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What are Deacons?

A Deacon is one of the ministry offices of the church and literally means a servant (Greek, DIAKONOS). Besides bishops and other offices, the early church valued the ministry of the Deacon. "Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Phil. 1:1).

It is believed that the office of deacon developed out of the need for the Apostles to delegate many of the increased administrative tasks that overwhelmed the growing church. This was first seen when complaints were brought to the Apostles that some of the Greek widows of the church were being neglected in their care. So in order that they would not be distracted away from what God had really called them to do — to be men of prayer and of the Word — they selected qualified persons to look after these affairs. "...It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:2-4).

This follows the administrative function of how the modern church should operate. The pastor should be the spiritual overseer, devoting his attention to the higher priorities of prayer and ministering the word, while delegating the load of administrative tasks, details and responsibilities to other ministers, elders and deacons.

This article is from the book, What People Ask About the Church, authored and copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2015, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us.