The Diaconate, a group of men and women nominated, trained, elected and appointed by the Redeemer elders and members, exists to contribute to the building of a repentant and rejoicing community through loving, truth-telling relationships where practical, visible needs are being met while hearts are being changed through encounters with Jesus and one another. We express in practical ways Christ's command to all believers to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The Diaconate is a ministry that reaches out to people in Redeemer's congregation who are in crisis or challenging circumstances and offers help in assessing their needs and working together to find solutions. Unlike elders, who are responsible for teaching the Gospel, administering healing prayer, and overseeing the church, the Diaconate (deacons and deaconesses) focus on extending mercy and compassion. Our purpose is to show God's love by trying to help people out of difficult circumstances and to be facilitators of the work God is doing in their lives.
Click on the images below to hear how the Diaconate ministers to our congregation.
The Special Office of the Diaconate
Christians are qualified for ministry by gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some gifts require formal public recognition for their proper functioning. Such gifts constitute an office in God's calling and in the church's recognition.
It is clear from 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Philippians 1:1 that deacons were officers of the apostolic church along with bishops or elders. (The remaining passage where the noun diakonos may refer to such an office is Romans 16:1). Although the Apostle gives qualifications for the office in 1 Timothy and sets it beside the office of the bishop in his address to the Philippians, he does not in these passages describe its function. The term diakonos in its general use means 'servant.'
What can we learn from Acts 6? First, that diaconal ministry was an organized ministry of the church, distinct from the ministry of the Word, and second, that diaconal ministry can be given to officers who specialize in its coordination and work. How do we know, then, what the essence of diaconal ministry is? In favor of regarding diaconal ministry as focusing on works of mercy is the constant use of the verb to describe such ministry, often in connection with serving food (Mt. 4:11; 8:15; 25:44; 27:55; Mark 1:13, 31; 15:41; Lk. 4:39; 8:3; 10:40; 12:37; 17:8; 22:26, 27; Jn. 12:2; Acts 6:2; Romans 15:25; 2 Tim. 1:18; Philemon 13; Hebrews 6:10).
When the verb is widened to include the ministry of other gifts, this original force may still be felt (1 Pet. 4:10, 11). In a similar way the noun diakonia often refers to ministry to physical needs (Lk. 10:40; Acts 11:29; 12:25; 1 Cor. 16:15; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 12, 13.) This is particularly the case in which service to the saints is spoken.
To learn more about the ministry of deacons / deaconesses, please visit the Diaconate ministry pages.