What is a Deacon?

As a church, we really must emphasize the need for male spiritual leadership. It is sadly lacking in the world and most families suffer from the absence of a man that will take a stand spiritually for the health and safety of the family God has given him. During the next couple of Sundays our congregation will look at the possibility of asking our Elders to shepherd us with the assistance of appointed Deacons. Our Elders want us to have Deacons that will be fully qualified male spiritual leaders, ably suited to fulfilling responsibilities needed to keep our congregation working and meeting God’s expectations.

The word “Deacon” is a special word and has it’s root in the ancient Greek idea of a servant that follows up on a work. He is a worker that can see a project to the end. Efficiency and accomplishment are his middle name. He is not just a worker, he is an experienced and proven laborer that makes sure a job is done right.

In Acts 6, we have an example of what Deacons are supposed to be, and the word is used as a verb, instead of a noun in verse 1, translated, ministry. It is a little like the word describing what an Evangelist does by doing evangelism. Likewise the word describing what a Deacon does is ministry (Diakonia). These men which the Apostles appointed in verses 3-6, are ready to do a physical job, while holding spiritual qualifications. There is so little told to us about them, so the Apostle Paul elaborates on the qualifications in his letter to Timothy (1st Timothy 3:8-12). The reason these men are holding qualifications, is because they will be held accountable for their work by the Leaders of the church which appoints them.

It is very interesting that the Christian named Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25 is called a minister-leitourgon, brother-adelphon,
co-worker-synergon, messenger-apostolon, and a soldier-systratroten, but he is never referred to as a Deacon! Yet it was obvious that Epaphroditus did the work of a Deacon. It is obvious that he didn’t hold the position because he was never appointed. Perhaps he was missing one of God’s qualifications? Who knows, maybe he wasn’t married? Whatever the case, his example is set for all of us to follow in service for each other. Just because you don’t hold all the qualifications does not mean you should not be busy working for the Lord. Another example is a sister Phoebe, commended by Paul (Romans 16:1). She is called a deacon of the church in Cencherea by Paul, but she was obviously not an appointed Deacon who held the qualifications, because of what Paul wrote to Timothy. One of the qualifications of a Deacon is that he must be a husband, and that was impossible for Phoebe. She was probably the wife of an appointed Deacon and did the work of a Deacon with her husband. The likely reason for Paul describing her as a Deacon is because of her unity with her husband as an appointed Deacon. But obviously she didn’t hold the office, and it was her husband that would be held accountable if anything went wrong with their ministry.

Being a husband, is one of the requirements a man must have proven, before he can be appointed a Deacon. Why? Because a Christian husband is fully aware of how much physical work is involved in executing spiritual leadership in a family. Providing your wife and children spiritual food, worship, teaching and an example, means that a husband must work to get that all accomplished physically. It’s not just about leading a prayer at the dinner table, but rather, the physical work involved in encouraging your wife and children to be a integral part of the church. There is real labor needed in getting this job done so well, that the leaders of the church can see that your wife and children actually want to be a part of the church. That is why Deacons are appointed servants of the church which have proven they can finish a job well, they are personally involved in the details of meeting people’s physical needs for a spiritual purpose.

Let us pray and learn that a Deacon should be exactly what God’s word shares with us. Therein lay a Church that can be working to please God, and not ourselves.

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