WHO IS A DEACONESS
A deaconess is a woman belonging to an order or sisterhood dedicated to the care of the sick or poor and who is engaging in other social-service duties as teaching or missionary work. The word “deacon” comes from a Greek word “diakonos” which means servant or helper. The word occurs frequently in the Christian new testament of the bible. The New testament seems to indicate that both men and women were appointed as deacons in the church. In Romans 16:1 Paul called Phoebe a deaconess “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea”. (KJV). Scholars remained confused because some believe Paul was referring to Phoebe as a mere servant and not a deacon. Deaconess is a non-clerical order developed in modern times in some protestant denominations to visit the sick, help the poor and care for women.
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF A DEACONESS?
The duties of a deaconess vary greatly among churches, but responsibilities generally include assisting with church ordinances, ministering to the needy and educating female church members. Some other duties include:
• Reporting to the head deaconess
• Visitation to the sick
• Assisting in communion service
• Caring for the congregation among others
CHARACTERISTICS OF A DEACONESS
1. FAITHFULNESS: A deaconess must be faithful in all aspect. They can be counted on and trusted with various tasks, truth and secrets 2. SINCERITY: Deaconess must not be “two-faced”. They are people of their word. They are no gossips and sincere in their communication. 3. DEACONESS MUST RUN THEIR HOME WELL: 1 Timothy 3:12 says that deaconess must be “good managers of their children and household”. They should be role models to other families. 4. DEACONESS MUST NOT BE SLANDEROUS: They should not be false accusers; they must not spread lies or rumors against the church. They use their tongue to build up the church and not break the church 5. DEACONESS MUST BE TEMPERATE: Deaconess practice self-control and restraint. They are not drawn to any excesses that might dull their spiritual discernment. 6. COMMITTED FOLLOWER: A deaconess must be a committed follower. They shouldn’t have any reason to complain over instructed duties from their superiors. 7. DEFENDER OF THE GOSPEL: A deaconess must be a defender of the word of God. They spread out the word of God to the people of God. 8. TRUSTWORTHY: Deaconess must be trustworthy, their yes is yes and no is no. They shouldn’t have any reason to tell lies or accuse anyone wrongly.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEACON, DEACONESS AND ELDER IN THE CHURCH
They are responsible for assisting the pastor by feeding the less privilege, taking charge of the church building. With deacons, pastors do have time for other activities like prayer and fasting.
Not every church has a deaconess. They are the female version of a deacon and functions in much way as a deacon. They visit the sick, help the poor, reach out to females in the church. Hence, a deaconess is important in the church. • ELDER
They are overseers of the church. They are tasked with supporting, encouraging and guiding the lower office of the deacons. Elders do more of spiritual oversight while deacons do more of physical activities of the church.
BIBLICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE POSITION OF A DEACON
• 1 Timothy 3:8-10 says “likewise must the deacons be brave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience; and let these also first be proved, then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless” (KJV).
• Philippians 1:1 says “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons (KJV).
Deaconess are official servants of the church. As the ministries in the church grow, they are officially recognized to support the ministry. Also we must remember that God has called us all to be faithful servants.