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Index of Sermons and Books by Dr. Jack Hyles

The Hyles Church Manual
(Part One - chapters 1-9) Church Business

Go to Part Two

by Dr. Jack Hyles


With pleasure and profit, I have read the manuscript, Hyles’ Church Manual. I wish that this book had been published years ago so that many pastors and churches could have been blessed by its wise contents. This book, wisely divided into three sections: Church Business, Church Programs, and Pastor’s Section, will be of invaluable help to all pastors who read it and to all churches that follow the detailed plans it sets forth.

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.

Robert G. Lee
January 15, 1968


Dr. Hyles, could I come to Hammond and spend a week at your church just observing the work of the church, going soul winning with some of your folks, observing the bus ministry firsthand, and seeing how the work is done?”

These words were spoken by a pastor, and he did come to see the work. It wasn’t long until another came, and another, and another--until our staff was spending much of its time training pastors, one at a time.

After talking with members of the staff, I decided to set a week when all of these pastors could come at the same time. One hundred sixty-nine preachers came for that week, and the First Baptist Church Pastors’ School was born.

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 study.

Through the years requests have come that the material be put in print. Though such an endeavor would be nearly an impossibility, this manual represents at least an outline of much of the material covered at the Annual Pastors’ School, which is conducted each year in the month of March at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.

Jack Hyles
March 29, 1968


1. The Church Business Meeting

In Romans 12:11 we are admonished to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Since God’s business is the biggest business in all the world, His business should be cared for in a businesslike manner. Nothing less than fervency and care should be taken in the business of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

The Time of the Meeting

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.

The Order of Service for a Business Meeting

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 corrected.”

Following the reading the minutes come the recommendations from the board of deacons. The pastor may say, “We now recognize the chairman of our deacons, or the clerk of our deacons, for the recommendations from the board.: The clerk (or chairman) reads the first recommendation and closes it by saying, “Mr. Moderator, (the pastor) I move this recommendation be adopted.” Then the pastor turns to the congregation and says, “Is there a second to the motion?” This should be done immediately as discussion on a motion should not take place until there has been a second. The clerk, or chairman, or pastor then should explain to the congregation, in detail, the action that is being recommended. The pastor, acting as moderator, should say, “Is there any other discussion?” Time should be allowed for discussion but irrelevant discussion should not be encouraged. Then the pastor says, “All in favor of the motion will signify it by saying, ‘Aye.’ All opposed may say, ‘No,’ and it is so ordered.” In certain very important matters the vote may be taken by the raising of the hand or even by standing, or if the occasion warrants, a secret ballot vote is all that is necessary unless we are voting to borrow money, build a building, or to take some other major step.

The deacon clerk then reads the next recommendation and the above procedure is followed on each recommendation until they have all been read.

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.

You will notice that the number of the check, the date the check was written, the budget item from which the check is coming, the person to whom the check is written, the purpose for writing the check, and the amount of the check are all listed. This is very important. Every penny should be accounted for.

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 before them.

Helpful Rules to Follow

1. The pastor should be the moderator of the business meeting. There are a few things that I insist upon as the pastor. These are things that, if not granted, would prevent me from accepting a pastorate. Among these is the right to be the moderator in the church business meetings. This should be discussed before accepting a pastorate and thoroughly understood with the membership, pulpit committee, and the deacon board.

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.


Signed by the pastor.

7. The moderator should ask the church to table differences when the church is almost equally divided. It has been my policy through the years that the church should be nearly unanimous on matters that do not include convictions. In such things as the building program, the borrowing of money, the buying of songbooks, the painting of the building, the remodeling of the building, the buying of new property, etc., there should certainly be a unanimity of spirit among the church members. Suppose, for example, that the vote was 55% for and 45% against, I would call for a motion rescinding the action taken and tabling the matter until the board of deacons could study it thoroughly and bring back another recommendation. Now, if it is a matter of conviction such as liquor or another moral issue, this should not be done. After a split vote is taken on something that does not involve a conviction the pastor could say something like this: “And the motion is carried. Now may I make a suggestion. The peace and harmony of our church is more important than any building or piece of property. Since the vote has been so close I would like to entertain a motion that we rescind the action just taken and place the matter in the hands of the board of deacons for further study in order that they might bring back, perhaps, amore suitable recommendation at our next business meeting.” In every case this has been done and many church problems have been solved.

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

(Wednesday, May 18, 1967-9:00 p.m.)

A brief business meeting is conducted monthly at the conclusion of the Wednesday evening Bible study. This is usually the third Wednesday of each month.

PASTOR HYLES: Tonight we have a business meeting. We have plenty of time so you can get out on time.

We will now have the reading of minutes.

Reading of the 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:

1. That the church approve the same officers as last year for the new church year,

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.

“The meeting adjourned with prayer by Pastor Hyles at 9:20 p.m.”

PASTOR: Thank you. You have heard the reading of the minutes. Are there any corrections or additions? If not, they will stand approved as read.

Voting in of New Members and Granting of Letters of Transfer

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”

Congregation: “Aya”

Pastor: If you oppose, “no” It is carried.

Recommendations From the Deacons

Pastor: We have three recommendations from the deacons tonight.

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.

CHURCH CLERK: The board of deacons recommends that the church approves purchasing folding doors for the second floor of the present educational building assembly room for the additional classroom space. The cost will be $200.00 and the money will come from the surplus fund. Brother Pastor, I move that this recommendation be approved.

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: Opposed, “no.” It is carried.

CHURCH CLERK: The board of deacons recommends that the church grant a license to preach to Walter Ruskowski. Pastor, I move that this recommendation also be approved.

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.”


PASTOR: If you oppose (and of course, you do not), you may say “No” and it is so ordered.

CHURCH CLERK: The board of deacons recommends that the church spends $80.00 from the surplus fund to have this tile in the foyer of the new auditorium repaired. Brother Pastor, I move that this recommendation be approved.

PASTOR: Is there a second to the motion? (Mr. Streeter raised his hand.)

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.”

CONGREGATION: Aye (laughter)

PASTOR: The opposed, “No” and it is carried.

As you go out tonight, you will find the monthly financial statements. You may get one as you leave. It has listed each check that is written and the purpose for its writing. If you have any questions, feel free to call the church office and we will do our best to answer. Every penny that this church spends is accounted for to the membership of the church. you may get your report as you go out tonight. Do we have a motion to adjourn? (Mr. Dunsworth and Mr. Lail raised their hands.)

