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« Stewardship, Who Me? | Main | Christian, Be Quiet »
Monday
Jun132016

THOUGHTS ON DEACONS AND THEIR ROLE IN THE CHURCH

What is a deacon? The word means “Through dust” or “raise dust by hastening.” A deacon is a servant in relation to his work, a slave in relation to his master. In practicality deacons promote the welfare and prosperity of the local church by carrying out tasks assigned by the 

elders. 
It is incorrect to think of deacons as overseers of the physical needs of the church while the elders oversee the spiritual needs. Elders oversee the needs of the church and deacons serve them in the work. Deacons are not given the oversight; they are given tasks. Deaconship is a ministry not a position. Notice Paul tells us “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Ti 3:13) Deacons are not “deacons at large” but rather servants of specific purpose. 
What do deacons do? In Acts 6:1-4 they were first assigned to look after the poor. Deacons were teacher —  Stephen and Philip (Acts 6), Epaphroditus (Php 2). It seems teaching and being alert to the physical and financial needs of the widows and shut-in and going out to preach and teach where needed and if he has the ability are the primary roles of deacons in the New Testament.

The qualities of the deacon make him special for service in the church. Acts 6 showed that deacons are to be honest, wise men full of the Holy Spirit. 1 Tm 3:8-13 reveals that deacons  are to be serious and dignified, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, not a holder of false teaching, not a new convert, blameless, husband of one wife, rule their children and his own house well. 

There are many benefits to becoming a deacon: 1 Ti 3:13, pleasing to the Lord, personal fulfillment and growth, develops courage and experience, serving others even as Jesus showed.

We should understand that deacons are not “junior elders” or even elders in training. In many ways the man who serves as an elder uses different skills and qualities than a man who serves as a deacon. Some deacons do become elders, but it is not be a requirement to become and elder. 

It is interesting that deacon’s wives also must have certain qualities in place before their husbands serve. First they must be faithful Christians.  Remember it says a lot about a man what kind of woman he marries and the same is true of the woman. A deacon’s wife must be grave (1 Ti 3:11), she has a sense of conduct worthy of respect and honor. She cannot be slanderous (this word carries with it the fault-finding attitude that spreads innuendo and criticism in the church. Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words indicates that a deacon’s wife should not be a “she-devil” who goes about making false accusations. A deacon’s wife must be sober. Not just abstaining from being drunk on alcohol, but being balanced, clear-headed and self-controlled. (Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon). The deacon’s wife can make or break the effective work of the her husband. 

The Scriptures tell us that deacons must rule their children and houses well. This differs from the qualification of elders. There is no rule that a deacon’s children must to be believers. This would allow younger men with youthful physical strength to serve as deacons. 

So you can see deacons and their wives are special servants. They deserve our encouragement and our help with the tasks they do for the kingdom. 

Joseph D. Chase

 

 

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