ABCs of the PCA: Deacons

Continuing in our "ABCs of the PCA" series, we will look at the office of Deacon. What is a Deacon? How does the role of Deacon differ from that of Elder? How are Deacons chosen? We hope to answer these questions today.

Many people presume the office of Deacon to be below the office of Elder - the "lesser" of the two. Maybe you've thought of the Elders as the board members and the Deacons as the janitors. But this isn't an accurate representation of the roles. In Acts 6:1-7, we see the establishment of the office of Deacon:

"Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith."

The word deacon is derived from the Greek word "diakonos," which means "helper." In the early church, the disciples could not care both for the spiritual needs and the physical needs of the congregation. So men were ordained as Deacons to see to the physical needs so that the elders could devote themselves "to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And Stephen, the first Deacon ever mentioned, is described as "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." This office was created to serve the body and to allow the Elders to spend all of their time overseeing the spiritual health of the church - each vital roles.

The PCA Book of Church Order (BCO) decribes this office as "one of sympathy and service, after the example of the Lord Jesus; it expresses also the communion of saints, especially in their helping one another in time of need." The BCO also points to 1 Timothy 3:8-15 as a reference for the qualifications of a Deacon:

"Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that,15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth."

Like Elders, Deacons are elected by the congregation and ordained and installed by the Session. Some of the duties of a Deacon include but are not limited to:


  • To minister to the needs of the sick, the downtrodden, and any member who may be in distress


  • To devise effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people
  • To distribute these gifts 


  • To keep the church building and grounds in proper repair

Some of you may be wondering - does an officer have to serve as a Deacon before he can become an Elder? Great question! The answer is no. We have many Elders that were never Deacons, and some who were Deacons before becoming Elders. Likewise, we have Deacons who have served as Elders in the past. Both offices are vital to the health of Westminster.

So, much like the office of Elder, Deacons have much to oversee! Please pray for our Deacons, and let them know of any needs that need to be met. Our Deacons are here to make sure that your physical needs are met so that our Elders can oversee all of your spirutal needs. Westminster is grateful to have officers that love our body well and serve her so faithfully!

Westminster Deacons

Joseph Gorman
Rob Joiner
Mischa McCray, Chairman
McLeod Meek
Wally Montgomery
Bob Morgan, Treasurer
John Patridge
Neil Pillow
Johnny Smith, Secretary
Luke Uithoven
Matthew Waldrop

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.