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.

3. The Church Budget

One of the more distasteful and yet more important phases of a church life is its financial life. In order to have the proper kind of financial arrangement it is wise to have a church budget. There are many ways to set up and adopt such a budget. By no means do we present the only way, but following is a system which has been proved successful in hundreds of churches.

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:

5. Outline the budget under main headings. For a church just starting a budget an examination of the expenditures for the past year would reveal that practically every expenditure could fall under one of a few headings. Our main budget divisions are as follows:

1. Administrative expense

2. Building and grounds

3. General office expense

4. Mission budget

5. Building

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 needs:

(1.) A ledger book is prepared with a page for each budget item.

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:

The annual allocation is simply divided by the number of Sundays in the year (usually 52) and 1/52nd of the annual budget is credited to the item each Monday.

10. When an item is ordered the price is secured and subtracted from the balance of its budget item. This is not done at payment. This leaves too much guesswork. It is done upon order. This means that the balance, when brought forward, will be the balance of money in the particular budget item after payment of everything that has been ordered. Hence, the balance on each page is an accurate one and will be even after outstanding bills are paid.

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:

The above chart shows that we only have 94.62 in this particular budget item. Hence, we cannot order office supplies costing more than 94.62. Since EVERY ITEM MUST BE KEPT IN THE BLACK AND IF THIS ITEM IS KEPT IN THE BLACK, THEN THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT BUT THAT THE CHURCH IS STAYING WITHIN HER BUDGET.

12. Only one person should do the ordering. To make the above plan work, ordering should be in the hands of one person. If this is not possible, at least no one should be allowed to order without this person’s permission. The financial secretary or church treasurer, as the case may be, finds it his job to see to it that nothing is ordered under any particular budget item that would throw that item in the red. Consequently, each person, before ordering, must contact the financial secretary or treasurer who in turn goes to the ledger book and checks the balance on the appropriate page in order to approve or reject the order. Again, let us reemphasize the fact that the entry is made in the book upon order and not upon payment and that the balance determines the amount that can be ordered.

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:

You will notice that we have a balance of $19.62. This will remain the balance until another order is made, or until next Monday when the weekly allocation is credited to this budget item.

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:

16. It is a good practice to have the checks signed by more than one person. Perhaps the treasurer could sign and someone else could cosign. This other person could be the church secretary, another deacon, and in some cases the pastor. (I personally do not think it wise for the pastor to sign the checks.)

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.

You will notice that there is no place for the name of the giver. You will also notice there is a number. This number becomes the financial number of the couple or of the child. A ledger card is made in the church office and on that card is placed this same number. The amount of the offering on the envelope is transferred to the ledger card for the permanent record of the family or of the child.

This enables us to keep an accurate record of the contributions of each person and family. Each six months we transfer the information on the ledger card to a statement and mail to each family its giving record for the six months’ period. This gives the family official records for income tax purposes.

In summary, Mr. and Mrs. Doe take the envelope for the proper Sunday, place $10.00 in the envelope, write in the amount given on the outside of the envelope, and drop it in the collection plate. The deacons count the money on Sunday afternoon, taking the $10.00 from the Doe family’s envelope and leaving the envelope for the financial secretary. The financial secretary takes the empty envelope for the financial secretary. The financial secretary takes the empty envelope, finds that the amount given was $10.00, turns to the ledger card of Mr.. and Mrs. Doe, and credits them with a $10.00 gift. At the end of six months the financial secretary then sends to Mr. and Mrs. Doe their record of giving for this period.

19. The treasurer’s monthly report keeps the church family informed. At each monthly business meeting a check-by-check report is presented to the church family. This keeps them informed as to every expenditure made. They are informed as to the total expenditures for the month, total receipts for the month, and present balance in the church account. Then an itemized check-by-check list is also given. A portion of such a report is below:

Special Offerings

1. It is a good idea to take an offering each Wednesday evening. This enables those who do not attend the Sunday services to give their tithes and offerings. It also could be used to finance special projects. Many churches finance radio ministries through the Wednesday evening offerings. For a number of years we financed our bus ministry through the Wednesday evening offerings.

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:

You will note that there is always a place for an envelope number. This is the same number that is mentioned earlier in this chapter as is found on the ledger file and the regular envelope packet. This enables the financial secretary to credit every gift of every person.

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

The early church had no church buildings as we have today, yet it grew to tremendous proportions. It is true that church buildings are not necessary for growth, but certainly they are an aid to growth and progress in a New Testament church. We shall attempt to present in this chapter a simple and direct program for building. Since the problems of each church are unique, different adaptations of this plan will often be necessary, and in many cases, no doubt, a different plan entirely would be more suitable. Through he years I have found the following suggestions helpful in the building programs of my churches:

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 effective:

15. When the plans are completed, the contract should be let. We have found it wise to use local builders. We have also found it wise to let only reputable builders make bids.

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:

The fan-shaped auditorium shown above is for many the best auditorium for speaking. This enables the speaker to be close to each person. It makes for good eye contact as well as acoustics.

Using the type of balcony shown above, the seating capacity can be nearly doubled and with proper engineering, posts can be completely eliminated on the lower floor.

Many churches have used the above departmental plan. Notice the big assembly room and the small classrooms. The assembly room can also be used for classroom space by the use of modern folding doors. Though this is a good plan, one disadvantage is the amount of space used for hallway.

Above is a splendid departmental plan. Notice that the classrooms are located around the assembly room. The entrances to the classrooms may be modern folding doors or heavy cloth. Many churches have used velour or velvet for this. These heavier materials keep out the sound very well. The advantage of this arrangement is that the assembly space is not limited to the big room but the classroom space can be used for assembly space when the folding doors or drapes are open. suppose 200 children could be cared for in the classrooms. An assembly room seating 100 would be sufficient and the other 100 could sit in the classrooms during the opening assembly. This is a tremendous space saver.

The above plan is similar to the previous one. The idea is the same. The classrooms can be used during the assembly time and much space is saved.

