Deacons & Service

Roy Hill II

As a deacon, my desire with this writing is to objectively address the spiritual and biblical reality that being a deacon, a servant, is a priceless service-opportunity available to people in different walks of life.  I acknowledge challenges to engaging this opportunity.  And I encourage knowing that we can overcome the challenges which may be either myopic, self-imposed, or simply Satanic (John 10:10).

The Free Dictionary and Merriam-Webster respectively define Deacon as:  “a lay assistant to a Protestant minister” and a person who is “elected by a church with congregational polity to serve in worship, in pastoral care, and on administrative committees.”

Christian author and speaker Jerry Bridges … in addressing service and love … says a scripturally transparent expression of “love” is “fellowship” or “sharing with others.”  He says we can share  ourselves – our gifts, time, and talents as in “doing helpful deeds for another” (1 Corinthians 12).

Bridges says:  Servanthood “requires no special talent or special gifts ….  And if God has given us certain natural abilities, we also want to be good stewards of those abilities to serve others in the body.  But it requires no spiritual gift or talent to wash feet, clean shoes, or gather firewood.  All that is required is a servant’s attitude.”

Curiosity asks:  “Is servanthood absent because increasingly human attitudes are ‘of striving for position rather than the privilege of serving others in the Body of Christ?’”

In a February 2018 lecture, Vermont Christian counselor and national speaker Rev. Dr. Andrew H. Selle described three sin-challenges we all face. I wonder if these are the three powers against true servanthood:

  1. Me First  – the controlling idolatry “from the inside” that is “anything other than Christ”
  2. My Way  – the legalism that elevates “mere opinion to the level of God’s Law”
  3. My Drum  – the myopia that emphasizes “some principles and ignoring others, of losing a sense of proportion about what is most important to God”

Four forerunner examples showing faith related pathways overcoming challenges include: 

– Pontius Pilate & Barabbas (Matt. 27:16) vs. God & Jesus’ resurrection (Matt. 12:18, Lk. 9:35)

– President Jefferson (Sally Hemings) & enslavement vs. President Obama (First Lady Michelle) & egalitarianism

– Negro Holocaust Lynchings (R. Gibsond @ Yale U.) vs. NAACP & Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill             – J. E. Hoover & bigotry (COINTELPRO) vs. Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. & the Nobel Peace Prize

When challenged by negativity, I know God’s liberating power is always available through the Holy Spirit, prayer and scripture.

I believe that when faith is exercised, God moves (2 Chronicles 7:14), and humanity can realize the prophetic words of the “most powerful song of the 20th Century which started out in a Charleston, South Carolina church:  ‘We Shall Overcome‘” ( The song “started out in church pews and picket lines, inspired one of the greatest freedom movements in U.S. history, and went on to topple governments and bring about reform all over the world. …  ‘We Shall Overcome’ has it roots in African-American hymns from the early 20th century and was first used as a protest song in 1945.  …  ‘We Shall Overcome’ might be some of the most influential words in the English language.” – Library of Congress).

Finally:  as we faithfully go forth with our God-given gifts, I also pray we foster service opportunities in either the sacred, secular, or both communities (James 1:22-25). 

Roy V. Hill II is a deacon from Fairfax, Vermont. Roy recently became a good friend upon our spending some precious time together in Vermont during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2018. This article was originally published in March (2017) by College Street Congregational church, where Roy serves as a deacon.  Hill is the former President of the Vermont Ecumenical Council and lives with his wife Shirley Boyd-Hill (A cancer survivor and  Gospel-singer, poet, and the principal founder of the Vermont “Juneteenth” Holiday).

Editor’s Note: Listen and watch Mahalia Jackson sing this famous culture-changing spiritual. She sings it with the “soul” that was intended by the spiritual. No song has impacted me, and especially my teenager years in the 1960s, like “We Shall Overcome.” I find myself singing it a lot these days as I watch God raise up young people to “overcome” ponce again.

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