Church Deacon Responsibilities

Written by sarah badger
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Church Deacon Responsibilities
Deacons take responsibility to meet the material needs of their church. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

In the Bible, several New Testament books including Acts and First Timothy outline the basic qualifications and roles of deacons in the Christian church. Most Protestant churches today use the biblical descriptions of this position as guidelines for determining what duties and responsibilities their deacons will perform. Although the exact duties of a deacon vary from denomination to denomination, the position primarily entails taking care of the church's physical needs so that pastors and elders may focus on the spiritual ones.

Benevolence Ministries

One of the responsibilities of church deacons is to help meet the physical and emotional needs of people in the church and the community. In the sixth chapter of the book of Acts, deacons are selected to look after and feed the widows and children being neglected in the daily distribution of relief. Traditionally, ministries that serve the needy or provide hospitality to members of the community are known as benevolence ministries. Deacons organise, oversee and conduct benevolence ministries which may include community meals, clothing drives and charitable donations to needy families.

Building Maintanence

While elders and pastors focus on preaching the Word of God, prayer and spiritual counselling, deacons may be responsible for seeing to the practical matter of church building maintenance. In smaller congregations, all deacons take part in maintaining the church's building, but deacons of moderately sized and large churches often create a specific church maintenance committee. Deacons see to necessary repairs and renovations in the church's building and oversee grounds maintenance. They may also be responsible for supervising and coordinating a janitorial staff or cleaning efforts at the church.

Administrative and Organizational Tasks

Often, deacons will manage and assist the church's administrative staff, or serve as administrators themselves. From the creation of the church budget to planning outreach activities, deacons help ensure that the practical concerns of church life run smoothly. Deacons also need to stay up-to-date on the needs and attitudes of church members in order to organise methods and ministries to meet their needs. Deacons usually work closely with the church secretary and, in some denominations and congregations, one deacon may volunteer to act as the church treasurer.

Worship Services

While senior pastors, assistant pastors and music ministers preach and conduct weekly worship services, deacons also play a pivotal role. In many church congregations, deacons act as greeters and ushers, welcoming visitors and helping service attendees find seats. Elders typically distribute bread and wine or grape juice for communion, but deacons may step into this role or assist if needed. Deacons are entirely responsible for the distribution of communion in churches where they serve entirely in lieu of elders.

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