Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
Though not specifically called “Deacons,” these men are apparently the first to fulfill the function which would become known as the office of Deacon. Notice the ones who expected specific care from the church were the widows who needed to be supported. These (proto-)Deacons were selected to help those in need of special help. So a church of, say 6,000 members (at least) required 7 deacons. Can you hear the average church member in Jerusalem “well, the Apostles or even a Deacon didn’t even personally visit me…” Do we only like a church if we personally connect with the pastor, deacons, or another minister? It seems in the early church, each Christian was responsible not only to grow themselves, but to encourage others as well… every christian, otherwise they would have needed 100X as many deacons. What if the modern church model is actually holding Christians back from growing like a child who’s parents never let go of their seat while learning to ride a bike? Are church officials there to minister to us, or to lead us in the Word as we all minister? Those are two very different things.