• The Sacred Call Of A Deacon: The Role Of The Nominations And Lay Leadership Committee In The Corporate Discernment Of Deacons At First Baptist Church, Greenwood, South Carolina

      Jennings, David
      ABSTRACT DAVID ANTHONY JENNINGS THE SACRED CALL OF A DEACON: THE ROLE OF THE NOMINATIONS AND LAY LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE IN THE CORPORATE DISCERNMENT OF DEACONS AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA Under the direction of Daniel Vestal, Th.D., Faculty Supervisor Too often churches select and nominate individuals to serve in the sacred call of a deacon based on an old model rather than a discernment process. Under the old model, committee members randomly select potential deacon nominees and immediately contact them about having their names placed into nomination. The following project thesis introduces the First Baptist Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee to a corporate discernment process that allows space for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the scared call of a deacon. The research methodology used in the project thesis involved the researcher being engaged as a participant observer. The researcher also used a combination of participation, observation, and interpretation of data collected from interviews as the primary qualitative research method. The researcher, working with the Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee, compared the answers to pre- and post-research questions after introducing the committee to the First Baptist Corporate Discernment Process. Through the introduction of the First Baptist Corporate Discernment Process, members of the Nominations and Lay Leadership Committee discovered a new way of selecting and nominating individuals to serve in the sacred call of a deacon. Members of the committee stated that the introduction of the corporate discernment process gave the committee the tools necessary to find spiritual consensus during the deacon selection and nomination process. The corporate discernment process also provided the space needed for the movement of the Holy Spirit as the committee sought spiritual consensus during the deacon selection and nomination process. Opportunities for additional study associated with the project thesis include the use of the corporate discernment process with other committees and boards of First Baptist. Further study also includes introducing the corporate discernment process to the diaconate. Additional opportunities for further study include introducing the corporate discernment process to other Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches in the state of South Carolina as well as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.