Summary: Study of 3 levels of "diakonos" = deacons / servants in the Scriptures. Can be used for ordination. Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.
A Church Full of Deacons
It’s a shame that if I were to ask what are the two offices in the church, somebody would say, "I know, Jerry’s and Jeremy’s." The real answer is Pastor and Deacon. Some don’t know who their deacons are. Come tonite and you’ll find out!
Very few doctrines are as misunderstood in Baptist churches as the doctrine of the deacon…even when you hear the word deacon it conjures up all kinds of images in your mind depending upon your past experience and what churches you’ve been raised in.
If I were to ask you, what is a deacon?/what are they supposed to do?...I would get dozens of answers.
Some places like here, they fit the Biblical model. But in some places they are money hungry or power crazed, some places they are the brute squad, some places they are ladies, and in Wake Forest they are “Demons”!
Some would say that deacons form the ruling body of the church--“they run the church”—in many churches=true!
Other churches would say the deacons are the pastor police…he answers to them in all matters…they keep their thumb on him in all areas—in some churches=true!
I know of churches where the deacons represent authority and discipline…if you get out of line—watch out! Here come the deacons! —in a few churches=true! Some hear the word deacon and picture such a dry, stuffy, crusty old guy we might as well call him “Deacon Gestant” [decongestant!]
Well, what does the Bible say about the office of deacon, and the role of deacons?
The term deacon is a marvelous term…in general, it means servants. (“aren’t we all supposed to be servants?”) Yes, this message is for the whole church, and I want to show you 3 levels of servants in the church.
The Greek word for servant is diakonos (—where we get the word deacon. The word did not originally signify an office, it was simply a word for servant.
• General Servants
And the 1st servant in the Bible we’ll call a general servant—we’re all called to this.
Hundreds of Bible verses use the word diakonos, and translate it as servant, or in the context of a servant…not as a deacon. (ie: waiter—Acts 6)
The following verses all contain the word diakonos:
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served…
And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
You can see, these verses are about general servants, in the sense of cooks, butlers, and waiters.
But then, the word was broadened to include all kinds of service…for example:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God…
This is about law enforcement officers, and others in authority serving the public.
Let me show you what Jesus then did w/ the word diakonos:
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
He’s talking about general servants…and we all are deacons in that sense of the word, if we’ve been saved. We’re all deacons w/ a small “d”. We’re a church full of deacons!
(bring up example to stand as example of a general servant)
None of us have been saved to sit…but saved to serve!
So, we’re all deacons, not in the official sense, but in a general sense.
I wouldn’t want to convey the idea that the deacons serve while everyone else watches! (serving the Lord is not a spectator sport!)
We’re all to be “general servants”!
Then there’s another category:
• Gifted Servants: (bring up another example...female)
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
It’s their spiritual gift. Many here have the gift of ministry, I Cor. calls it the gift of helps, our Spiritual Gifts survey calls it “servant”. These are not just general servants, they are gifted servants.
They don’t have to be leader, they love to serve, behind the scenes, no recognition required.