OPC Book of Church Order: Deacons

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Chapter XI: Deacons

  1. The Scriptures designate the office of deacon as distinct and perpetual in the church. Deacons are called to show forth the compassion of Christ in a manifold ministry of mercy toward the saints and strangers on behalf of the church. To this end they exercise, in the fellowship of the church, a recognized stewardship of care and of gifts for those in need or distress. This service is distinct from that of rule in the church.

  2. Those chosen to this office should be of great faith, exemplary lives, honest repute, brotherly love, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.

  3. In order to facilitate the performance of the duties of their office the deacons of each particular church shall be constituted a board of deacons. The board shall choose its own officers from its membership.

  4. The board shall oversee the ministry of mercy in the church and shall collect and disburse funds for the relief of the needy. Other forms of service for the church may also be committed to the deacons.

  5. In the discharge of their duties the deacons shall be under the supervision and authority of the session. Accordingly, the board shall keep a record of its proceedings and of all funds and their distribution, and shall submit its records to the session once every three months, and at other times upon request of the session. If it seems to be for the best interest of the church, the session may require the board of deacons to reconsider any action, or may, if necessary, overrule it.

  6. It is desirable that the session and the board of deacons meet together at regular intervals to confer on matters of common responsibility.

  7. In a church in which there are no deacons, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the session.

From the The Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (2015 edition).

Principles for the Ministry of Mercy


Following the example of our Savior, who though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that we by His poverty might become rich, it is the duty of all saintsto be hospitable and to come to the aid of one another in material things, according totheir various abilities and necessities.

The deacons should encourage members of the church to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share in order to provide for those in want, especially those in the household of faith, such provision to include not only monetary gifts or tangible gifts in kind (i.e., food, clothing, and shelter), but also an appropriate ordering of their affairs so as to be able to volunteer their time and skills to bless and assist those in wan

Principles of Diaconal Ministry


Diaconal ministry adorns the gospel when it provides tangible evidence of the love of God and of his messengers for the lost of this world. Indeed, in certain circumstances of extreme hardship the ministry of the Word can be virtually unintelligible apart from a ministry of deed.

Report of the Committee to Study the Principles of Diaconal Ministry


Para-ecclesiastical relief groups, while serving a crucial purpose at present, should actively implement a practical plan for the transfer of their ministries to churches—either through regular diaconal channels or through diaconal evangelism ministries to unevangelized populations of suffering people.

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