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Why Don’t More Deacons Become Deacons?

Way back in 1979, Star Bible Publications, Inc., published a booklet written by Texas preacher Charles Hodge entitled, God's Deacons. In the first chapter of the booklet (entitled, "Deacons Are No Joke") Brother Hodge wrote these provocative words about the men the Bible describes as "deacons" — "There are few books, seminars, sermons, given deacons. Brethren are taught to love elders but not deacons. We have glorified elders and forgotten deacons. Mothers want their boys to become preachers and elders but not deaconsHave you ever heard anyone say, `The goal of my life is to be a great deacon?' Any man too big to be a deacon is too little to be an elder!. . . .Why don't more deacons become elders? By the way, why don't more deacons become deacons?" (DG)

Do more deacons need to become deacons? To answer that question, you need to do some study on what the New Testament says about deacons. The word translated "deacon" has a general usage in the New Testament and often means "serve, served, serving, service, servant` (Matthew 26:20; John 2:5; John 12:26; Romans 16:1, etc.). But it is also used at least five times to describe an official, select group of men who serve the church in specific and important ways (see Philippians 1:1; 1st Timothy 3:8, 10, 12, 13). Many if not most Bible scholars believe the seven men chosen in Acts 6:1-5 to oversee the needs of widows in the early Jerusalem church were the first deacons. The deacon's role is best summed up by 1 Timothy 3:10, 13 — "But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." Not just anyone can be a deacon! They are to first be "proved" (king James Version) or "tested." They must have a proven track record of faithful service to the Lord and their families. Their moral and spiritual character must be blameless — not sinless, but above provable accusation. Be especially careful to note that God honors deacons who are committed, not just to wear the title, but to "serve well." It ought to get our attention that God took up space in His word to announce a rich reward awaits those special servants who have proven and distinguished themselves as fit to wear the New Testament designation "deacon." The challenge for those selected as as deacons is not just to wear a title, but to serve well at their designated task. A question that deserves thoughtful consideration is, why wouldn't any man in Christ not want to strive to become a deacon? And perhaps equally deserving of thought, why don't more deacons become deacons?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