What Are the Duties of Deacons and Deaconesses?

The three primary duties of deacons and deaconesses include the Ministry of Charity, the Ministry of the Word and Ministry of Liturgy. Other duties include working as ushers, collecting and counting offerings, and ministering to the poor.

Deacons and deaconesses commit to a life of service, providing general church oversight and helping church leaders by relieving them of duties that would otherwise distract them. They serve as God's witnesses, working with prisoners, youth, young adults and sick parishioners. They preach at liturgical gatherings, teach religious education, and prepare parishioners for various sacraments, including baptism and marriage. They help during the Eucharist celebration, perform baptisms, preside at communion services, and officiate during wakes and funerals.

Other duties may include working as a church's groundskeeper, performing general building maintenance, and maintaining church supplies. During services, they greet and welcome parishioners. They may help guests find parking and seating, introduce them to the pastor or other church elders, and help with presentations. They sometimes lead services, and some churches ask deacons and deaconesses to serve in an advisory role to the pastor or minister.

Some churches ask deacons and deaconesses to help out-of-work parishioners find jobs, offer child-care assistance and step in during a crisis, such as a death. They provide counseling when someone has medical problems or needs emotional support.