Introducing / by Tim Hopper

reformed deacon

Presbyterian and Reformed churches have always held the office of deacon as essential to the life of the church. 

The office of the deacon is no light matter. The book of Acts records the institution of the first diaconate in response to the complaint that "widows were bing neglected in the daily distribution of food" (Acts 6:1, ESV). Though the duties required were seemingly menial, the apostles instituting the diaconate established a high standard for eligible servants: "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom." Later, Paul emphasizes the importance of diaconal qualifications as fledgling churches were being established.

Those who have served in diaconal ministry know well the prescience of the apostles in requiring deacons to be "full of the Spirit and of wisdom." Serving others in mercy ministry requires wisdom at every turn: to provide money or not, to offer counsel or hold your tongue, to consult with elders for help or handle a matter within a diaconate. Growing in wisdom should be a daily pursuit of the Christian deacon; as with all Christians, a deacon is to be transformed by the renewing of his mind and ask God "who gives generously to all without reproach" (James 1:5) to give him wisdom in a time of need.

Scripture likewise commends growth in wisdom through "the abundance of counselors" (Proverbs 11:14). As a deacon in a Reformed congregation, I desire to hear more from the wisdom of the ages on how to serve effectively in my office. Given this, I compiled a bibliography of writings on Reformed and Presbyterian diaconal ministry, available at

The bibliography includes a handful of books and a number of articles and selected readings from church documents. Where available, I include links to online versions of the articles and links to where books can be purchased. 

I hope and pray that it will be beneficial to others, and deacons will be edified and grow in wisdom. If there are other worthy readings, I ask that you share them with me!