In the ancient Church the fullness of the office resided in the Bishop. He was responsible within the community for both the office of faith and the office of love. To assist him in the office of faith, there were the presbyters, his fellow pastors. With his blessing, they could preach, teach, and even celebrate the Eucharist. To assist him in the office of love, there were the deacons. They were charged with the care of the poor, those in prison, the needy, and providing for the clergy. Through both the office of faith and the office of love, the hope that is in Christ was imparted, strengthened, and manifested.
When the Reformation rightly noted that there was nothing in the office of faith that was not in common with the Bishop, and that this office of faith is primary, what was sadly overlooked (and lost long before the Reformation, truthfully, for bishops had long ceased to understand their connection to the community in terms of the office of faith serving out the Word or the office of love serving out charity) was the vital connection to the office of love. The Bishop was to hold both together in his person and to know himself responsible for both and thus to know that he couldn't do either by himself alone. The pastor in the Reformation tradition also knows he can't do both (just ask!), but he seems at a loss to know how to remedy the situation. There's a saying we love to use: "Faith alone saves; but the faith that saves is never alone. It is always accompanied by love." Think of that in regard to the office of faith and the office of love. It is true that the first is absolutely foundational and upon which the other is built; but the other is to be built upon it!
The diaconate is waiting for recovery among us. It is a fair question whether it CAN be recovered without the recovery of the bishop - the man who embodies the fullness of both offices - as well; I honestly don't know. But that we Reformation Christians have been guilty of neglecting the office of love is, I would think, beyond dispute. And I find it highly significant that in its liturgical expression the deacon in his office of love is the one who both gathers, presents and administers the offerings of the people and who bids their prayers. Love in action: in giving and in praying very visibly in the Sunday assembly, and out from the altar goes the service of love. We Reformation Christians need this office to return to its own place among us. Our communities suffer for its lack.