Deacons as Ministers of Benevolent Care

The need for deacons initially arose to ensure that widows received proper care in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6:1). This benevolent activity for those in need is at the heart of Christian duty and devotion (Jam 1:27). For a church to do this in a biblical manner requires proper attention and oversight, which deacons can facilitate.

First, they should determine which widows require church assistance. A widow having close family members, especially believing ones, does not require church benevolence; deacons should encourage their close family to care for her instead (1 Tim 5:4816). Second, she should be past the age of marriage and unable to provide income for herself (1 Tim 5:911-1214). Third, she should demonstrate exemplary Christian character (1 Tim 5:3). An exemplary widow should manage her finances in a frugal, sacrificial, faith-based manner, being a good steward of the resources God provides for her (Luke 21:2-3). In contrast, she should not spend her resources frivolously on pleasure (1 Tim 5:6). Furthermore, she should engage in regular prayer as a habit of life, using discretionary time to intercede for her needs and the needs of the church (Luke 2:36-381 Tim 5:5). She should not engage in gossip, but should involve herself in whatever church ministry venues and good works she able to perform (1 Tim 5:1-10).

Widows who meet these qualifications should be accounted for by the church (1 Tim 5:9). The biblical phrase “taken into the number”means “to enroll, or to put on a list.” Who should manage this list and care for the widows on it? Ideally, the deacons will perform this function. This benevolent care ministry requires financial allocation and disbursement in responsible ways. It also requires visits to the homes and hospitals to maintain contact with these widows. These visits should include prayer, Bible study, patient listening, assessing needs, and providing help beyond money, such as necessary transportation, house projects, and other helpful errands.

Beyond this ministry to the godly widows in a church, deacons should also be assigned oversight of other needs for benevolent care that may diminish the ability of the pastors to focus on prayer and Bible teaching. This breadth of responsibility overlaps with another aspect of deacon ministry.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *