Role of the Deacon
The word deacon means servant. We use the term "diakonate" for deacons as a body, and the term "diakonia" to describe the work that deacons do (service, support, ministry). The Apostle Paul gave Timothy instructions concerning deacons. He said the deacons must be worthy of respect, not double-tongued but sincere. In essence, 1 Tim. 3:8-13, is all about character, so deacons are expected to serve the church by the example of their character, as well as by their deeds.
In the Early Church deacons were chosen (as the need arose) to assist the elders in the temporal work of the church. Their origin is given in Acts 6, which tells how the Jerusalem church selected seven men to administer the finances, to serve tables, and to care for the poor of the congregation (Acts 6: 1-6).
Role of the Deaconess
Deaconesses were included in the official staff of the early Christian churches. When writing to the Romans, Paul referred to one godly woman in this way. "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me." —Romans 6:1,2.
* Here the word "servant" is also rendered "deaconess."
Duties of the Deacon and Deaconess
In our church deacons and deaconesses work closely with the church board and Pastor(s) to assist with the church's physical properties, finances, and member needs. Some of their duties include:
- greeting and ushering
- upkeep of church property
- assisting with the baptismal ceremony
- assisting with the communion service
- caring for the church congregation