Here is a suggested arrangement for the Beginner Department. The previous sketches are only suggested for primary age and up. It seems to be a wise thing for the beginner and nursery children, ages 2 through 5, to be in open rooms. Notice the tables. Each class sits with its teacher at a table. At the tables the records may be taken, the handwork may be done, etc. Then the lesson is taught by a different teacher each week who teaches all of the children. The teacher stands at the edge of a rug shown above and known as the “story rug.” The children gather around, sit on the story rug, and listen to the teaching of the lesson. Back to the tables they go for other handwork, etc. We have found it wise to use individual classes for the first grade and up and open rooms for preschoolers.

The above is a suggested nursery plan. You will notice several things:

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

This is a suggested toddler nursery plan. You will notice several things:

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 Building

(Sunday, June 18, 1967-7:30 p.m.)

Below is the dedication service for a new Sunday school building. At the closing of this service of this service there were twenty conversions and additions, making a total of 122 for the day. Thirty-three were baptized.


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.

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,

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.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Thank you, choir. Shall we all stand, please. Turn to number 204 in your hymnals, please, 204, and all sing together this wonderful song, “To God Be the Glory.” the second stanza. Everyone singing 204, the second stanza.


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.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,

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.

Great things He hath taught us, 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.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Remain standing, please.

PASTOR: Thank you, Brother Terry. We normally do not sing the “Doxology” at First Baptist as a ritual but we sing it when we feel like singing it, and I feel like singing it right now. It has been a wonderful a, hasn’t it? We have had tremendous blessing. We had 102 people saved or added to our church this morning. Isn’t that something? This building was filled and thirteen to fifteen hundred people were having their own services outside this auditorium in other rooms. Tonight the building is packed and jammed. We are delighted that you are here. We appreciate your coming. It has been a wonderful day. Thank the Lord. So let us sing the “Doxology” not through ritual but from our hearts. Brother Terry, lead us in singing, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”


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!

PASTOR: Many people have made it possible for this day to be a reality. Among them few would have a higher place than Deacon Mel Graves. Mel Graves has been blessed of God with many gifts. He does a little bit of everything. His job is working for the Lyon-Healy Piano Company. Mel has worked in the business field and has done so many things. When our fire took place three years ago, he was the man who guided us in the securing of the insurance settlement. No one knows how many hours Mel worked at this. I thought it would be fitting for him to come lead us in the opening prayer for our Dedication Service. God bless him for all of the hours that he spent in helping the church in this matter.

MR. GRAVES: Our Heavenly Father, we are thankful for the privilege we have of being here this evening for this great occasion. We thank You for Jesus who made it possible. We thank Him for saving our souls. We thank Him for salvation and for the many people here in the great family of First Baptist.

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.

I have found a deep peace that I never had known

And a joy this world could not afford

Since I yielded control of my body and soul

To my wonderful, wonderful Lord.

Oh, what a wonderful Saviour is He!

Constant and true is Jesus.

More than I fancied He ever could be

Is Jesus, my wonderful Friend.

PASTOR: Thank you, choir, that is wonderful! We want to recognize the special guests in a few moments, but now we will have a few announcements. Someone has written in this request: “Dear Brother Rice, will you sing, ‘The Windows of Heaven Are Open?’ This is a request.” Here is a note that was placed on my desk: “Dear Dr. Rice, would you sing, ‘The Windows of Heaven Are Open’?” So just forget your program for a minute, and by popular vote Dr. Rice is going to sing.

DR. RICE: Brother Terry, you come and sing it with me. I will sing the harmony.


The windows of heaven are open,

The blessings are falling tonight,

There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart

Since Jesus made everything right.

I gave Him my old tattered garments.

He gave me a robe of pure white.

I’m feasting on manna from Heaven,

And that’s why I’m happy tonight.

PASTOR: Oh, that is good. Thank you, thank you. I am glad that somebody thought of that. Now we would like to just say a word of greeting to our visiting friends and express to you our sincere appreciation because you are here. It has been a real joy for me to walk through the building this afternoon and meet people whom I have not seen for a long time and to see others who refreshed my own heart by their presence.

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.

Presentation of the Building

Now we come to the dedication part of this service, and we start off with the presentation of the building. Mr. Harry Edwards (the building superintendent), would you come, please, and present the building. Bless his heart. We have had the finest, most congenial people working on this job that I have ever worked with in my life. One of the most congenial is Harry Edwards. He has done a tremendous job. He has heard me say only one word. He doesn’t think that I have but a one-word vocabulary. That is “Hurry!”

MR. EDWARDS: Hurry, Harry.

PASTOR: Hurry, Harry. That is right.

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.

PASTOR: Mr. Foltz, will you come, please. Actually, I told the fellows a while ago that Mr. Edwards presents the keys to Mr. Foltz, Mr. Foltz presents them to Mr. Rausch, Mr. Rausch gives them to em, and then we are going to give them back to Mr. Edwards so that he can finish the building. (Laughter from the congregation)

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:

Dear Dr. Hyles:

I am very sorry that I cannot be with you on this happy occasion of the completion of another milestone in your growth. I had promised to take my wife and children on a vacation which is the first in fourteen years. Our reservations for Expo ‘67 came last week after a month’s wait, and I could not change the date. Congratulations on the dedication of this new building. I am sure that it will be more than a new building. It will be a place of learning, where people of all ages can learn of Christ. To know Christ is to love Him. If truly we become Christians with love and charity for all, we will not only improve the world but insure our own eternal salvation. May God Almighty bless your efforts. Smile! God loves you.

Harold Reuth

This is from the Reuth Construction Company. We do appreciate so much your coming. Harry, God Bless you. We do appreciate you.

Presentation of Keys

Mr. Bob Foltz is our architect. Bob is an artist. He is the one who conceived in his mind this lovely auditorium. Preachers from all over the world have commented on the loveliness of this building, and, in fact, it is probably one of the most copied building in America today. Numbers of churches are being built much like this one. Then the Lord seemed to lead us to Bob Foltz again for the new Sunday school building. The many, many little niceties on which you commented today are attributed to Bob Foltz and his ideas. We are glad that he could be here. Bob, is your family with you?

MR. FOLTZ: I have been winking at them right up there in the balcony.

PASTOR: All right, will you stand, please, Mrs. Foltz and the Foltz children. We are so glad that you could come tonight. We appreciate it so much. Bob Foltz is a born-again Christian man. He works with churches and has a love for the Lord. We are glad that he could come. Bob Foltz will present the keys.

