Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church — A Review

Matt Smethurst. Deacons: How They Serve and Strengthen the Church. Wheaton: Crossway, 2021. 176 pp. $14.99.

Matt Smethurst has given the church a true gift in his work on deacons in the Building Healthy Churches series from 9Marks. The books in this series tend to be short, readable, biblical, and practical. Deacons is no exception.

The role of deacons in any local church is an extremely important though often misunderstood office. God shaped his church perfectly, providing for deacons and elders to serve and shepherd the body. Yet in many cases, what deacons are to do or who deacons are to be is a mystery.

In this valuable resource, the author offers help for anyone involved in the church to aid us in thinking more clearly about God’s plan for deacons. Through these chapters, we learn of mistakes that many of us have experienced as well as the historical background to the office. The author takes his readers through the biblical qualifications for deacons and suggests multiple areas in which they may serve. In a nice closure to this work, Smethurst shows us both what benefits deacons bring to the church as well as the God-honoring beauty of their service. And, in a couple of helpful Appendices, we find a discussion of whether or not the Bible allows for women to serve in the deacon role and a helpful questionnaire that the author uses in his own church for potential deacons.

As an elder in a church with deacons who already serve well, I most certainly believe that this book will be an excellent resource. I believe that it can encourage our deacons and help us to better consider others to potentially serve. I also believe that this work can serve as a helpful source of ideas as we seek to better organize and direct our church’s ministry.

I also believe that this book can be a great tool for pastors and leaders in churches where the idea of the role of the deacon needs to be better understood and defined. Many of the chapters of this book would make excellent small group studies or could be the seed for faithful sermons that would help to teach the body about the gift of godly deacons.

Without reservation, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

—Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.