Diakonia is to be a characteristic of all Christians however since New Testament days people were set aside or 'ordered' to focus on particular ministry roles. One of the first of these roles was that of being a deacon. Originally deacons remained deacons since this was a distinct office alongside bishops and priests. Later, through much of church history, deacons were seen more as ‘apprentice priests’ and the main work of deacons was done by the deaconess orders that developed as well as lay organisations. Since the 1960s, some denominations have taken steps to return to having deacons do the distinct work of deacons and be treated as a distinct equal order. These deacons recognize their ministry as a lifelong vocation. They are variously known as permanent or vocational or distinctive deacons.
For example, in the Anglican Church we find the statement of the Lambeth Conference of 1988:
“A deacon is to focus or be a sign of the ministry of servant-hood in the Church and in the world. The diaconate is to remind the whole Church that the essence of ministry is service. The ministry of servant-hood is particularly directed to those in need. So service to the poor and troubled, the outcasts and voiceless ones, the sick and the destitute within the Church and in the world is especially signified in the deacon’s ministry.”
"Love mercy, seek justice and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8)