This past Sunday I was ordained as a subdeacon. Many are not aware of this position, and yet it has been an active part of Christianity since at least 251 AD.
What is a subdeacon? The official role of a subdeacon is to assist the bishop when he is present during a church service. The responsbilities have grown because of the limitations of geography. This means I continue to be a servant even when the bishop is not present.
While not commonly seen, subdeacons are still alive as a ministry in many denominations. Usually someone is a subdeacon for a very short period of time, an hour or less before they are ordained as a deacon. Others uphold the office of subdeacon for many years.
My reason for becoming a subdeacon is what I want to write about. Many see churches as a non-profit version of a business. Traditional Christianity has always viewed the church in the opposite way: the bishop serves the priest, the priest serves the congregation, and the congregation is the bridge to society. The leadership of a church are servants first, equipped with the responsbility of helping us grow.
Think of how parents serve their babies, then children, then teenagers, and so on. The parents are always servant leaders. Telling a baby to stop crying is pointless, just as a priest telling a new Christian to stop sinning is pointless. Servant leaders nurture those they are caring for and create a loving environment which enables growth.
Above all subdeacons must maintain humility. We are official servants, who do the majority of our good works behind closed doors and without recognition.
Question: How often do we want recognition for good works?