The Hyles Church Manual

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 07 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, The Hyles Church Manual)

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. 


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