The Role of a 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).
A grave situation had developed in the First Century Church. The size of the church grew to the point where the apostles could no longer care for the physical and emotional needs of the church, and still be responsible for the spiritual ministry. Certain widows were neglected in the daily distribution of material things. The church sensed the need for enlarging its leadership capacity, and so seven men were selected to care for the physical needs of its members
Marie Lucille Dorsainvil
Duties of Deaconesses
Deaconesses serve the church in a wide variety of important activities, including:
- Assistance at Baptisms—Deaconesses assist at the baptismal services, ensuring that female candidates are cared for both before and after the ceremony. They also give such counsel and help as may be necessary regarding suitable garments for baptism. Robes of suitable material should be provided. Where robes are used, the deaconesses should see that they are laundered and carefully set aside for future use.
Arrangements for the Communion Service—The deaconesses assist in the ordinance of foot-washing, giving special aid to women visitors or those who have newly joined the church. It is the duty of the deaconesses to arrange everything needed for this service, such as seeing that the table linen, towels, et cetera, used in the celebration of ordinances are laundered and carefully stored.The deaconesses make arrangements for the communion table, including: preparing the bread and wine, arranging the ordinance table, pouring the wine, placing the plates of unleavened bread, and covering the table with the linen provided for that purpose. All these matters should be cared for before the service begins.
- The Care of the Sick and the Poor—Deaconesses are to do their part in caring for the sick, the needy, and the unfortunate, cooperating with the deacons in this work.
Board of Deaconesses—The board of deaconesses with the head deaconess serving as chairperson and another as secretary cooperates closely with the board of deacons, especially in welcoming members and visitors and in home visitation.
Deacons are the backbone of the church’s physical and emotional support. Their duties include:
- Coordination of all maintenance and cleaning duties
- Assist with transportation needs
- Assist with the collection of offerings
- Serve on the church board (as designated)
- Visitation of church members
- Assist with Communion Service and Ordinance of Humility
- Prepare the baptismal pool for baptism
Weekly prayers: 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Fasting: 9:00 am to 12:00 noon
Early morning prayer: 8:00 am to 9:20 am
Sabbath school: 9:30 am to 11:00 am
Worship service: 11:00 am to 12:45 pm