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. Deacons exemplify Christian discipleship, nurture others in their relationship to God and lead church people to respond to the needs of the needy, neglected and marginalized of the world.
In the congregation, deacons teach, preach, officiate at funerals and weddings, offer pastoral care, assist the elder in administering Baptism and Holy Communion, lead discipleship development ministries and help lay people identify and claim their own 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.
Outside the walls of the church, deacons share the good news in word and in their advocacy for the poor, neglected, oppressed and discouraged; provide ministries of mercy; and invite Christians into these ministries.
Deacon 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 the annual conference where they hold membership. They serve as clergy on boards, commissions or committees of the annual conference. They can hold office within their annual conference and are eligible for election as a clergy delegate to the general, central or jurisdictional conferences. They are to participate in the life of the order of deacons in their conference.
Diaconal ministers are United Methodist laypeople who lead in service ministries. The United Methodist Church no longer consecrates new diaconal ministers. However, many diaconal ministers are still in active service. If you are a diaconal minister, visit this section of the Board of Ordained Ministry Handbook for information on how you relate to the annual conference
If you feel called by God to be a layperson in a ministry of love and justice, check out the Office of Deaconess & Home Missioner.