I am delighted to announce that during the 2013 General Conference Annual Council, it was voted to assign to the Ministerial Association the responsibility of caring for deacons and deaconesses worldwide.
The plan is that the Ministerial Association, in cooperation
with administration and other church departments, be
responsible for fostering the training and equipping of deacons
and deaconesses. However, the district pastor, in partnership
with the local conference/mission, elders, or other
people he or she designates, will still be responsible for the
actual training of deacons and deaconesses.
It is good to remember that Jesus’ mission on this earth was to serve others rather than to be served. This was His model for ministry. The Greek words for “serve” or “served” come from the root word diakoneo, which is derived from the word “deacon”—a gender-inclusive term.
So, it is evident that Jesus’ ministry as a servant provides
the theological foundation for the ministry of deacons
and deaconesses. 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.
Let me share with you a few numbers to highlight
the importance of this select group of spiritual
• Our worldwide Church today has
approximately 18 million members attending
more than 140,000 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
| EDITORIAL JONAS ARRAIS
Jonas Arrais | General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary
pastor. Fortunately, we have approximately 250,000 local
church elders and company directors to step in and serve.
• These leaders are the right hands of our pastors. It
is impossible to imagine how our Church would work without
their volunteer participation. They are recognized as copastors,
and they are doing a great work.
• 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. They are making
a great difference!
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
• Serving the church in a variety of areas: the worship service, Sabbath School, the communion service, baptismal
ceremonies, and funerals
• Teaching God’s Word when situations demand it
The talent of service is a gift from God. It would be impossible
for our churches to work properly without the participation
of this gifted group of leaders.
The impact the 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 invited to be
soul-winners, witnesses for Jesus, and to bring others into
a saving relationship with the Lord.
For these and many other reasons, we salute and welcome
them! As a ministerial team committed to God and
to His mission, we will do our part to work together to see
Jesus coming very soon!