the flock under care of Deacon

New Testament Deacon

If we go back a few generations, the centrality of the family unit was normal in the cadence of society. Through the industrial revolution the functions of the family unit started to change. With industrialization families moved off from the land and into cities and suburbs. Few today have even faint awareness of the radical impact that industrialization has had on the world. The transition from an industrial world over the past fifty years has brought us into the post-modern consumerist society. Consumerism has not real awareness of needs, as there always appears to be plenty. Despite these changes, and to some sense because of these changes, the needy remain with us – even if kept out of sight.

In many ways it falls to the church to reorient its members around the life of the family. The Covenant community is a family of family units, some of which will always have profound earthly needs. The early Christian church grew up in Synagogues, established new places of worship variously called synagogues, congregations, or churches.

When Judas [1] left the Passover feast in the upper room, because he took his money-bag with him, the disciples thought he had left the meeting to give something to the poor. Beggars would sit along the major passage ways hoping to receive alms [2] (gifts) from the generous passerby.

In his letter to the Philippians in Greece (approx. 62 A.D.) the apostle Paul addresses all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons. Clearly, the office of the deacon was a well established carry-over from the Old Testament church.

God instituted the office of deacon, or Diaconate, to serve the earthly and spiritual needs of the church by looking after its practical and external needs, alleviating the burden of the elders (ruling elders and ministers) so that they can focus on the deeper needs of teaching, praying for and with the people, and providing spiritual oversight to the church (Acts 6:1–6). The Session has responsibilities that must be well fulfilled for the spiritual well-being of the local church, they must guide and assist her members in their walk of life, and thus the role of the deacon is of great importance since “it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables”  (Acts 6:2).

[1] John 13:29

[2] Matthew 20:29-30; Acts 3:2