On the occasion of Mr. Gerald Epp's ordination as a deacon in our congregation (for which we give thanks!), we reflected together on 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and what the Lord says regarding the elders and deacons which are to serve in each congregation of Christ. We take this instruction very seriously and believe that churches which do not have elders or deacons (or worse, fail to have either office) will surely be weak. Why? Because this is to neglect the means that Christ Jesus has established for his church!
So what is the particular calling of the deacons?
In brief, they are to serve as stewards of the needy and caretakers of the church.
Arising from the division of responsibilities in the book of Acts, chapter 6, the calling of the deacon is to be of service to those who are in need – first to the widows of the Greeks who were being overlooked in the distribution of bread to alleviate poverty – and through the history of the church as those who minister to the various needs of those who are beset by sickness or accidents or hardships of many kinds.
The office of the deacon was established by Christ through his apostles so that the poor and distressed may be relieved and comforted, according to their needs.
We should see in the deacons the hand of mercy of our LORD and his recognition that the weak and weary, the hungry and poor, are so precious to Him that he prepares men with a particular calling to oversee and provide for their care.
This doesn't alleviate you of any responsibility to the needy but rather it directs us to be responsibly giving to others and ensuring their well-being.
Much more could be said about the hundreds of ways that the deacons can actively take up their service – for they are much more than just the offering collectors and bill-payers for the church. They are men of dignity and thoughtfulness – who hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. They are Christ Jesus' gift to the church and the church knows great blessing through the active ministry of the deacons!