The Office of Deacon
(from the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Statement adopted by the annual Conference, 1983)
The Church of the Brethren has found the Office of Deacon deeply significant throughout its history. One of the set-apart ministries is that of the deacon. The deacon body responds to personal needs of its congregation as a part of the church’s total ministry. The specific tasks of the deacon body have varied throughout Brethren history.
Brethren are currently experiencing renewed interest in the Office of Deacon. With this interest has come a call for guidance in understanding and structuring the service of deacons in the life of the church.
DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF DEACON
The deacon body’s central interest is the spiritual and physical well-being of the church family. Its duties differ significantly from the tasks of commissions, whose responsibilities are expressed in programs aimed to support, nurture, teach, and direct the ministry and mission of all the congregation. In contrast, the deacon body is concerned with the personal needs of congregational members.
In considering the tasks and roles of deacons, it seems wise to express central principles which may guide the executive committee and the deacon body as they consider what concrete practical acts and forms of service will best serve the congregation in any given time and place.
The ministries include:
1. Ministry at baptism and assistance with new converts
2. Ministry at the love feast and communion
3. Ministry to the poor and needy in the congregation
4. Ministry to the sick and shut-ins of the congregation
5. Ministry of reconciliation and restoration
6. Ministry through a shepherding program
7. Ministry to the bereaved
8. Other ministries