To render assistance at services and meetings, as stated in the Church Manual, deacons and deaconesses must be present at all services of the church, such as Sabbath School, AYS, and mid-week prayer meetings. Therefore, the deacon(s) assigned to open the doors should arrive at least an hour before Sabbath School begins. He is to also adjust the temperature so that the church is properly heated or cooled for the service. Other deacons and deaconesses, who will serve as greeters and ushers, should arrive at least 30 minutes before Sabbath School begins.

It is important that all deacons and deaconesses attend Sabbath School. They should study the lesson carefully and be prepared to teach a class if needed. Since their calling is a spiritual calling and they are equipped to teach the Word of God, it would be appropriate for those who are interested in teaching to inform the Sabbath School Council of their interest in serving as teachers or assistant teachers.

The presence of deacons and deaconesses at AYS speaks volumes to the youth of the church. It indicates that church leaders have an interest in their development. By attending these meetings, deacons and deaconesses have an opportunity to establish a rapport with the youth. AYS can also serve as a practicum for junior deacons and deaconesses. These junior officers can take the lead in carrying out the responsibilities in which the adult deacons and deaconesses have mentored them.

Although it is not necessary for junior deacons to dress in uniform at AYS, they should, however, dress appropriately— that is, they should not dress faddishly, their clothing should fit properly, and their hair should be appropriately cut and styled. They are to recognize that they are the spiritual leaders among the youth and should seek to set a godly example for them.

Some of the duties that junior deacons and deaconesses can assist with at AYS include collecting the offering and helping to maintain reverence. At the close of the meeting, they can put hymnals and Bibles back in the pew racks, pick up trash, and take forgotten items to the lost-and-found area. It is important that at least one adult deacon and deaconess be present at AYS to give support to junior deacons and deaconesses and to address any emergencies that may arise.

Deacons and deaconesses should also make every effort to attend mid-week prayer meetings. Their presence is just as important as that of the pastor and elders. They, too, are spiritual leaders of the church; and they are to set an example for the membership. The pastor and first elder may choose to schedule them to participate in the program. They may lead the song service, take prayer requests and testimonies, or present a message from time to time. But even when they are not carrying out these responsibilities, the deacons should arrive early to open the church, make sure it is properly heated or cooled, maintain reverence, collect the offering, and be supportive of the pastor and elders who are leading out in the service.

When attending mid-week prayer meetings, deacons and deaconesses do not have to dress in uniform, but they should follow the principle of modesty and dress appropriately. For example, deacons could wear coats and ties; deaconesses could wear dresses, suits, or skirts and blouses. The misconception that deacons are janitors is only strengthened when they come to church inappropriately dressed. Deacons may consider keeping a set of work clothes in their cars or at the church for emergency situations.

The head deacon and head deaconess should assign deacons and deaconesses to each of the church services. Their presence will encourage many other members to participate.

Vincent E. White, Sr., D.Min., is a retired pastor and author of The Twenty-First Century Deacon and Deaconess: Reflecting the Biblical Model; The Twenty-First Century Deacon and Deaconess: Reflecting the Biblical Model Workbook; and Problem Solvers and Soul Winners: A Handbook for Deacons and Deaconesses. These resources are available at