Q: Why do we ordain deacons and elders?

All Christians are called to Christian ministry. We can see this in Romans 1:7 where Paul calls all the believers ‘saints’ and in many other passages such as Mark 9:23—“Everything is possible for him who believes.” Every person is called into the church of Jesus Christ by baptism, and marked as Christ’s own by the Holy Spirit. See Colossians 2:12– “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” and Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

This gift, to be raised to new life and with new gifts, is our common calling. Throughout the history of the church, some have been called to specific service as deacons and elders. Ordination, through laying on of hands, is God’s gift to His church, assuring that God’s ministry continues among us, providing ministries of loving and care in the world, and in ordering the structure of the church.

Elders and Deacons are mentioned in the New Testament frequently, particularly in the book of Acts. Elders are called by God and elected by the congregation to use their gifts to organize and systematize the life of the Christian Congregation. Deacons are also called by God, and chosen by the people, to serve in charitable, compassionate work as seen in Acts 6:1-7.

Laying on of hands is the symbolic biblical act of transferring the authority of God onto the candidate. Let’s be clear: The instituting of all these officers in the church is the work of God himself, of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Spirit. It is not a human work but a divine and holy calling to serve God’s people, through a personal, churchly, compassionate relationship with God.

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