Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy…To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers (elders) and deacons.
Over the last year we have seen several ordinations of deacons across our C2C family of churches. In light of this questions can arise like, “whats a deacon and what do they do?” There is a real need in the evangelical and charismatic world to restore the Biblical idea of deacons.
Over the last 2000 years of church history various movements have taken Biblical terms like “elder” and “deacon,” and applied them to different positions and people. Unfortunately, the applications of the terms are varied. This is especially true for deacons. In much of recent history (the past 200 years) the role of deacons has been greatly minimized when compared to what we see in Scripture. In many Charismatic and Evangelical circles the term “deacon” has been applied to people who took care of serving the practical needs of the church (give them a title and they will feel better about serving). Others saw them as groups who provide leadership in the practical business areas of the church. In the worst case scenarios some saw them as groups who help keep the spiritual leaders in check.
Five New Testament facts revealing that the idea of deacons has been minimized and Biblical patterns need to be restored.
1. Acts 6 group (most of the orthodox church see this group as the first deacon ministry in the church) administrated the feeding of over 5000 people each day. This was no small task. We used to help serve an Chrismas time outreach in Mexico in which we fed around 5000 people and it took weeks of preparation. Can you imagine doing it daily with no Wal Marts? It was nothing short of an administrative miracle.
2. Stephen, who was part of this group preached, moved in signs and wonders, and initiated significant breakthrougs in the Spiritual realm. Acts 6:8 NASB And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 3. Philip lead significant spiritual breakthroughs and is the only person in the New Testament identified as an Ephesian 4 evangelist. He was also later a leader in the church in Caesarea
Act 8:5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
Act 21:8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him.
4. Phoebe was ideatfied as a significant enough deaconess among churches that Paul appealed to the Romans to both receive and support her.
Rom 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant (Diakonos) of the church which is at Cenchrea (2) that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
5. The qualifications for elders and deacons reveal a very high standard.
Of the twenty five qualifications listed for elders and deacons seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Titus 1:5-9 Acts 6, seven of them applied to both ( Not addicted to wine, not fond of sordid gain, tested, above reproach, husband of one wife, good managers of children and household, and a good reputation).
The role of a deacon is a high calling and we need to see the dignity restored to that ministry.