Ministries of the Holy Spirit 1
The Ministry of Helps
by Pastor John Hamel

“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1Corinthians 12:28)

We have seen in past lessons that the Apostle Paul makes reference to all of the Ministry offices in three of his Epistles. (Romans 12:6-8; 1Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)  In our last five lessons we used Paul’s reference in Ephesians 4:11 as a text Scripture because it is there that he mentions by name all five-fold leadership positions.  These are the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and the Teacher.  

We will use First Corinthians 12:28 as a text in this lesson as well because it is here that Paul mentions the Ministry of Helps. 

It is quite interesting to notice how the Holy Spirit moved on Paul to make mention of “helps” right in the middle of Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, miracles, then gifts of healings (a reference to Evangelists) and governments (a reference to Apostles and Pastors).  The Ministry of Helps is such a necessary Ministry and one that the Five-Fold Ministry Offices simply could never effectively function without.   

In this study we will look at the Ministry of Helps.  

Paul also refers to the office of “governments” in our text verse.  It is not necessary for us to devote an entire lesson to the office of “governments” because we have covered this previously.  (See the previous studies on this website under "Holy Spirit: 5-Fold Ministry Offices" covering the Offices of the Apostle and the Pastor.)  Neither will we devote entire lessons to “diversities of tongues” (or the "interpretation of tongues") which Paul mentions here, because we have also covered these previously.   

The Greek word for “helps” is “antilepsis.”  It means “a support, a help, a succourer and an aid, to support by way of rendering assistance, especially to those who are weak and needy.” 

Some teach that the Ministry of Helps is limited to the work of Deacons and Deaconesses only.  This cannot be true because the Apostle Paul refers to other Helps Ministers besides Deacons and Deaconesses. (Romans 16:3,9; 1Corinthians 16:16; 2Corinthians 1:11,24)  Sunday School Teachers, Children’s and Youth Ministers, Administrative Personnel, Hospital Ministers, Musicians, Janitorial Staff, etc., would all come under the heading of Ministry of Helps. 

There are many within the Body who are weak and needy.  Brand new Christians are weak and needy.  Older Christians who have never grown in knowledge of the Word are weak and needy.  The Pastor simply cannot minister to the needs of all of these individuals alone.  Without faithful Helps Ministers the Pastor would quickly burn out.  

All Five-Fold Ministry Offices would soon discover how weak and needy they, too, actually are without the faithful individuals who are called to the Ministry of Helps. 

Because the title “Deacon” is probably the most used term when it comes to the Ministry of Helps, we will begin our lesson with this position.

The Deacon & Deaconess

In the New Testament Deacons are never actually referred to as “Helps Ministers.”  But it does not take a degree in Theology to realize that Deacons absolutely fall under the Ministry of Helps.

The Greek word for “deacon” is “diakoneo.”  It means “to be an attendant, to wait upon, to serve as a host.”  

The word “diakoneo” is from the Greek root word “diakonos.”  It means “to run on errands, to wait on tables, a minister, a servant.”  It also means “one who does servile work and one who renders service without a fee.” 

The Deacon’s Ministry in the Book of Acts certainly performed all of the above referenced duties.  Deacons were attendants, table waiters, hosts, ran errands, served and ministered to the physical and material needs of the people.  They also oversaw the receiving and accounting of offerings.  

As spiritual as this office is, you will not find one Scripture reference where a Deacon or an Elder or anyone, for that matter, controlled or manipulated the Pastor.  The Deacon under girds the Pastor’s office.  The Deacon does not override the Pastor’s office. 

Qualifications for Deacons & Deaconesses

In First Timothy 3:1-7 Paul lists qualifications for Pastoral (Bishop) Ministry.  Immediately after the Pastoral qualifications, Paul lists the Deacon’s qualifications.  The Deacon’s qualifications FOLLOW the Pastor’s qualifications because the Deacons are SUBSERVIENT to the Pastor, not vice versa.  Paul always listed Gifts in order of importance.  He did it with the Offices of the Holy Spirit.  He did it with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and he does it with the Ministries of the Holy Spirit. 

“Likewise must the DEACONS be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a DEACON, being found blameless.” (1Timothy 3:8-10)

Deacons are to be serious, truthful, sober and conscionable, not covetous individuals.  Deacons and Deaconesses must not be polygamists and their families must be well disciplined. (See verse 12.)  They must also be first proven.  

I have always looked for individuals who are already performing faithful service to the Church without being asked to do so.  These are the individuals I consider for the Deacon’s office.  The ones who sit around doing nothing, always asking for a position of authority, I will not even consider. 

It does not matter to me whether it is a man or a woman because it does not matter to the Trinity. (Galatians 3:28)  The Apostle Paul highly recommended Sister Phoebe.  She was a servant (Greek: Deaconess) in the Church at Cenchrea serving many leaders, including the Apostle Paul. (Romans 16:1,2)  Paul also commended Mary for her labor in the Lord. (Romans 16:6)  

I would take a faithful woman over a faithless man any day of the week and vice versa.  Anyone who is willing to under gird my Pastoral position and not override it comes to me by the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit had Deacons under girding the leadership in the Church at Jerusalem.  Although they are not called “Deacons” it is obvious that they fit the definition.

