Biblical Church Leadership IV

The beginning of this series is found here: Biblical Leadership. Please start there if you haven’t read the previous posts in this series.

This post will look into the role of the Deacons.

The Greek word, which is translated deacon, diakonos, actually was a generic word which meant “a servant, attendant, or minister”. Using this general meaning, the word was applied to describing: Jesus (Romans 15:8), evangelists (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 1:7), faithful Christians (John 12:26), the apostles (II Corinthians 3:6), and waiters at feasts (Matthew 22:13).

Many scholars believe the first deacons were selected in the book of acts chapter 6:

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait (diakoneō) on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

If this truly is the first installation of deacons, as I believe it to be, then we can glean some relevant information from this passage. The role of the Deacon is to meet the physical needs of the church. In this case we see the equal distribution of food ad the issue, although it could easily translate into other tasks in today’s church. Many people use the term Usher for the deacons and these men wait on congregation. It could also be stewards of the church’s monies and other goods. While the elders are focused on the spiritual needs of the church, the deacon focuses on the physical needs and assists the elders to prevent them from being distracted by other non-spiritual tasks.

Requirements of a Deacon:

  1. reverent, sober
  2. not double-tongued
  3. not given (addicted) to much wine
  4. not greedy for money
  5. holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience
  6. first be proven (tested)
  7. blameless
  8. husbands of one wife
  9. ruling their children and their own houses well

Additionally Deacon’s Wives must meet certain qualifications:

  1. Reverent
  2. Not slanderers
  3. Temperate
  4. Faithful in all things
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