The Work of the Diaconate

A Training Program for Deacons In the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

By James H. Trader, II
Published March 2001


This workbook is designed to be used in a 2-day retreat, 5 weekly or monthly sessions or 10 weekly or monthly sessions.  Ideally the 10 session format will be used.  Suggestions for these formats appear throughout the book.
Features of the Program

  • Discussion Based
  • Group Covenant for all members to agree to
  • Opening Prayer Time and Closing Worship for each session
  • Scripture for the beginning of each session
  • Ideas for action
  • Discussion points throughout the book
  • Questions for discussion at the end of each session
  • Suggested session and retreat models
  • Suggestions for service
  • Brief glossary of terms used in the program
  • Evaluation of the program


The thesis of this work is that Deacons and Elders, deacons especially, are underutilized, undertrained and overlooked as a force within the church.  If one of the keys to revitalizing the church from within is the increase in participation of current members then the Diaconate is a ready made body with which to begin…
Three keys to strengthening this office:

  1. A clear definition of duties
  2. Practical and efficient training
  3. Regular meetings and activities

With the study here of the history of the Diaconate and the role of the Deacon within the congregation, I hope to provide a background and show the foundation upon which the Diaconate has been built.  The study will help you determine the duties which the Diaconate should have and then allow you to create a purpose or mission statement which should serve in part as your job description.
Once the duties are defined and the structure is clear, suggestions for the efficient training of the Diaconate are given.  As the Diaconate is trained, regular meetings should follow to strengthen the training, to improve communication among Deacons, and to encourage one another in the work of the Deacon.


Introduction A Word to the Leader Group Covenant
Background for the Study of the Diaconate 1.  Origins and History –  Acts    6:1-6; I Timothy 2.  Characteristics of a Deacon –  I Timothy 3:8-13 3.  The Duties of a Deacon – Acts 6:2-4
The Local Congregation and the Diaconate 4.  The Diaconate in our Church
Outward Expressions of the Deacon 5. The Servant Leader 6.  The Deacon as Example:  Teacher, Steward, Leader, Evangelist, Member 7.  The Deacon as Worker:  Preparation Visitation, Care of the Sick
Inward Expressions of the Deacon 8.  The Deacon as Learner: Bible Study, Church History 9.  The Deacon as Spiritual Leader:  Prayer, Personal Spirituality
The Diaconate in the Service of the Church 10.  The Diaconate: Supportive, Serving and Responding
Appendices Appendix 1 – Suggested Session and Retreat Models Appendix 2 – Suggestions for Service Appendix 3 – Questionnaire (Sessions I & 10) Appendix 4 – Using this Program for Review or for Training New Deacons Appendix 5 – Brief Glossary of Terms Appendix 6 – Evaluation Sources


Cost for each book is $9.95
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