Deacons and Deaconesses are now under the care of the Ministerial Association! In October 2013, the General Conference (GC) Executive Committee during its Annual Council took a historic action. It voted to assign to the Ministerial Association the responsibility of caring for the global team of deacons and deaconesses.
It is evident that Jesus’ ministry as a servant provides the theological foundation for the ministry of deacons and deaconesses. Jesus’ mission on this earth was to serve others rather than to be served. This was His model for ministry. As they follow Jesus’ example, they are to enlist the members of the church into a life of service. We need to recognize that even though we have many people serving in the church, deacons and deaconesses are the ones who should have a deep spirit of service.
- Our worldwide Church today has more than 20 million members attending more than 150,000 congregations (organized churches and companies)—and is still growing! Certainly, we need more people who are well-trained to serve our growing Church in a variety of ministries.
- We have almost 30,000 pastors to care for all our congregations and church members. If every pastor preaches in a specific church each Sabbath, we still have more than 100,000 churches without a pastor. Fortunately, we have approximately 250,000 local church elders and company directors to step in and serve.
- While we have a great number of elders and company directors helping our pastors, by God’s grace we also have about 700,000 deacons and deaconesses who are called to serve their churches and congregations as a team with pastors and other local church leaders.
The work of deacons and deaconesses is multi-faceted. Here are a few examples of the main roles they perform in the local church or congregation:
- Visiting church members in their homes
- Reclaiming missing members and backsliders
- Supporting and helping the sick, the elderly, the disabled, and the bereaved
- Caring for and relieving the poor and aiding the unfortunate
- Caring for and maintaining the church property
- Teaching God’s Word when situations demand it
- Serving the church in a variety of areas: the worship service, Sabbath School, the Communion service, baptismal ceremonies, funerals, and other church functions
These leaders are the right hands of our pastors and elders in their local congregation. It is impossible to imagine how our Church would work without their volunteer participation.
The impact the original deacons had on the early church was astounding: “The word of God increased; and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly” (Acts 6:7). Today is no different. Deacons and deaconesses are also invited to be soul-winners, witnesses for Jesus, and to bring others into a saving relationship with the Lord. They are making a great difference!
We salute and welcome them to the leadership umbrella of the Ministerial Association and to this brand new segment of our Web site!
"It is my privilege to introduce the new and first-ever Seventh-day Adventist Deacon’s and Deaconess’s Handbook published by the General Conference Ministerial Association. This handbook is designed to inspire, enlighten, advise, challenge, train, and motivate this wonderful army of servant-leaders at the local church level. I highly recommend this handbook to each leader in all levels of our church structure, and kindly encourage all administrators to consider making financial provision to order enough copies of this important resource for all deacons and deaconesses of their respective territories. Let us support the hands of those who are providing such tremendous support for our local churches and their mission outreach. They form part of the great foundation of God’s believers who will turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6) by sharing Christ, His righteousness, His sanctuary message, His three angels’ messages and His soon second coming!"
—Ted N. C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists