The office of deacon is described in the New Testament (1 Tim. 3:8-13), where the Greek word diakonos is used from which the English “deacon” is derived. The Greek word is variously interpreted as “servant, minister, writer, attendant ” and in Christian circles acquired the specialized meaning now attached to “deacon.” Scripture clearly endorses the office in the New Testament church: “They that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13).
Deaconesses were included in the official staff of the early Christian churches. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:1, 2, RSV).
On this authority, our church elects some of its members to serve as deacons and deaconesses in eminently practical ways, caring for several aspects of church services, as well as for church property.
Our Church deacons and deaconesses serve in a variety of functions including:
Assistance at Worship Services
Deacons generally take a lead role in ensuring that the Church building is open and are responsible for tasks which include serving on the platform, collecting tithes, gifts and offerings as well as welcoming visitors and members and ushering.
Deaconesses greet and welcome members and visitors as they enter the church and for assisting them, where necessary, to find seats.
Deacons and deaconesses cooperate with the pastor and elders for smooth functioning of the worship service.
Assistance at Communion Service
Communion is an important celebration of the Lord’s death and resurrection till he comes again. Before the communion service begins, 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.
In the celebration of the ordinance of foot-washing, the deacons and deaconesses provide everything needed for the service, such as towels, basins, water, and buckets. After the service they see that the utensils and linen are washed and properly stored. They ensure the remaining bread and wine is not consumed, but disposed of in a respectful manner following the Lord’s Supper.
Assistance at Baptismal Services
Deacons and deaconesses make the necessary preparations for baptismal services e.g. preparation of the pool, baptismal garments and towels for baptismal candidates. They also assist the candidates in and out of the baptismal pool.
Fellowship Sabbath Lunch for members and the community
Deacons and Deaconesses are part of the hospitality team. Deacons assist in setting up tables and chairs for Sabbath Lunches and Deaconesses working together with other church members assist in preparing and serving lunches and assist in clearing and cleaning up after the lunch.
Visitation of Members
Wherever possible, Deacons and Deaconesses participate in visitation with the Elders and Pastor of the church. They pray with them and offer them encouragement.
Care and Maintenance of Church Property
Deacons play an active part in ensuring the Church is secure. Deacons and Deaconesses assist in the regular cleaning of the church and ensuring it is well maintained.