The best definition I have ever heard to describe a deacon is a man chosen to serve or do a job related to the congregation that is too important to be left up to chance. This seems to be what is taking place in Acts 6:1-6; the choosing of “the seven” to help feed the widows. Although in this passage what we might call the “office of deacon” is not specifically mentioned, it does set an example of what deacons are expected to do and that is to serve the needs of the congregation.
Today deacons are still needed to help our elders and the congregation. Just as the feeding of widows could not be left up to chance, today there are many jobs within the congregation that are too important to be left up to chance or neglected.
Think about some of the jobs that must take place for a congregation to scripturally function and properly grow as God intended.
For example, the assigning men to lead in worship, the stewardship of the finances of the church, benevolent needs, the building and grounds kept up, youth, missions, technology, and fellowship gatherings of the church. These are just some of the jobs that are too important to be left up to chance.
Deacons are needed to serve in these different areas. No one person can do all these jobs properly. The Apostles even remind us in Act 6:2, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.” The work of the church is a group effort, the preacher, elders, and church members all have their responsibilities as well as the deacons. Deacons are men who are needed to help to serve and see that the most important jobs are not left up to chance or neglected.
Mark T. Tonkery
Norval Park church of Christ