MR. FOLTZ: Thank you. Destroying Adams Chapel by arson was a dastardly act. Many people of many places have agonized with you of First Baptist over the loss of that old structure. I have personally shown many times the pictures I rook on that Friday morning, and without exception, there are always oh’s and ah’s and groans as they see the flames still burning on the remains over there.

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.

PASTOR: Thank you, Bob. Let’s give Mr. Foltz and Mr. Edwards and their companies a big hand, shall we? (applause)

Acceptance by the Church

Now, God’s good man and my good friend-Mr. Ed Rausch. I don’t know what I would do without him. I don’t know what I would have done these eight years without him. Ed Rausch will accept the building and give the words from the board of deacons, our building committee. Let us have all of the deacons to stand before he does this. Will all of the deacons please stand. God bless these men. I don’t know how many meetings we have had in the last five years just for buildings, etc. It has been a wonderful picture of God’s grace and cooperation together. How these men have worked! Thank you, fellows. God bless you. Now Brother Rausch will accept the keys for the church.

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.

PASTOR: Thank you, Ed. God bless you.

Dedication Prayer

What I am bout to do is going to be a little bit emotional for me. There is a lot involved here. Nobody knows the hours that C. W. Fisk has worked. he has been the man from the church’s standpoint that has kept things going. I have asked him to lead our prayer of dedication. Last night at 2:30 he started to leave the building and, as he has been doing for these weeks, he does much of the work himself. He got a broom and went down to the corner to sweep off the sidewalk. Three men came up and hit him in the face (as you can see) and knocked him nearly unconscious. He couldn’t move. They rolled him over, got his billfold, and left him lying on the sidewalk. But for the grace of God he could have been killed. We are so thankful that God spared him. He is a good man. He was saved in this church and called to preach in this church. The work he has done on this building absolutely has been phenomenal.

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.

MR. FISK: Let’s pray. Our Father, Thou hast said in Psalm 127:1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” Now Father, we know that the Lord has been the One who has built this building. We thank Thee, O God, for the wisdom Thou hast given these men to plan the building-Mr. Edwards, Mr. Foltz, and all of these contractors who have worked together on it. We thank Thee, O God, for our board of deacons and for our pastor. We thank Thee that Thou hast blessed. There has been much work and much prayer, but Father, we have something for which to be grateful. We just pray, Father, that in the days to come we will be faithful to preach and teach the Word of God in this building. Father, I pray if the day would ever come that we cease to preach and teach the Word of God in this building and see people saved in this building, that it be razed to the ground. Father, we thank Thee for the building. We thank Thee for all of these who have worked to make it possible. Bless now in the days to come and may we see many souls saved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PASTOR: Brother Fisk leaves a week from tomorrow on a well-deserved vacation. Maybe the check will help him to stay in a little higher-class motel as he goes. Nobody ever took a $300.00 check that deserved it any more than Brother Fisk. Let’s give him a hand. (Applause)

Pastor’s Message

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:28, “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.” It is awfully easy for us to say that. It is easy to learn it, and it is easy to quote it, but sometimes it is not easy to believe it. When you stand beside a casket, as I will do to morrow morning, and look into the face of one who has served faithfully through the years in the church, sometimes it is difficult to believe. When you look in the face of a little baby who has been taken before an opportunity to live was granted, and you try to tell the parents why, sometimes you wonder if Romans 8:28 is really true. Oh, yes, you believe it, but it is hard to explain.

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.”

Lost in my sins, in the darkness I wandered,

Banished from God, knowing not of His grace,

Seeking by merit to gain my salvation,

Ever despairing of winning the race.

Now I am saved, I can shout “Hallelujah!”

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.

Oh, how I grasped at God’s offer of mercy

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.

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Now then, turn to number 52 in your hymnals. “Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer!” Number 52


Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!

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! Tell of His excellent greatness;

Praise Him! Praise Him! ever in joyful song!

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Now for the last stanza.


Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!

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!

Special Offering

PASTOR: Now we come to the offering time. We want all to make a final offering to the building fund. The envelopes are before you in the pews. We decided to raise $82,000.00. This much money has been spent. As of now, so said the financial secretary a few moments ago, we have $79,609.62. Isn’t that wonderful! Tonight we would like to raise that other $2,400.00. Most of you have but a few dollars anyway. Let us just go ahead and see this through. My billfold has $11.00 in it. I have already given quite a bit, and I am going to put $11.00 in the building fund offering. Take one of the envelopes and make a final contribution to the building fund tonight. We had a meeting of some of the newer members of our church, and they plan to give some in the next thirty days. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could announce tomorrow night in the service that the $82,000.00 was all in? Make some offering to the building fund tonight. Are there any envelopes in the choir? Bring some to the choir. This is one of the wealthiest choirs in America. (Laughter)

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 offertory prayer.

MR. COLSTEN: Shall we please pray. Our Father, we are grateful for Your goodness. You have been good beyond any deserving on our part and yet we are so grateful. We are grateful for Your hand of blessing, grateful for Your evidence of power and might as shown in not only the raising of this building but the people who have been behind it. You have guided and led every step of the way. You have laid it upon the hearts of many people not only to give, but to sacrifice. We are thankful for it and we ask now Your blessing upon this building-fund offering. We pray, Lord, that You would put it upon our hearts to do what is right and what You would have us to do concerning this offering. Bless it and use it to the building, not only of buildings, but to the building of souls of men, women, boys and girls, and for the exaltation of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in whose name we ask it. Amen

(The Dedication Message was then preached by Dr. John R. Rice.)


6. The Deacon Board

Our discussion centers around the Bible office of the deacon. The Word of God has a divine message. It also contains divine methods. It is not enough to preach the message unless we also use the methods of the Word of God. Our discussion for this chapter is the Bible deacon.

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.

Election Of The Deacons

We turn our attention first to this subject: How are the deacons elected? In the First Baptist Church of Hammond we use the following procedure:

The Deacons Form the Nominating Committee

Each deacon is asked to bring a list of ten men in the church whom he feels would make good deacon material. These ten men are listed and brought to the deacons’ meeting early in the calendar year. The pastor writes the name of each man that is recommended by the deacons on the blackboard. Oftentimes we have as many as seventy-five or one hundred names listed on the blackboard. Then, the name is called orally. The deacons bow their heads, pray about whether they fell that man should run for deacon or not, and then we vote. Unless a man received a unanimous vote from our present deacons, he cannot run for the office of deacon for that year. In other words, the pastor and each deacon have veto power. We presently have sixty-six men serving as deacons in the First Baptist Church of Hammond. For a man to run for the office of deacon he has to have sixty-seven affirmative votes-sixty-six from the deacons and one from the pastor.

