Exploring

Ordained to Word, Service, Compassion and Justice

Deacons are clergy leaders who are called by God, authorized by the church, and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of word, service, compassion, and justice to the congregation and community in ministry that connects the two. Deacons exemplify Christian discipleship, nurture others in their relationship to God, and lead church people to respond to the needs of the most needy, neglected, and marginalized of the world.

In the congregation, they teach, preach, officiate at funerals and weddings, offer pastoral care, assist the elder in administering Holy Communion and baptism, lead discipleship-development ministries, and help lay people identify and claim their own ministries.

Outside the walls of the church, deacons share the good news in word and in their advocacy for poor, neglected, oppressed, and discouraged; provide ministries of mercy; and invite Christians into these ministries.

Deacons lead the congregation in its servant ministry and equip and support all baptized Christians in their ministry. Through the Order of Deacons, The United Methodist Church affirms this historic, central, and distinct ministry.

As clergy, they are set apart for a leadership ministry, represent Christ and the body of Christ to the world, and are accountable in covenant relationships to The United Methodist Church, the clergy (particularly those in the order of deacon), and to all Christians.

Conference membership

United Methodist deacons are clergy members of an annual (regional) conference and have the rights of voice and vote in the clergy session and annual conference where they hold membership. They serve as clergy on boards, commissions, or committees of the annual conference and hold office on the same, and are eligible for election as a clergy delegate to the General, central, or jurisdictional conference. They are to participate in the life of the order of deacons in their conference.

Resources for exploration
The United Methodist Deacon, by Margaret Ann Crain. Describes deacons' role and practice in the United Methodist Church, weaving deacons' stories throughout. Order this book for $10 per copy (shipping is waived for orders of 10 or more) by contacting the Office of Deacon Ministry.


Deacon ministry stories   UMC Deacons' blog

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