Deacons Mobilize the Church to Care for One Another
Acts 6:1–7; Romans 16:1–2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8–15
Deacons are servants to the church. Biblically qualified members are set apart
as deacons with the primary duty to assist the church in caring for one another. Deacons ar
e not expected to do all of the caring, but they are identified as men and women who are able to mobilize the church to care for one another.
The role of deacon was established in the biblical era of the church in order to relieve the elders from the important but demanding task of ensuring every person in the church is properly cared for in tangible ways. This necessity was first identified when certain widows were unintentionally being neglected (Acts 6:1–7). To this end, deacons keep a support list that records names and needs within the church. They then call on members to meet these needs for one another. This list is also shared on a regular basis with the elders so that the elders are kept aware of the needs in the congregation.
In addition to keeping a support list, the deacons have the following responsibilities:
1. Collect and disburse the Care Fund according to need.
2. Assist the elders in visitation and prayer for the congregation.
3. Establish ministries that might assist the church in caring for one another (e.g. food cupboard).
We affirm that the Bible clearly differentiates the roles and functions of men and women within the home and the church. Though men and women are equal bearers of God’s image and in all matters of salvation, men are to exercise headship under Christ in both spheres of life. In the church this is especially attested by the authority and teaching office that is vested in male elders. We permit women to serve as deacons for several reasons:
1. Deacons (male or female) are not to exercise any form of headship in the church.
a. They are not to have authority.
b. They are not to be teachers in their capacity as deacons.
2. In 1 Timothy 3:1–7, there are no qualifications stated for the wives of elders. In light of this, we interpret 1 Timothy 3:11 to list qualifications for women deacons, not wives of deacons. These qualifications run parallel with the qualifications given for men deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8. The original Greek clearly allows for this.
3. We understand Phoebe to be a woman deacon from the church at Cenchreae. Though the Greek word literally means “servant,” we believe the context to be identifying Phoebe as a recognized deacon, in the sense of office, not merely character.
In sum, deacons execute an important servant-role in the church, mobilizing us to care for one another just as the Bible calls on us to do.
Currently we have 4 deacons:
Doug Check (Chair)
Gord & Muriel Williams