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 Meets with Prospective Deacons

When the list is completed and the names that have been vetoed have been scratched from the list the remaining names on the list are asked to run for deacons for the next year. The pastor meets with these men and tells them of the honor that the present deacons have bestowed upon them. The pastor talks with them frankly. He explains to them the qualifications of a deacon. He explains the responsibilities and duties of a deacon. He explains what is expected of deacons of our church. Then the pastor simply says, “If for any reason you do not meet the qualifications or would not fulfill the responsibilities, would you please not run.”

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.

The Church Approves Those Who Run

When the men have been passed unanimously by our present deacons and have agreed themselves to run for the office of deacon, then their names are presented to the church at a regular monthly business meeting. The church approves them as candidates for deacons. Bear in mind, this does not elect them as deacons but simply approves them to run for the office of deacon. We usually have several more running than we have offices to fill. For example, if we have twenty vacancies, we may have twenty-five or thirty men running. This gives the people a choice.

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 church.

A Dedication Service Is Held

Shortly after the election we have a dedication service and we set aside these new men to be deacons in the First Baptist Church of Hammond. You may want to call it an ordination service, if you please. Some would prefer this; some would not. We call it a dedication service. At this service we honor the deacons who have served the previous years. We welcome the deacons who have been chosen to serve for the new year. We have the biblical service of the laying on of hands and of offering prayer to God that He may give wisdom and leadership to these men who shall lead our church for the coming year.

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.

Qualification of Deacons

Our second thought for this discussion shall be the qualification of deacons. O course the first thing that we have to remember is the Scripture. In I Timothy, chapters 2, 3, and 4, God gives the divine order for a local church-pastor and deacons. In chapter 3, verses 8-13 read:

“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 Jesus.”

Now we require that every man who becomes a deacon or even runs for the office of deacon in the First Baptist Church, meet these qualifications. If you notice very carefully, you will notice not only are the qualifications listed for the men but also the their wives. A man should not be a deacon unless he meets the qualifications laid out in I Timothy 3:8-13. a man should not be a deacon unless his wife meets the qualifications laid out in I Timothy 3:11-13.

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 either.

Duties Of The Deacons

Now we think not only of the election of the deacons and the qualifications of the deacons, but let us notice the duties of the deacons. May I list them for you.

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:

“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.”

The purpose of the choosing of these men in the first place was that the pastor might be helped. The deacons in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, thanks be to God, are the pastor’s helpers.

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.

How Many Deacons?

We leave the responsibilities and duties now and discuss how many deacons a church should have. We feel it is best to have many deacons. I think there is strength in numbers. We have sixty-six deacons. We try to have one deacon for each one hundred members of our church. At the present time we have more than 6600 members but we do have only sixty-six deacons.

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 term.

Officers Of The Board

What are the officers of the deacon board? We have these officers: a chairman, a first vice chairman, a second vice chairman, a secretary, an assistant secretary, and five trustees. These men are elected by the deacon board at the first deacons’ meeting after the starting or our new church 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 Deacons

(Wednesday, May 18, 1967-7:30 p.m.)

Of the thirty-four deacons elected in the 1967 election of deacons, ten had not served on the deacon board previously. For these ten men a special dedication service was held in the auditorium on a Wednesday evening, which is annually set aside for this purpose.

PASTOR: One again we come to the annual Deacon Dedication Service here at First Baptist Church. It has been our policy now for many years to set aside one Wednesday evening service a year for the consecration, dedication, and ordination of our new deacons. It is a real joy this year to have ten new deacons, nine of whom are here to night. One is on vacation. We present them to you for ordination this evening.

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.”

The service about which we just read is the type service we plan to have this evening. I think it is one of the sweetest services of the year, and certainly I have occasion to rejoice and feel gratitude in my own heart for the privilege of welcoming these fine new men who are on the front row of our auditorium tonight.

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.

Introduction of New Deacons

Now we come to the introduction of the new deacons-those whom you have elected to join our deacon board for 1967-68. We introduce them one at a time to acquaint you with them. Deacon Rausch will come and introduce the first one.

MR. RAUSCH: I would like to have Brother Thomas Bennett to come up. I have known Brother Bennett for several years now. In fact, he came into the Men’s Bible Class, which I teach, and there it was a joy for me to see him grow in grace and service for the Lord. He became an officer for the class. I believe about a little over a year ago Brother Tom became a teacher in our Sunday school. I think this always gives evidence of a man’s growth in the Lord. It is a joy tonight to introduce him to you as one of our new deacons. Certainly he has proven himself. A man must be proven to be a deacon. He has, without doubt, all of the qualifications set apart in Scripture for a deacon. It is a joy to welcome you, Brother Bennett.

MR. BENNETT: Thank you, Brother Rausch.

PASTOR: As I look at these men tonight many memories come to my mind as I recall experiences we have enjoyed together. I would like to take time to say much about Tom Bennett, his growth, and the things that have led to this occasion, but time would not permit.

Deacon Parr will come and introduce to us another of our new deacons.

MR. PARR: I would like to take this opportunity to present to you Mr. Terry Wright. I have known Terry for quite a few years. A few years ago-not last year but a few years ago-we played a little softball together. I haven’t played too much lately-too old. I guess. It has been a joy knowing Terry. Brother Rausch has said that when these men are approved, they are approved by the board of deacons, talked to by the pastor, presented to you, approved by the church to run as a deacon, and then they are elected by the church.

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.

PASTOR: Terry, how long have you been in this church?

MR. WRIGHT: All of my life-twenty-eight years.

PASTOR: Twenty-eight years. Isn’t that something! They tell me you were a real corker in the nursery when you were a baby!

Deacon Fields, will you come please, and introduce another of our new deacons.

DEACON FIELDS: It is a great pleasure to introduce to you Brother Bob Stooksbury. He has been a Christian for six years. I’ve watched Brother Bob, and he has been very faithful and diligent. Just last night I talked to a person he works with, and he was telling what a good witness Bod had been on the job. He works with him and he said he talked his salvation and tried to get other people saved. It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Brother Bob Stooksbury.

PASTOR: I was just noticing that of these nine men five of them were here when I came eight years ago, and four have come since I came. So it is a good representative group.

