Where do we find the office of deacon in Scripture?
As the elders in Acts 6:1-7 tried to meet both the word oriented and the deed oriented needs of the church they began to neglect ministries of the Word and prayer. So in Acts 6, seven men were chosen to handle matters of the church related to meeting deed-oriented needs so the elders could continue to focus on meeting word-oriented needs.
What are the qualifications for the office of deacon?
We have a more specific description of qualifications in I Tim 3:8-13.
8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Similar to the office of elder, the vast majority of these qualifications have to do with godly character, character that shows forth in practical areas.
But we also find another important qualification is in verse 9- ‘they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.’ Like elders, the doctrine and faith deacons keep is vital.
One VERY common error to fight against when considering who to nominate for the office of deacon: Some people think if you are a responsible business man who’s able to manage the physical and financial resources of a corporation, then you’re qualified to be a deacon.’ But while being responsible with corporate resources certainly doesn’t disqualify you from being a deacon, it also doesn’t qualify you either.
The Diaconate is not a committee of men dedicated to maintaining building and budget, they are a fellowship of spiritual leaders called to care for the physical needs of God’s people.
To be a deacon is a spiritual office, not a managerial office. It’s a God-ordained leadership office of the church.
So, what three questions should you ask yourself when you’re considering who to nominate for the office of deacon?
- Is this person able to care for the practical needs of the church through deed-oriented service?’
- Can this person lead Trinity Park to make sure we are ALL serving one another well?
- Would you send this person to represent God’s church by helping someone in a time of physical or a financial crisis?