Inspired, well-trained, and spiritually mature deacons can be a mighty force for the church, and local American churches need their servants to excel in their ministry and service to the Body of Christ now more than ever. Most pastors and deacons in America are sincere in their desire to serve, but many do not receive enough advanced orientation, and even more receive no ongoing training at all. This lack can create much frustration and may even overwhelm deacons and their families as they try to manage the minefields of ministry.
Daily Devotions for Deacons, by Russell R. Cook, guides deacons in daily preparation for their enormous and invaluable task and inspires them to become all Christ means for them to be. This guide for deacons offers a year of brief yet deeply spiritual and relevant biblical devotions. For a few moments a day, five days a week, all who desire to live as fully devoted followers of Christ will benefit from Cook’s years of teaching and training pastors and deacons across America.
By learning the principles and qualities necessary for a strong, effective ministry, and by applying these same qualities of service in everyday life, we begin to fulfill our God-given role and draw ever closer to His presence and His truth.
A Personal Introduction by the Author
In Deacons: Servant Models in the Church, the highly respected author, Henry Webb, identifies four characteristics that describe the qualities of a servant-leader in the church. He says, "Deacons will demonstrate growth toward a mature faith, Christian family life, personal and public morality, and a life accepted by God and the church."1 Webb then explains in some detail what those qualities should look like when observed by others.
It is my belief that many Pastors and Deacons in the church today know generally what their service should look like, but so few have a close, devotional relationship with God that allows them to actually live out those qualities. This book of devotions is an attempt to give Deacons another tool to help them not merely adopt the principles of servanthood but to also apply the qualities of servanthood in their everyday lives.
Though it is grammatically questionable, I have chosen to capitalize both Pastor and Deacon throughout this book. I believe these to be the only legitimate New Testament offices in the church today. Each office is emphasized and identified as imperative to the effectiveness of the church.
Perhaps by daily reading what God has said and how God has worked in the lives of other great servants, today’s Deacon could be motivated to even greater maturity. No book of devotions or even books of academic and theological instruction will, in and of themselves, produce a mature servant. Only God Himself can do that. I hope this work will bring the reader closer to Him—to His presence as you pray, to His truth as you obey, and to His church as you give yourself away.
Russell R. Cook has pastored four Baptist churches in Missouri, Texas, and Oklahoma since 1971. He has been active in local, associational, state, and national ministries. He became the Director of Missions for Pottawatomie-Lincoln Baptist Association, a network of sixty-four churches and missions in two counties of central Oklahoma, in 1996. He and his wife, Marsha, make their home in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Together they have devoted many of their ministry years training Pastors, staff members, Deacons, and their wives for effective service to the local church. This is his first book.