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All Articles For The Fundamental Work of Deacons

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Deacons in Reformed churches are often expected to perform various duties. The most obvious to the members of the church is that they take all the collections and they care for the financial affairs of the church. As a result, one of the deacons is often made the bookkeeper of the church, and it falls to the deacons to prepare a budget for the coming year. Perhaps they are asked to perform other duties as well, for example, organizing events such as church picnics or serving as the...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. The fundamental work of the deacons in God’s church is the relief of the poor and needy. In order to do this work, the deacons must have the means available to relieve those in need. It comes as no surprise, then, that Reformed churches require their deacons “diligently to collect alms and other contributions of charity” (Church Order, Article 25), and again, to “collect and preserve with the greatest fidelity and diligence, the alms and goods which are given to the poor: yea, to do their utmost endeavors,...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. The first aspect of the fundamental work of the deacons is that of collecting the alms. This must be first in priority, as well as in time, for immediate needs must be immediately relieved. They must be relieved immediately, partly because of their urgency. Such needs must also be relieved immediately as a picture of how our Savior supplies our needs. Our Heavenly Father always gives us our immediate needs immediately. Trusting He will do this, we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” And when we...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Just as our heavenly Father always supplies the needs of His children, and just as Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd never fails to bestow upon His sheep that which we lack, so must the church of Jesus Christ always be willing and ready to relieve the needs of the poor. Therefore, the deacons, having been informed of a need, having determined it to be genuine, and having procured the means to supply it, are required to distribute the alms accordingly. That God expects deacons to distribute the alms...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: January 1, 2005, p. 155. The first priority of deacons in the church of Jesus Christ must be the care of the poor in their own congregation. At their installation, the deacons were authorized to do their work within and on behalf of that congregation in which they were installed. Their next priority, as we have demonstrated in our previous article, must be the care of believing poor in other congregations. But Christ requires deacons in His church to be ready also to...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: December 15, p. 135. Within their own congregation, deacons must manifest Christ’s mercy by doing their utmost to care for the poor. This means they must collect alms, determine the need of those who seek benevolent help, distribute the alms as the need of the poor requires, and visit and comfort the poor with God’s Word. This work involves more than that the deacons are willing and ready to help any who ask—it requires also that they be alert for signs that some...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series, November 1, 2004, p. 63. In the last few articles we have examined the duties of deacons in relieving the needs of the poor. Having first collected the alms, deacons in Reformed churches are required to determine the need of those who request benevolence help, distribute the alms according to their need, and visit and comfort the poor with the Word of God. If any have inferred, at this point, that the work of relieving the needs of the poor begins only when...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. (Preceding article in this series: July 2004, p. 421.) The fundamental work of the deacons is spiritual in nature. One might not immediately come to this conclusion when he sees the deacons passing the collection plates, counting the money, and arranging for the payment of the church’s bills. Nevertheless, the fundamental work of the deacons is the work of caring for the poor of the church. This care of the poor involves giving material gifts for the relief of their poverty. But this care is not simply external...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: September 1, 2005, p. 476. Article 26 of our Church Order requires deacons to work closely with other diaconates in the care of the poor, to correspond with civil poor-relief organizations so that aid might be better distributed among those who have need, and to cooperate with the board of directors of institutions of mercy so that the poor can use these institutions. Concluding our examination of the duties of Reformed deacons as set forth in our Church Order, we now examine the...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin. Previous article in this series: May 15, 2005, p. 373. The church of Jesus Christ is not the only entity that busies itself caring for the needy—the poor, aged, widows, sick, disabled, and disaster victims. The civil government does so on all levels—federal, state, and local. 1 Secular private organizations such as the Red Cross do so. And even some private organizations that might be called Christian do so. I have in mind, for instance, the board of directors of a Christian retirement home, which not only oversees...

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