The term deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos, meaning servant of minister. It appears at least 29 times in the New Testament.
The role or office of deacon was developed in the early church primary to minister to the physical needs of the members of the body of Christ. In Acts 6:16 (NKJV), we see the initial stage of development:
Now in those days when the number of disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually 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 the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nacanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
NOTE: The first reference to an official position of deacon in the local congregation is found in Philippians 1:1, where the Apostle Paul says, "To all saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with bishops and deacons."