God teaches us through His Word that local churches are to have men serving as deacons. The word "deacon" simply means "servant." Although it can refer to anyone who serves in any capacity, the New Testament occassionally uses "deacon" to denote a special office of service in the local church.
Paul addressed the Phillippian letter to "all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and DEACONS" (Phil. 1:1, emphasis added). In the mind of Paul, deacons played a crucial role in the church. Their position was prominent enough that they were specifically mentioned in the salutation.
Elsewhere, Paul provides qualifications for the men who are to serve as deacons. These qualficiations are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. This role is not to be filled with just anyone who is willing, but there is a certain quality of character they must possess. The men who serve us as deacons are men who we believe to be qualified according to God's standard.
Finally, the work of deacons is simple and significant. Acts 6:1-7 gives us an example of qualified men who, although not specifically called deacons, were appointed to serve the church in an official capacity. These men were to be appointed so that they could make sure all of the needy saints were physically provided for. From this we can deduce that the area of the deacons' service is phsyical in nature. The importance of this work should not go unnoticed. The apostles said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.... But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:2, 4). These special servants oversaw the physical needs of the church so that the apostles could focus their time and energy on the spiritual needs of the church. Similarly, our deacons serve the church in physical areas so that our elders and evangelist can focus on spiritual things.
The church at Woodland Hills is blessed to have six men currently serving as deacons:
|C. O. Richey