What is a Deacon?

Deacons are the “lead servants” of the church with high character (Acts 6:1-7). They facilitate ministry by meeting the practical needs of the church while the elders teach, preach, and shepherd the church body (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:17, Titus 1:9, Hebrews 13:17). We believe that the “call” to deaconship affirms what these men and women are already doing for the church, which is serving the needs of the body. As the church, we affirm the deacon’s character outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Listen to Pastor Spence’s sermon from February 6, 2023: What Are Deacons and Why Do They Matter?

Or read about Mercy’s position on deacons: Position Paper on Deacons


Mercy Members, if you’d like to contact the current deacons with any comments, feedback, or questions please email using this link.


johnadams - Deacons


John Adams

John was born in Louisiana, and lived in NYC before moving to CLT 31 years ago. He accepted Christ at the age of 12. He has been married to his wife Margaret for 50 1/2 years. They were previous members of Candlewyck Baptist church for over 25 years before it merged with Mercy Church, where he served as a deacon and taught Sunday school classes.

margaretadams - Deacons


Margaret Adams

Margaret was born and raised in Gastonia, NC. She accepted Christ at the age of 9 and was baptized in the Catawba River. She and her husband, John, have been married since 1973, have lived in many states, and have been active members in each church they’ve attend. After being members of Candlewyck Baptist Church for over 25 years, she is now honored to be a Mercy member and deacon!

Craig Bender New 3 - Deacons


Craig Bender

Craig is blessed to be husband to Michele and the father of godly kids who serve the Lord in ministry. He is a Community Group Shepherd, a premarital mentor, a men’s bible study leader, and a Rapid Response Team Chaplain. Craig works in IT at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering with various ministries, including Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Library.

Michele Bender New - Deacons


Michele Bender

Michele has been married to her best friend Craig, for almost 40 years. She has 3 incredible kids, 1 spiritually adopted daughter, and 3 awesome in-laws who love and serve the Lord. Her free time is spent with her 4 adorable granddaughters. She owns a management consulting business that helps small business owners. Together with her husband, she serves as a Community Group Shepherd, a premarital mentor, and a Rapid Response Team Chaplain. Michele loves mentoring younger women and serves on the board of directors for You and Titus 2 Ministries, which trains older women to pour into the next generation.

timwilliams - Deacons


Tim Williams

Tim is married to Michelle, his best friend, wife, and the mother of their three cherished daughters and beloved son-in-law. He has a very colorful job as the Marketing Manager for Color Solutions International. He loves all things BBQ and is continually trying to master his craft, experimenting with sauce recipes, and smoking techniques. He loves spending time with his family and friends around a meal or just being together.

Deacon Assessment Process



We invite all Mercy church members to nominate men and women who meet the deacon qualifications as outlined in our Position Paper on Deacons. Please make sure you have communicated to the person you recommended before nominating them using the Deacon Recommendation Form.



Once the elders have agreed upon potential deacons, they will invite the nominated candidates into the evaluation process, which begins by filling out an application with references and a background check.

After the application and recommendations are reviewed, an elder, along with a current deacon, will interview a potential deacon to consider if they would be a good fit.

Stage of Life Interview (Marriage/Singleness)
An elder and a current deacon will interview the potential deacon candidate and their spouse. If they are single, they will set up a time with that individual.

The last step in the evaluation process is the recommendation.

If approved, they will be re-presented to the elder board for final approval to present to our congregation. The elder board will present the deacon candidates to the current deacon board and subsequently to our members to go through the deacon development process.

If not approved, an elder will communicate with the nominator as to why the elders did not move forward with their candidate. Additionally, they will meet with the nominee about why we did not move forward with them. We will outline an action plan for them to continue to help them develop as a disciple of Jesus.



After the presentation, there will be a month period for the congregation to assess a deacon’s readiness. The congregation will be free to send emails to the elder team to give their feedback on the potential candidates. After the month period has passed, the congregation will vote on who they think should be church deacons, upon receiving at least a 75% vote, the approved candidates will then begin training.



During this process, deacons will receive training on what it means to be a deacon at Mercy Church. There will be six lessons taught in non-consecutive weeks.



After training and voting, we will commission a deacon on a Sunday morning to our congregation.


Listen to Pastor Spence’s sermon from February 6, 2023, titled What Are Deacons and Why Do They Matter?