Deacons 101

Deacons Are New

In 1996 the United Methodist Church underwent a major re-ordering of ministry with the creation of an Order of permanent Deacons ordained to Word and Service. Before this time individuals were ordained as deacons prior to being ordained as elders. Ordination as deacon served as a stepping stone, a provisional period before becoming an elder within the United Methodist Church. In addition, there were, and continue to be, lay persons consecrated as diaconal ministers and deaconesses. The creation of the Order of Deacons sought to fuse all of these strands by establishing a form of ordained ministry that is unique from the elder and charged with the task of connecting the church and the world. Today Deacons are ordained to a lifetime of ministry and serve in various roles inside and outside the church.

Deacons Are Different than Elders

Read here to learn about the differences between Deacons, Elders, and Local Pastors.

Deacons Are Ordained to Word and Service

Deacons are called by God and set apart by the Church through ordination to lead in the ministries of Word and Service. For each Deacon, the expression of Word and Service is unique. For some, Word is expressed in preaching and teaching. For others it might be in poetry or song. Service may include leading youth on a mission trip, establishing a food pantry at a local church, forming an after school program, or administrating a social service non-profit.

Becoming a Deacon

Interested in becoming a deacon? Visit the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s website here.

Contact your pastor, deacon, or district superintendent to learn more about the steps into ordination as a United Methodist Deacon, or consult this GBHEM webpage here.