I need to return to my discussion on the role of the deacons in the church before continuing. We said that the Greek word “diakonos” was synonymous with those for minister and servant and examined some of the contexts in which these words were used. In order to fully understand the role, we examined the role of three of the ministers who worked closely with Paul. Timothy was one of them, but we have spoken about him in detail, so I will not rehash. Today I will speak about the job description of the deacon, much of it being similar to that of the bishop.
Job Title: Deacon (diakonos).
Definitions/synonyms – minister, servant(diakonos).
* Works closely with and under the supervision of the ministry leader to perform any assigned task (may travel with the leader as Paul’s ministers did for the purpose of assisting him/her in the work of the ministry).
* Performs administrative duties as assigned in the church/churches e.g. Food Pantry (Acts 6)
* Labours in the word and doctrine as follows:
1. Teaching of sound word and doctrine/steward of the mysteries of the faith – 1 Tim 3:9.
2. Assists the leader in discipline of members of the body, reconciliation and any similar task e.g. Titus to Corinth, Tychicus returned Onesimus to his master.
3. Holds ministerial charge of churches as assigned/acts as liaisons between the members and leaders e.g. Paul deployed his team members to varying churches to assess their spiritual condition and perform other functions.
Purpose of the role
* To equip the saints so that they mature and become like Christ in character and power and also to ensure that the work of the ministry is continued (Eph 4: 11 – 15)
* The deacon is part of the leader’s succession plan for continuity of leadership in the body of Christ.
* Paul said that anyone in the office of the deacon holds an influential position in the body and I believe that this strengthens the concept of teaching by example.
Ministerial prerequisites for the job
* Any elder who fulfilled the prerequisites
Requirements: (1 Tim 3: 7-14)
*grave/sober, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre
* teaches the pure and sound word of God (Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience).
* must be mature in the faith, not a novice (1 Tim 3: 10)
* has a good reputation (1 Tim 3: 10)
* husband of one wife (1 Tim 3: 12)
* Wives must have a good reputation (1 Tim 3: 11)
* In control of his/her household (1 Tim 3: 12)
* has a bold Christian witness/known for his/her faith in the community (1 Tim 3: 13)
Job duties (also see job summary)
* Assist leader to teach the pure word, correct, reprove etc as assigned.
* Set in order things that are out of order – e.g Titus 1 :5, Paul in his letters to the believers
* defend the body of Christ and the faith from false teachers (Acts 20: 28 – 31, Gal 2: 4-5)
* Teach sound doctrine by correction, reproof and instruction in righteousness (Acts 20: 27; 2 Tim 3: 16)
* Perform any ministry function as assigned by the Holy Spirit and/or leader e.g healing, casting out devils etc.
* Intercede for the believers e.g. Epaphras
Deacons are elders in the body of Christ who serve in many and/or any role as assigned. The role is that of the servant, after the example of Christ. This job description can be expanded and is not exhaustive.
Any elder in the office of the deacon has a perfect opportunity to advance in the leadership line. As we see, Timothy and Titus were next in line for promotion to the office of bishop although they did not know it. Paul had groomed them well.
We must remember that titles mean nothing if there is no proof of the ministry (2 Tim 4: 5). Blessings until next time!