Summary: A look at the biblical role of deacons in the churh

The First Deacons

July 13, 1997 Coy Wylie

The Role of Deacons

The First Deacons

Acts 6:1-7.

1. In a few weeks our church will select, ordain and install some men in our deacon body.

As we shall learn from this passage, deacons are a vital asset to any church. As your pastor,

I don’t want you to take this process lightly. We need to carefully and prayerfully consider

who should take this important office. Therefore, we need some teaching from Scripture

about the role of deacons in the local church.

2. Church tradition, especially Baptist church tradition gives much authority to the office of

deacon that is not found anywhere in the pages of Scripture. Therefore, as we begin this

introductory message on the role of deacons, we need to begin by learning what deacons are


A. Deacons do not have the responsibility of policing the pastors. No where

in the Bible are they to oversee the overseer and undershepherd of the church.

Unfortunately, many deacons have seen themselves in this role. The pastor

answers to Christ and to the congregation.

B. Deacons are not the ruling body of the church. In the N.T. the churches

usually had a plurality of elders, God-called pastors who gave spiritual

leadership to the church. The deacons served and ministered to the physical


C. Deacons are not the defenders of church tradition. In many churches, the

deacons are the guardians of the past. They become "turf shepherds" and their

most common expression is "We’ve never done it that way before."

D. Deacons are not the old men of the church. Over the years many churches

have decided that only older men could attain the office of deacon. The Bible

places no specific age requirement.

E. Deacons are the controllers of the church’s finances. There is no mention

in the N.T. of deacons controlling money. The only possible reference is that

they may have controlled benevolence funds to help widows.

F. Deacons do not have the final say-so on church decisions. Every N.T.

church is autonomous under Christ. Though deacons have a special role, they

have no more power or authority in the decision-making process than any

other member.

3. Since we have discussed what deacons are not, it is important that we also consider what

deacons are or at least what they should be. Let’s examine four roles of deacons in the


G. Deacons are SERVANTS. The word "deacon" comes from the Greek term

diakonos, which originally referred to a waiter, an attendant, one who ran

errands or other menial duties. The early church used this work to describe a

special servant commissioned by God to serve the church. The English word

"deacon" only appears 5 time in the NKJV. It does not appear in our text.

However, diakoneo the verb form is found in the phrase "serve tables" in v.6.

H. Deacons are ADVISORS. Because of the strict qualifications for deacons,

both here and especially in 1 Tim.3, deacons must be godly, spirit-filled men.

Therefore, they are often important advisors to pastors and congregations.

I. Deacons are EXAMPLES. According to 1 Tim.3:10, deacons are to be

"found blameless." They are to have such character, dedication and integrity

that others in the church can look to them as examples and role models.

J. Deacons are LEADERS. Because of the very nature of their calling and

work, deacons are to lead out in the church. As pastors lead by equipping the

church spiritually, deacons lead by equipping the church physically.

4. From this passage dealing with the calling of the very first deacons, let’s examine four

aspects of the ministry of deacons.

I. The NEED for Deacons (vv.1-2, 4).

A. Deacons were needed because the Church was Growing.

1. v.1 say "in those days" that "the number of the disciples

was multiplying." They were experiencing rapid church

growth. 2:47 says "the Lord added to the church daily those

who were being saved."

2. As the church grew, so did the problems. There were more

people to be taught, more people to be helped, more people to

be visited, more people to be fed. The infrastructure of the

church needed change.

3. Our church has the same problem, as we reach more people,

add more people and minister to more people, we need more

leaders to help meet those needs. You can’t minister to 100 the

way you did to 50. You can’t minister to 200 the way you did to

100. We can’t minister to 300 the way we do to 200!

4. We need more deacons to help us facilitate more growth!

B. Deacons were needed because the Church was Dividing.

1. There was a "complaint" raised "against the Hebrews

[Jewish believers] by the Hellenists [Greek believers] because

their widows were neglected in the daily distribution."

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

A Workman Approved
PowerPoint Template
PowerPoint Template
Abide In Christ
PowerPoint Template
Talk about it...

David Jankowski

commented on Feb 13, 2009

Right on! The idea of deacons or lay elders "supervising" pastors is not in the Bible I read. Advisors, valued advisors, is the role of deacons (or lay elders). However, I believe the relatively recent jump into the terminology of a plurality of elders comes from a misreading of the greetings of Paul to the various churches he addressed. Anyway, more churches are held back by "policy-making" lay leaders than any other single factor I know. But don''t misunderstand:lay leaders can and should be great counsellors to pastors. Mine certainly are.

Join the discussion