As in today, the early church struggled with the question on who should do the caring. Division started to develop because a group of saints was not being cared for. Should the leaders of the church make it happen or someone else? This is not to say that leaders do not care or do not take actions to show such, but when push comes to shove, who does the hospital visit when things are tight and hectic?
Meet the Servants
Read Acts 6 and you see this problem addressed. The church leaders realized a pivotal moment was at hand. Remember, the power of no is a stronger yes. The leaders said no to helping the critical need to focus to the Word and to prayer. (Many today would say that is callous.) Their no to one thing was a stronger yes to another. The elders had a solution, call out 7 above reproach men who we can trust to handle this task. These servants would serve. So that is what the church did.
Deacon means servant
In the Bible the word deacon means servant. (What many churches call deacons today are actually endearing. Every church has elders, not every church has deacons.) The role of this special group is to free up the elders to focus on the ministry of the Word and of prayer. To reach the whole world takes a diversified team of servants. The church needs people who are geared to focus on serving.
But what about my needs?!
The needs of those in the church are vitally important. So is the need of solid doctrine and prayer. To move forward on mission the church needs both. Fortunately Jesus organized his church in such a way that both can happen. We have a specialized team known as elders who are to equip the saints for their role as ministers. We have a specialized team known as deacons to help the saints with needs that may arise and that they are cared for. If a deacon serves you or your family instead of a pastor, it is not that you are less important. It means the church is acting as a diversified team as God intended.