Deacons are the "support team" of the church. While elders teach biblical theology and see to the spiritual needs of the congregation, deacons take care of the practical issues.
What duties are church deacons responsible for?
The office of deacon originated in Acts 6:1-6:
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, 'It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
The apostles could have quickly become bogged down in church administration; it's hard to teach when you know people in the congregation are going hungry. Instead, they designated a group of godly men to take care of practical needs so that they could concentrate on teaching and seeking God's guidance through prayer.
Churches use deacons in different ways. They may prepare and serve communion, set up rooms for events, take care of the facilities and grounds, pray with shut-ins, and, of course, guide the church in providing for members who need financial aid. In short, they do anything and everything the church needs.
The position of deacon is an important one. Although the men assigned to this duty are not to seek out reward, we as church-goers should respect their willingness to serve. In the body of Christ, it might be said that deacons are the hands.
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