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.

PASTOR: Of course, I have an added blessing here because I led ken to the Lord and because I appreciate Ken’s loud “Amen” from the choir. That gives me real encouragement from time to time.

Deacon Graves, would you come, please sir, and introduce another one of our new deacons.

MR. GRAVES: Richard Barr, come forward. Brother Jack referred a little while ago to the almost eight years that he had been here. It was through the Lord’s direction that my wife and I brought our family here the same Sunday that he became pastor here at this church. I can’t recall a service or activity that I haven’t seen this fellow’s face. He has been here. He has been faithful. He and his wife are both very active in the Sunday school work and I am sure have been to a great extent responsible for bringing down part of the blessings of the Lord on the work here.

PASTOR: Thank you, Mel. Welcome to you, Dick.

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.

MR. NISCHIK: Terry Duff, would you come, please. It is a real honor for me this evening to introduce this young fellow. He is my friend, my buddy, and he is almost too young really to be a deacon. He is newly married, and he is still in college. I told Brother Blandford Duff, Terry’s father, a few years ago that if the Lord ever gave me a son (and I am praying) that he will have many of the qualities and qualifications that Terry Duff has, I am really honored and pleased to have him on the board with me. Lord bless you, Terry.

PASTOR: Brother Fisk, would you come, please, and introduce another.

MR. FISK: Brother Dave Hammers, would you come, please. I do not know how long Brother Dave Hammers has been in this church but I have watched, especially the last three or four years, and I have seen Dave Hammers grow in grace. I have heard it said that at one time Dave could not even stand before a congregation and speak, much time Dave could not even stand before a congregation and speak, much less sing. Many times our hearts have been blessed by his beautiful singing. He is now one of our Sunday school teachers. I have had the privilege of winning souls with Dave. I have watched his burden for souls grow and of course, this is the greatest requirement. I suppose, for being a deacon. So, of course, it is an honor for me to introduce to you tonight our Brother Dave Hammers.

PASTOR: Thank you and God bless you, Dave.

Brother Charles Hand will come and introduce the last of the nine men presented to you this evening.

MR. HAND: Brother Dave Sharp, come, please. It is a privilege for me to present Brother Sharp, for he and I have several things in common. We have worked together on the buses. I have enlisted Brother Sharp to teach in the Sunday school. In the first Sunday of April, 1963, when Mrs. Hand, the boys, and I came to the First Baptist Church, Brother Dave made his profession. He and his wife were the first two that we met after we became a part of the First Baptist Church. I know of no one that I am any more pleased to see as part of the greatest thing that I could tell you about Dave Sharp is that I know he gave up a most lucrative job because there were some things that in that job he could not do and still be what he felt a Christian should be. Dave, I am pleased to see you.

MR. SHARP: Thank you.


Pastor: Thank you, brethren. Now I would like to address the words for the next few minutes to these men. Of course, you will be listening to hear the admonition that I give to them. It will not be long but I want to speak to you for a few minutes on the subject, “The Laying on of Hands.” In a few moments these men will kneel here at the altar, and these men behind me will lay on hands. I could not help but think tonight of how Mr. Gifford introduced his son Dave to our deacon board. Mr. Gifford was, of course, always ready with a bit of humor and always wanting to brighten up the meeting a bit. He stood and said, “I am about to lay hands on my son. Many times I have laid hands on him and other times I have wanted to lay hands on him.”

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.

“Wherefore I put Thee in remembrance that Thou stir up the gift of God, which is in Thee by the putting on of my hands.”

The Apostle Paul said, “Timothy, do you recall that night when I laid hands on you?”

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.

Laying on of Hands

I am going to ask at this time for the five men on this side to kneel, starting at the corner here and about two feet apart, please, if you would. You four on my right, would you kneel starting at the corner and about two feet apart over here, please. Verlie Fields will lead us in a prayer of ordination and then we will have the laying on of hands. I will ask you to bow your heads during the prayer. Then after Brother Fields has prayed, you may observe the laying on of hands. This is the annual occasion where you see it done just as it was done in the early church in Jerusalem. Brother Fields, would you lead us in prayer, please.

MR. FIELDS: Father in Heaven, we thank Thee for this wonderful privilege that we have of coming together to lay hands on these deacons, realizing, dear God, that this is one of the two offices mentioned in the Bible. We realize, Dear God, that we lay the hands on them, but You do the ordaining, dear God. We believe that You have chosen these men. We pray that You will just bless them. We realize, dear God, that there is many a task to be done in this church, a church as large as this. The most important one is to go out and win souls-to be soul winners. We pray that You will just help each and every one of them. We pray for the wives and the families and that You will bless them that they will be faithful. We pray, dear God, for Brother Earl. He is absent from us tonight. Wherever he is, bless him, and You, Yourself, lay hands on him and bless him that he will continue to be a soul winner. Now bless us as we continue in this service. In Jesus’ name we pray.

(The pastors and deacons lay hands on those being ordained.)

Presentation of Certificates

PASTOR: Would you fellows stand, please, right where you are. Ed Rausch will come, as chairman of our deacons, and present to each of you your certificate of ordination.

(Brother Rausch gives each one individually his certificate.)

PASTOR: Few churches have been blessed with any more capable leadership than our deacon board has. Ed, will you come beside me. How we thank God for Ed Rausch. Words would fail me when I try to tell you how I appreciate this good man. On behalf of our church and our deacon board, Ed, give an official welcome to these men.

MR. RAUSCH: It is always a joy to have new men on the board because it gives evidence of the growth in the lives of men of our church. Truly it has been said, “It is not easy to become a deacon at First Baptist Church.” In fact, when the Pastors’ School was here I said, “It almost takes an act of Congress to become a deacon of the First Baptist Church.”

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.

Pastor’s Welcome

PASTOR: Thank you, Brother Rausch. Now I would like to give you the right hand of welcome. (Each new deacon leaves his seat, comes to the platform, receives a handshake from the pastor, and takes his place with the board.)

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.


I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus

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 lost that I have lifted?

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?

No longer will I stay within the valley;

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.


PASTOR: It has been our custom for many years for the new deacons to stand here at the front. So, fellows, would you come down and stand at the front, please. Would each of the nine wives find her respective husband and come and stand beside him, please. This is interesting. Here comes a mother and daughter-each has a deacon husband. Are they all here?

