Office Of A Deacon
By James and Mary Lee Thornton
In this study we would like to discuss the Bible plan for deacons (church board) in the New Testament Church. It means something to be a deacon: this is because it is one of the four Bible offices mentioned for the New Testament Church.
For many years i filled the office of pastor (minister), which is one of the other offices found in the word of God. I never got used to it. I have gotten accustomed to it—being pastor, filling an office that Jesus Christ himself started.
Now we come to the second office of the church. You are filling a Bible office. what an honor it is an added honor, however, to be a deacon in the ___________ church of ________________ (name of your church).
In Acts 6:6 we find that they chose seven deacons in the early Church. This office was created as a pastor’s helper. Did you know that the word “deacon” in the original Greek comes from the same root word as the word “servant”? It means that the deacon is a servant, or, he who humbles himself to serve the people and help the pastor. So it was in the early church.
When Moses’ arms were heavy in days of old, God gave to him Aaron and Hur to hold his hands high. Aaron got one side and Hur on the other. Each lifted one of Moses’ arms high. When his arms were lifted the battle was won. When his arms were lowered from weariness the battle was being lost (Exodus 17:12). God has, in his wisdom given to pastors today in the New Testament Church, men of God called deacons who lift the hands of the pastor, work with him, and serve God with loyal, sacrificial service to the church and to the savior.
Qualifications Of A Deacon
Acts 6:3 “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”
1. You will notice the high standards that were placed for those to qualify for the office of the first deacon board. Not just any man, but trusted men, honest men, tried men, dependably, God-fearing men, full of the holy ghost.
The Apostle Paul also give the qualifications of the office of a deacon.
1 Timothy 3:8. “Likewise must the deacons be grave (serious minded), not doubletongued (two faced), not given to wine, not greedy of filthy lucre (money),
9. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscious.
10. And let these first be proved (1 thessalonians 5:12), then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12. Let the deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their own house well.
13. For they that have used (served in) the office of a deacon will purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Jesus Christ. (here Paul, no doubt, refers to Stephen and Phillip, two members of the first deacon board (Acts 8:8; 8:5-40).
Now we require that every man who is appointed (yes deacon are appointed by the pastor, and approved by the church, ) for the office of deacon in the __________ ________ church of ______ ____ _____, meet these qualifications. If you notice very carefully, you will note not only are the qualifications listed for the men but also for their wives. A man should not be a deacon unless he meets the qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. A man should not be a deacon unless his wife meets the qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3:11-13.
2. There are other qualifications, however, that our church requires. For example, we require that the man be a member of the ___________________church of _____________________ for at least a year before he can be appointed to the office of deacon. Do not chose a deacon because of his financial standing. That should not even be taken into consideration. Use only Bible and Spiritual qualifications.
3. Let us list some other qualifications. A deacon must be a soul winner to fill this office. No one should be appointed for the office of deacon unless he actively participates in the soul-winning ministry of the church.
4.Then, we require a deacon to separate from the world. No man is qualified to be a deacon if he drinks alcohol or uses tobacco in any form. No man should be a deacon in the church if he would transgress against any of the convictions that the church stands for. All the leaders of the Church ought to be above reproach.
I believe that the leaders who fills the Bible offices for a church ought to be men who walk straight, whose lives are clean, who are “peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9), men who walk with God, avoid the appearance of evil, and whose lives are clean. Deacons represent the church. So consequently, they are expected and demanded be to separate from the world and from worldly practices by those who they serve, as they fill this Bible office.
5. There is still another qualification. We expect and demand faithfulness to the public services of our church. No man should be appointed to the office of deacon in the _____________________ Church of ___________________ unless he is faithful to the Sunday School, faithful to the Sunday evening service, and faithful to the Wednesday evening service. The men who fill the office of deacon are required to be faithful.
6. Another qualification is the trait of loyalty. We demand and expect deacons to be loyal … loyal to the Church, loyal to the pastor, loyal to the program of the church, and loyal to what God is doing though the Church and through the pastor. Let us understand that the deacons were originally chosen by God to help the pastor, to lift up his hands, to help serve him, and to be a boost to him. When a deacon ceases to be loyal to the Church program and the pastor whom God has called, then he ceases to fulfill one of the main purposes for the office, and should be replaced.
7. The deacon are expected to participate in the Church tithing program. Deacon should set an example in their giving of their tithes and offerings.
I call to you attention the scripture we used earlier.
Acts 6:3. “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out seven men of honest report, full of the holy ghost and wisdom, whom we appoint over this business.
With these Bible qualifications, I believe that God will make your Church a spiritual lighthouse and a soul-winning center for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Duties of a deacon
1. The deacons are to help in the work with shut-ins of the church (hospitals, nursing homes, & etc.). They are to help visit and pray for the sick and elderly. They help investigate the needs, and distribute funds, food, and other needs to those in need (Acts 1-3). The church should have a benevolent fund for this purpose
2. The deacons form an administrative board with the pastor to help him handle the secular (material) functions of the church. A simple, organized church has a pastor, deacons, trustees (they hold church property in trust), and people. This is the scriptural plan.
3. The deacons are the pastor’s helpers, let them never forget this. They were ordained for this purpose (Acts 6:2-4).
4. Deacons should help with the personal work at the altar.
5. At least one deacon should help the church treasurer count the money. Each should take a month at a time. This helps to keep down any suspicion concerning honesty in the financial department of the Church.
6. The deacons should help prepare and serve the Lord’s Supper.
7. Deacons should work in the men’s dressing room helping new converts prepare for baptism.
Warning To A Deacon
The Bible warns, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” Luke 12:48). This high Bible office that you hold has pitfalls. You become the target of Satan because of your position as a deacon. May we be on guard and watch for the following pitfall.
1. Pride ----- Lifted up, taking authority that does not belong to you.
2. Jealousy---- Resentfully suspicious, being jealous of the pastor or fellow deacons.
3. Envious ------ Discontent and ill will over another’s advantages, such as money, talent, and ability.
4. Gossip ------- A person who habitually retails facts, rumors, or behind-the-scenes information of an intimate, personal, or sensational nature. So all board meetings must be held in confidence.
5.Sharp tongue – Keeping our mouth shut, when things go against us.
The main relationship of a deacon is to be a friend, helper, and an encouragement to his pastor. May God bless you as you labor with him in the months and years to come. Filling the Bible office of a deacon, helping the pastor, praying for the pastor, and serving with the pastor.
I hope you enjoyed this article on the office of a deacon and will read the other articles on our web pages.
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By James L. Thornton