must Pray.
There are three things that as a preacher you must pray for more than any other single thing. The first thing you must pray for is the power of God. The second thing you must pray for is love, and the third thing for which you must pray is wisdom. Without the love of God, the power of God is void. Without wisdom to use love and power oftentimes wrong decisions make void what we do for God.
For many years I have had on top of my prayer list the power of God.
Secondly, pray for love-love for lost sinners, love for your people, and love for everybody.
Then pray for wisdom. You will have to know how to advise people. You will have to counsel with people who need advice about their homes. You will need wisdom. You will have to know some things that only years can tell unless you get wisdom from God. People will come to you and ask you questions, and your answers will determine what they will do. You will hold in your counsel and your advice the destiny of homes, of children, and of souls. You will need wisdom. I exhort you to pray for the power of God, for love, and for wisdom.
5. Three Types of Preaching.
In the fifth place, there are three types of preaching that you ought to do. Number one is evangelistic preaching. Number two is the exhorting of the saints. Number three is the teaching of the Word of God.
Evangelistic preaching without Bible study will build Christians but not strong Christians. Bible study without evangelism will build strong Christians without getting new Christians. Always stay after sinners. Never think it is shallow to be a soul-winner preacher or an evangelistic preacher, but never let it be said truthfully that you do not teach the Bible to your people, and that you do not exhort the Christians.
6. Three Temptations You Will Face.
There are three big temptations that face a preacher. May I alert you to them tonight. Never, never forget what I am about to say. The first temptation that you will have as a preacher is laziness. I suspect that of all the sins of the ministry laziness is one of the greatest. There is no place for a lazy person in the ministry. many talented men have failed because they did not work hard.
The second temptation you will find in the ministry is that you will find the temptress over and over again. Your relationship with the opposite sex will be scrutinized very carefully by all who hear you. They will watch how you behave yourself with women.
Yesterday morning I heard of a pastor who had misinterpreted someone’s affection for him as a pastor to be romantic affection and had left the ministry because of an ugly story. Let me say this to you (I say this because I know preachers and I know them well): Never mistake the affection that a member has for a pastor and a man of God to be romantic affections. Men, stay in love with your wives. Let it be known that you are in love with your wife. Let the whole world know that you have the only woman you want. The Devil is after a fundamental preacher. Fundamental preachers are real men. They have to be men to stand the test. Be careful! Gird yourself now for the temptations that are to come.
The third temptation is a strange one but it does happen. Money oftentimes enters into a preacher’s temptations. One reason is that things are given to preachers. People love to give things to their pastor. I think this is well and good but if you do not watch it, you will become expectant of things to be given to you. One of the cheapest things that will ever happen to a preacher is when he expects to be given monetary privileges that others do not have. Never expect discount in a store. Never expect people to give you something, Just serve God and let God take care of all of the provisions. Never talk about how much the salary is going to be. Let others talk about that. You just stay busy for Christ. God will take care of you. He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” So keep your attention on His work, and He will take care of your needs.
7. Three Things You Must Be.
There are three things that you ought to be as a preacher. you ought to be a leader. The ability to be a leader of men comes only from God. You should also be a pastor and an evangelist.
First and foremost, if you will notice your ordination paper, it says “ordained to preach.” We are ordaining you to be preachers! This is the great work. If you fail in conducting funerals, that would be sad but not fatal. If you fail in performing weddings beautifully, that would be sad but not fatal. If you were to fail in your hospital visitation, that would be sad but not fatal. However, if you fail in preaching and do succeed in every other facet, it will be fatal! WE ORDAIN YOU TO PREACH! This means to herald the good tidings and tell the world something good has happened.
With this admonition, as pastor and people we ask God’s blessings upon you and express to you our love and appreciation. Wrapped around this little service are thousands of memories. We wish the power of God upon your lives and the blessings of God upon your ministries. We pray these ‘three’s’ shall be incorporated in your lives.
You may have a seat where you were, if you will, please. May I say to Mrs. and Mr. Loser my word of congratulations. Seldom does God bless a home by calling one of its boys to be a preacher. Even more seldom does God bless a home by calling all of its boys to be preachers. This is unusual. Night before last I had refreshments in a home and the pastor of the church said, “I want you to meet my son, who is my assistant pastor; my other son, who is an assistant pastor in Denver, Colorado; my brother, who is a pastor; and his two sons, who are also pastors.” My, what a time we had. Each home had two preacher boys; you have three. Two of them are already pastors. may we commend you for it and wish God’s blessings upon your boys. We know that each of you has a lion’s share of the credit in making these boys what they are.
To Johnny’s mother and father, we pray God bless you dear ones. Young men like Johnny Colsten do not come accidentally. They come from a lot of toil, prayer, training, and teaching.
Of course, Elaine, our congratulations, our love, affections, and God’s blessings to you.
Mrs. Larry Loser-Pat-we share a lot of memories together. We do wish God’s blessings upon you and Larry.
Barbara, you are not Mrs. Loser yet but if I had kept my big nose out of it you would have been! (Laughter) Dave and Barbara came to me last summer and said, “Brother Hyles, we would like to get married this summer but we will do what you say because we would like to have your advice. What you and Dad and Mom and Brother Hyles agreed that waiting another year would be better. Do we have a flower for Barbara? Yes, Barbara, if you do not go through with the marriage plans, you will have to return the flower. (laughter)
The Bible says that a preacher should be the husband of one wife. Dave does not qualify, but I have talked with the Lord and received a special dispensation. If we can have the assurance that he will have a wife soon, we can proceed.
Thank you, God bless each of you. We trust that God
will bless the lives and ministries of these young men. After the service we
are going to ask you to come by and shake hands with them.
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