Pardon my lack of understanding, but I realize we have a number of definitions floating about for the titles of those who attend to the affairs the local church. Now I don't mean Biblical definitions, I mean in day-to-day actual practice. In my church, the Board of Deacons is the highest level body. If we were a corporation, the deacons would be the board of directors. It contains both men and women (a stipulated number of each), and they are elected for staggered multiple-year terms by the congregation at the annual business meeting. Nominations for election come from the board itself, not from the nominating committee or the floor as for other offices. The deacons handle "spiritual" matters - program oversight, planning services, administering an emergency needs fund and food cupboard, interviewing candidates for baptism and membership, and the preperation and serving of communion. The only gender-based division of duty is that female deacons prepare communion, and male deacons serve it in the service. We are a small church, and rare exceptions have been made to that last rule when there were too few male deacons present to handle the task. The pastor attends the meetings, and while he always has requests of the board that are usually agreed to as a formality, and he really does provide the leadership and drive for the congregation (kind of like a CEO), officially, he "works" for the Board of Deacons. We have other boards, trustees and finance, who handle the physical plant and money. I would mention here for reference that my church was until recently a member of the ABC, and we have switched to CBA. I see some of you speak of "ordaining" deacons, and also of "elders". How are these functions carried out in your churches, and what is their definition? Please let's keep this as a kind of poll, covering actual practice, and not a debate on biblical definitions or gender issues. I am curious to see just how many different ways all of this is done.