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

It is vitally important that an adequate record system be kept of the membership of the church. In this chapter we plan to take a person from his first visit to the church and, step by step, show the records that are kept on him.

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 collection plate.

2. On Monday, the following letter is sent to each visitor:

3. The visitor’s card is then given to the pastor to be used for visitation teams and pastor’s visitation.

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:

This decision card is in triplicate: a white copy, a green copy, and an ivory copy. The copy is torn off and given to the pastor to be read publicly. He keeps this one. The green card is put in the visitation files for follow-up work, and the ivory card is given to the records secretary for the processing of the convert and his records.

5. On Monday, the following decision letter is sent to him:

We praise the Lord for your decision Sunday and want to assure you that our prayers and personal interest are with you. Your decision was the beginning of great things for you and for us as we do His will together.

Please fill in the enclosed questionnaire and return it to the church office so that our records will be correct. Do not hesitate to call the church office, 932-0711, for further information.

May the Lord bless you as you serve Him.


Jack Hyles Pastor


6. The card below is enclosed in the decision letter.

7. The convert is then voted into the church after baptism and is given a vote-in number and a financial number. Then a permanent record card is made on the new member as shown below:

8. As soon as the member is received a financial card such as seen below is made for him:

9. The birthday card is made for him.

10. A cardex card is made for our cardex file. This is also illustrated below:

11. A financial plate for use on the addressograph machine is then made out.

12. A flash plate is made for the new member.

13. The person’s name is placed in the permanent record book as seen below:

14. Periodically a reception is held in honor of all the new members of the church. A letter is sent to each person who is a new member of the church. Following is a copy of such a letter:

At this new members’ reception the pastor, staff and deacon meet to welcome the new people into the church. The pastor first gives a brief word of welcome. Then he introduces each staff member and tells the responsibilities of each. He then introduces the chairman of the board of deacons, the officers of the deacon board and the deacons present. Then he introduces the deacons’ wives.

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:

He then receives a copy of the pastor’s book. Let’s Go Soul Winning, which will enable him to win others to the Lord Jesus Christ. H then receives a baptismal certificate as a remembrance of this high occasion.

The new member is then given a copy of the articles of faith and the church covenant as well as a copy of the church budget.

Each new member is requested to fill out the form below. This will enable us to locate potential workers for the church program.

Following the receipt of these important items, there is a time of refreshment and fellowship. The new members are invited to go to a table filled with refreshments such as cookies, finger sandwiches, punch, etc. They enjoy refreshments as the deacons and their families come by, shake by, shake their hands, and welcome them into 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.

When a member of a church which is not of like faith is converted and joins our church by baptism, the following notice is sent to the church where he formally held membership. This simply notifies the church to make adjustment on their church records.

When a person transfers from our church to a church of like faith, we vote to grant his letter and use the following form to notify his new church.


9. An Ordination Service for Preachers

On October 19, 1966, at 6:45 p.m. the First Baptist Church witnessed the ordination service of Mr. Johnny Colsten, Mr. Larry Loser, and Mr. David Loser. This service was recorded and transcribed as follows:

PASTOR: As you know we are here this evening to set apart three of our finest to the gospel ministry. We certainly thank God for His blessings upon our church as He continues to reach down and call our young men to preach the Gospel. Many of our young men are now pastoring. Many of our young men are now preparing for the ministry in colleges and seminaries around the nation.

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

MR. FISK: I am going to ask Brother Johnny Colsten if he will come to the platform, please. I would like to ask Mrs. Colsten if she would do us the honor of standing so that you folks might know Mrs. Colsten. All right, thank you so much.

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.

PASTOR: Would Mrs. Colsten stand. One of our secretaries would like to present you with a lovely corsage.

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, Larry.

PASTOR: Mrs. Loser is here. We have a flower for her, too. Pat, will you stand, please. It seems as though you were just married yesterday because you have been gone ever since you got married. It is nice to see you, Pat.

MR. FISK: I would like to ask Brother David Loser (I know him as Dave) to make his way to the platform. I would like to ask Mr. and Mrs. Loser if they would do us the honor of standing so that the folks might know the parents of these two fine young men.

PASTOR: Ladies, would you come, please, and pin a corsage on Mrs. Loser.

MR. FISK: Thank you so much. As was the case with Brother Larry Loser, Brother David also was raised in this church, saved here, baptized here, called to preach here, and now, thank the Lord, he is going to be ordained tonight. I have been soul winning with our Brother Loser. I have heard him preach at our rescue mission. I have heard good reports about his supply preaching in other churches. Just recently he was called to pastor a Baptist church in Georgia.

The report is that just about every Sunday since he has been there now they have seen someone saved. Just this past Sunday God gave them four souls down the aisle for Christ. It is certainly evidence of God’s blessings already on this young man, and I count it a privilege tonight to introduce to you Brother David Loser.

PASTOR: I want the three fellows to stand, please. Let’s give them all a hand. (Applause)

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.

Public Questioning

(The following, of course, does not include the lengthy private questioning.)

PASTOR: I would like to have the three brethren to stand to my left, please.

David, do you believe in the doctrines of the Articles of Faith and practice of the First Baptist Church of Hammond?

DAVID LOSER: Yes, sir.

PASTOR: If there ever comes a day when you do not believe in the Articles of Faith or our church and the inspiration of the Scriptures, would you be willing to surrender your ordination certificate to the First Baptist Church?


PASTOR: If the day would ever come and you did not, would you surrender willingly your ordination paper?


PASTOR: Mr. Colsten, do you believe the Articles of Faith adopted by the First Baptist Church of Hammond?

MR. COLSTEN: Yes, I do.

PASTOR: If the day would ever come that you did not, would you surrender your papers?

MR. COLSTEN: Yes, sir.

PASTOR: Do each of you understand this? I say this seriously because oftentimes men are ordained to preach the Gospel who later change their doctrinal stand. It could happen. It has happened to many. The Apostle Paul recognized the possibility that it could happen ever to him.

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.

DAVID LOSER: Well, I praise the Lord, first of all, that I am saved. I had been going to First Baptist for a number of years and I had walked the aisle when I was just about eleven or twelve years old. I had thought I was saved, but after Brother Jack came to our church and preached one evening on Hell and how that if you died, you would go to Heaven, you would spend an eternity in Hell, it shook me up, and I had to make sure of my salvation. On November 19, 1961, I made sure that I was born again. I was baptized that evening.