“And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, IT IS NOT REASON THAT WE SHOULD LEAVE THE WORD OF GOD, AND SERVE TABLES.  WHEREFORE, BRETHREN, LOOK YE OUT AMONG YOU SEVEN MEN OF HONEST REPORT, FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST AND WISDOM, WHOM WE MAY APPOINT OVER THIS BUSINESS.  BUT WE WILL GIVE OURSELVES CONTINUALLY TO PRAYER, AND TO THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD.  And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:  Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:1-6)

In this case the Deacons were appointed to meet the physical and material needs of those who could not care for themselves.  They were chosen because they were honorable and had a good report.  This means they were proven, even as Paul told Timothy. (1Timothy 3:8-10)  

Stephen started out as a Deacon and ended up with a powerful, mighty anointing. (Acts 6:5-8:2)  

Philip, the Evangelist, started out as a Deacon in Jerusalem and he ended up as the New Testament consummate Evangelist.  

Some individuals start out in the Ministry of Helps and end up being promoted into the Five-Fold Ministry Offices.  Others have an Anointing and a commitment that causes them to stay with their Pastors or Ministry leaders forever.  These individuals will stand before the Bema (Reward) Judgment Seat of Christ and share the same rewards of those whom they served. (Matthew 10:41; Romans 14:10; 2Corinthians 5:10)  

God does not reward offices.  God rewards faithfulness and obedience to the office. 

When the Amalekites attacked Ziklag they took all of the women of the city captive.  David set out in hot pursuit of the Amalekites, leaving some men behind to guard their property.  Once the women were rescued, some of the rescuers complained to David.  They felt that the men who stayed behind with the supplies should not share in the spoil that they brought back with them.  

David rebuked them, telling them in essence, “They were as faithful as you were to do what I told them to do.  They will receive the same reward that you received.” (1Samuel 30:24) 

All believers should keep this in mind because everyone is called to some sort of Christian service. (Matthew 25:14-30; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; 2Corinthians 5:17-20)  

There are a host of other “helpers” referred to in the New Testament as ambassadors (2Corinthians 5:20), fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17), laborers (1Thessalonians 3:2), men of God (1Timothy 6:11), lights (Matthew 5:14; John 5:35), messengers (2Corinthians 8:23), partners and fellow helpers (2Corinthians 8:23), soldiers (Philippians 2:25; 2Timothy 2:3,4), stewards (1Peter 4:10), witnesses (Acts 1:8; 5:32) and workers (2Corinthians 6:1).

Music & the Ministry of Helps

In Second Kings chapter three, Mesha, King of the Moabites, rebelled against Israel and Jehoshaphat needed God’s counsel for the coming battle.  He called for the Prophet Elisha to give him that much needed counsel and Elisha did something quite interesting.  

“And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.  BUT NOW BRING ME A MINSTREL. AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE MINSTREL PLAYED, THAT THE HAND OF THE LORD CAME UPON HIM.  AND HE SAID, THUS SAITH THE LORD, MAKE THIS VALLEY FULL OF DITCHES …  And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.” (2Kings 3:14-16,18)

Elisha prophesied the solution to Israel’s problem but not before calling a minstrel or a musician.  When the musician played, Elisha’s anointing was stirred, the Hand of the Lord (always symbolic of the power of God) came upon him and he went into the Spirit realm and prophesied. 

It is so much easier for any Minister to get into the Spirit when working with musicians who live right, pray and consecrate their abilities to the Lord.  It is so much easier for a Minister to step into the Spirit when surrounded by musicians who understand that their Gifts are of God, by God and for God.  


Satan understands this more than some musicians I have worked with in Ministry.


The biggest problem I have had with Helps Ministers, as a Pastor, has been with musicians who operate in pride.  Let me say here, also, that the best Helps Ministers I have ever worked with have been musicians who refuse to submit to the spirit of pride.  People like this are tremendous, tremendous blessings.


People naturally enjoy anointed music and have a tendency to exalt the musician.  Just look at how people in the world exalt popular singers and musicians.  Musicians who work for God must constantly remind themselves that their abilities are to point people to the Almighty, not to themselves.  


Music Ministers are not entertaining an audience.  They are leading a congregation in worship.


I have had to make some very difficult calls at times that made me very unpopular with musicians.  I have had musicians walk away from their commitments, literally cursing me because I had to remind them that their Gifts were being misused through pride and arrogance.  They were grieving the Holy Spirit and everyone in the congregation was losing out because of it.


Satan realizes how music destroys his works in the Earth, bringing the Anointing that drives out evil spirits. (1Samuel 16:23)  He fully realizes that the primary way to cause musicians to be ineffective is through human pride.  


Wherever musicians understand the difference between fleshly entertainment and the Anointing of God, the power of Satan is broken and human beings are set free.


Musicians be aware!


Be Blessed … John and Barbara Hamel



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