Jim Sweet (Lead)
What qualifies a man to be a deacon? The qualification for deacons can be divided into two categories: personal character and spiritual character.
Paul listed four personal qualifications. First, deacons must be men of dignity (I Timothy 3:8.) This means that they must be worthy of respect and serious minded, not treating serious things lightly. The Greek word for “dignity” is semnos, which means “venerable, honorable, reputable, grave, serious, and stately.” The same Greek work appears in Titus 2:2, which says that older men “are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perserverance.”
I Timothy 3:8 also says a deacon must not be double-tongued, or one who says one thing to one person and something else to another–a malicious gossip. They are always consistent and righteous in what they say. Next, deacons are not addicted to much wine. Rather they are noted for their clear thinking and self-control. Finally, Paul said that deacons should not be fond of gain. That would be important because deacons are sometimes responsible for handling funds. Therefore, their goals in life must not be monetary. I Timothy 6:9 says that a pervasive desire for financial gain corrupts a man.
Paul also listed four spiritual qualifications. First, a deacon must hold “to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience.” (I Timothy 3:9) In other words, he must have convictions based on the knowledge of true biblical knowledge. His clear conscience implies that he lives out his convictions. He must hold to the faith and apply the truth in his life.
A second spiritual qualification for deacons is given in verse 10: “Let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.” Before a man is officially appointed as a deacon, he must have proved himself faithful in serving the Lord. If he has proved himself to be beyond reproach, he should serve.
Third, a deacon must be normally pure in every way, just as an elder is to be. Literally, verse 10 says, “Let them serve as deacons if they are in the process of being irreproachable.” Those who are not above reproach are disqualified from serving as deacons. Verse 12, which says, “Let deacons be husbands of only one wife,” also implies that deacons are to be morally pure. But that does not necessarily mean a deacon is to be someone who has never been divorced, although that would be a disqualification if his sin contributed to the divorce, or if the circumstances of the divorce bring reproach on him. The main point is that a deacon must be totally consecrated and devoted to his wife. The Greek text actually reads, “Let deacons be one-woman men.” Having one wife does not necessarily reflect one’s character, but being single-mindedly devoted to one’s wife does.
The fourth characteristic of a deacon’s spiritual life is that he leads his family well. Deacons are to be “good managers of their children and their own households.” (v. 12) A deacon must demonstrate some kind of management ability. The proving ground for leadership is how a man manages his children and household.
New Covenant Community Church will welcome deacons to serve whose qualifications compare to those stated in the scriptures. They will be appointed by the elders and serve at their pleasure for a three year term. At the conclusion of their three year term, they may be reappointed, take a year sabbatical and return or elect to discontinue. A new deacon will then be appointed by the elders.
Matthew 19:1-12 and I Timothy 3:8-13
The deacons will select their leader or chairman with the approval of the elders. He will serve a three year term and can be reappointed, take a year sabbatical, return and be reappointed or elect to discontinue as a deacon. He may want to return but decline to serve as chairman. The total number of deacons actively serving is the decision of the elders. The decision is based on the size of the church, and scope of responsibility in meeting the needs of the church.
What can be expected of Deacons as they serve the Church?
1. Take responsibility for the routine labors in the church, i.e., seeing that the poor and the widows have their material needs met.
2. Serve to make smooth relationships between groups in the church and between the pastor, elders, and the people. (Acts 6:1,6) It is desirable that deacons serve as a liaison group to keep the pastor and elders aware of changing conditions and needs in the church.
3. Choose greeters who will greet people at the door and maintain their schedule.
4. Choose qualified ushers and maintain their schedule.