The Deacons Every Pastor (Should) Love

In a lot of churches, deacons get a bad rap. If they do too much, people believe they’re trying to take over the church. If they do too little, then people call them lazy.  

I hear and read a lot about controlling deacons and apathetic deacons. The reality is most deacons in most churches do good work. While churches and denominations have varying viewpoints on the role of deacons due to polity differences, what should be universal is how pastors place a high value on deacons who serve well.

The deacon body at West Bradenton is among the best. They serve. They sacrifice. They give. They have the backs of the pastors. And when called upon at VBS, they get slimed.

Pastors, cherish your supportive deacons. Encourage them. Brag on them. I don’t often come across posts from pastors praising their deacons. That’s why I’m writing this one. My deacons are not just the “other office of the church;” they are people with whom I entrust the most sensitive and critical parts of ministry within our congregation. Here are some of the deacons every pastor should love.

Friend. Pastors need friends, not only other pastor peers from outside the church but also friends within the church. Since pastors and deacons serve closely together, at least a few deacons should be close friends with pastors. A while back, I had one deacon sit down in my office unannounced. He knew I was in the middle of a problematic situation involving church discipline. He said, “Let’s talk baseball.” It was much needed.

Prayer warrior. You don’t always know who the pray-ers are in your church. Often, they pray alone because they don’t want to be known. A special bond is formed when a deacon is a prayer warrior for a pastor. Praying deacons are one of the biggest reasons why pastors stay within God’s will. The spiritual battle waging around prayer warriors is silent but intense. Many deacons are on the front lines.

Accountability partner. Any deacon at West Bradenton has the right to ask me about any part of my life at any time. Why? I want every area of my life to be above reproach.

Confidant. A couple of deacons are not only my friends but also my confidants. I share with them ministry burdens I may not even share with my wife. I understand the high level of trust that must be in place for this kind of relationship. I wish more pastors and deacons were confidants.

Mentor. We have some valiant older men who serve on our deacon body. They move more slowly now, but their mindset is still fierce. They can wield power with one short sentence—not because of manipulation but rather because of wisdom. When they speak, an entire room shuts up. These are the men I seek out to be my mentors. The deacon who has served for sixty years and not stopped, the deacon who has remained married for sixty years and not fallen, the deacon who has served with multiple pastors but stuck with one church—that is the man I want as a mentor.

The deacons every pastor should love are the friend, the prayer warrior, the accountability partner, the confidant, and the mentor.

Posted on January 22, 2024


As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
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16 Comments

  • Bruce Johnson says on

    Amen!!! I was going through a rough patch. When asked how I was doing, I poured out may heart to our Deacon chair. He responded, “Well, you’ve done it often enough with me, I guess it’s my turn.” He put his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me. It meant more to me than I can express. He was a man I loved and valued.

  • John Burns says on

    Hi I have a question for todays Church re deacons and elders. I come from a back Ground of Plymouth Brethern in the EU,
    so we have the teaching according to Gods word do we Not of the 3 separate offices in the local Church,
    Pastors, Elders and Deacons, so why do we today do away with the office of Elders and push the 2 into 1 deacons and Elders? some church leadership tell me that they want to eliminate in house fighting!!! Really??

  • Outstanding and much needed article that was very insightful

  • Larry Webb says on

    A great article. Deacons do what they do and often do not get any recognition. They don’t want any credit. They do it for the Lord. Thanks for this spotlight on an important office.

  • Well said, Sam. I’ve been blessed with great deacons over 40 years of ministry. I could not have survived without their help, friendship, advice and accountability.

  • Sam, Thanks for the reminder. Just wondering, do your Deacons serve in the role of what many call Elders? We have Elders (overall church leadership and spiritual leadership, I am an Elder as Pastor), along with Deacons (fellowship and visitation/care of church family (with Elders)), and Trustees (finances and building). As well as Missions and Discipleship Committees. Yes, because of the time I spend with them, and what we share together, I am close with our Elders. With all who serve I seek to point out when they are faithful in ministry and thank them publicly and privately.

    • Sam Rainer says on

      Mike – Good question. The short answer is “no,” our deacons do not serve in the role of an elder. Our pastors are responsible for the overall direction of the church, while our deacons support the operations of the church. In practice, though, there is a lot of overlap between the two offices, as I believe God designed. The key distinction we make (as per Scripture) is that deacons are not required to have a teaching role in the church, while our pastors do. That being said, some of our deacons are the best teachers we have. It’s just that teaching is not a requirement of our deacons.

  • We have a great group of Deacons at our church, so glad to serve with them, just thanked and complimented them yesterday in our Member Meeting. We have a great group of elders too!

  • Charlie Moulton says on

    Excellent read.

  • Tim Price says on

    This is a wonderful article, and the sentiment is something that I share with our church’s deacons on a regular basis. I am so honored to serve alongside them. We actually have our monthly Leadership Team meeting this evening, and I am going to read this during the meeting. Thanks for encapsulating in one place much of what I have tried to share with them over the years since I have been at the church.

    Would love to see a follow-up post…The Deacons Every CHURCH (Should) Love.
    Thanks for all your hard work