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.

PASTOR: Larry, it has been a long time since we have had you here full time. You have been to college and seminary, and it is a real joy to have you back with us this evening. Come and tell us about your conversion and call to preach.

LARRY LOSER: I have attended the First Baptist Church since I was very young. When I was six years old, I went forward with my parents and joined First Baptist. I was baptized, but like David, I wasn’t saved. I didn’t know Christ as my personal Saviour. It wasn’t until later after Brother Jack came to First Baptist. I was singing in the choir. He preached a sermon on the tares among the wheat, and it struck home. Even though I didn’t go forward in the service, there in the choir I trusted Christ as my Saviour. I was later baptized in Springfield, Missouri, because I got under conviction about it and I realized that my baptism wasn’t scriptural. Even before that, God had called me to preach. The summer after I got out of high school I went away to school to prepare to serve Him the best way I could. I praise the Lord for every opportunity He has given me to serve Him and for the chance He has given me now to pastor a church. I just pray that he will be able to use me to win people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

PASTOR HYLES: Of course, all of us know the Colstens and know Brother Johnny. We have had the opportunity of having Brother Johnny with us from week to week. For many months he was simply an unknown quotient to us. We did not know anything about him. We had heard a lot about him. His wife, being a woman, talked a great deal about him, and we waited until he came, and of course, now that he is with us we are glad. We certainly have learned to love him and appreciate him and the family and the fact that God has called him to preach. So Brother Johnny, would you come and tell us briefly about your conversion and your call to preach.

JOHNNY COLSTEN: Dr. Falls preached an old-fashioned revival meeting in Whitely Methodist Church back in Muncie, Indiana. I was twelve years of age and at that time opened my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. There were periods of time when I was not sure about my salvation, but the Lord so graciously gave me assurance through the years. He has brought me now to this time.

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.

PASTOR HYLES: The prebytery will vote to recommend to the church that we do ordain these men. Then the church will vote to give the presbytery the authority of laying on of hands.

Vote of the Presbytery

PASTOR HYLES: I now entertain a motion from the presbytery that we recommend to the church that we ordain these three men to the gospel ministry. Do I hear a motion? Brother Streeter makes the motion. Is there a second? Brother Wolber seconds the motion. Is there any discussion or any question that you would like to ask any of these?

If there are no questions, if you are in favor, would you say “Aye.”


PASTOR: If opposed, like sign...and it is so ordered.

Vote of the Church

PASTOR: You have heard the motion and second and unanimous vote that we recommend to you the ordination of these three men. Now would someone in the church like to move that the church invest the authority in these men to lay the hands on these brethren. Brother Bell makes the motion. Brother Townson seconds the motion. Is there any discussion? Those in favor of proceeding with the ordination and investing in the presbytery the authority to proceed with the laying on the hands, would you say, “Aye.”


PASTOR: If you oppose, “No.” And it is so ordered.

Ordination prayer and laying on of Hands

PASTOR: That brings us to the laying on of hands and the ordination prayer. I am going to ask Brother Colsten if he would kneel to my left. I am going to ask Brother Larry if he will kneel in the center, please, and I am going to ask Brother David if he will kneel on the right.

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 this service.

MR. TERRY: Our Father, we thank you truly for each of these men. We thank Thee that in Your great wisdom You did chose to save them. We thank Thee for our own salvation. We thank Thee for the Christian training they have had in their homes. We pray that you would help them now as they continue their study, that You would guide them. As they go into their work deeper and deeper we pray that You would give them wisdom for the decisions that must be made. We pray that You would help them. We pray that You would help them in their churches and in their work and as people come to them with problems that they will have the wisdom that only God can give. We pray that You would help each of them to be the kind of soul winner that You would have them to be. We thank Thee that they are and have been becoming real soul winners for Thee. Help us all to be more of this as we ought to be. We pray now that You would bless their families. We pray that You would be with them and that we may be an encouragement to them. Help us all that we might remember them from time to time in our prayers, for we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Laying on of hands of the presbytery)

PASTOR HYLES: With every head bowed and eyes closed, I am going to close the service of the laying on of hands on these men. As I lead in prayer audibly, I want each of us to pray for each of them as we are led by the pastor. Let each of us pray for God’s blessings upon them.

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.

Presentation of Bibles

PASTOR HYLES: Brethren, you may stand and come to the platform, please. Brother Hand will come and present a gift from our church to each of you. You will treasure this gift more and more with the passing of the years.

MR. HAND: Every trade has its tools. If I owned a business and you became a part of my business, I think that the proper thing to do would be to furnish you with tools. In a real sense we cannot give you anything tonight except a leather back and some exceptionally fine India paper. That which is printed on the paper does not belong to us. It is not ours to give to you. It is a tool that God has furnished us. When we say it is God’s Word, rightfully, it is possessive. It is God’s Word. It belongs to Him. As such, He has the right to determine how it is used. Remember always as you use it, it is God’s Word. He gave it to us that we might know how to serve Him properly. He gave it to us that we might do that which is exactly pleasing to Him. He gave us the most powerful force in all the world. Dynamite is in these pages. There is no dynamite under Heaven that is as powerful as the dynamite of the Word of God. Remember it. Written on the flyleaf of each of these: “Presented to David Loser as he is ordained to the gospel ministry, October 19, 1966, First Baptist Church of Hammond.” Brother David Loser, Brother Larry Loser, and Brother Johnny Colsten, you have the greatest tool in all the world. May God bless you as you use it.

Presentation of Certificates

PASTOR HYLES: Now as they remain standing, the chairman of our board of deacons, Brother Ed Rausch, will come and present the official certificates from the First Baptist Church to these men.

MR. RAUSCH: Brother David, Brother Larry, and Brother Johnny, this Certificate of Ordination which I will present to each of you represents an expression of the church family as a matter of confidence and faith in the high calling that God has given you. It not only represents this expression of faith and confidence but it also represents the fact that many people have made an investment in your lives. I am sure that each who has made an investment would have only Christ get the dividend.

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.


PASTOR HYLES: I am going to ask the brethren to stand here facing me, please. I would like to talk to you a few minutes. Of course this is for every person, but there are seven things that I would like to say to you brethren as we talk together just personally for a few minutes while the others look on. I am going to wrap these things around the number three. I am going to give some important “three’s” for you as preachers.

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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