Qualifications for Deacons in the Church

“There are numerous passages in the New Testament that use the Greek term “diakonos” and its cognates. The word ‘deacon’ simply means ‘servant” or ‘minister.’ In one sense, all of God’s people are called as ‘ministers’ or ‘deacons.’ However, there seems to be an official role for some to share that is designated with the title of ‘deacon.’” —Book of Church Order for Sovereign Grace Churches (10.1)

“Scripture does not provide great detail on the function of deacons. Some hold that the office is devoted primarily to meeting the temporal needs of the church. Others hold that the office involves any service that frees up the pastors to govern the church and devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and Prayer (Acts 6:2-4). Either view is acceptable in Sovereign Grace. The character requirements in 1 Timothy 3 indicate the spiritual maturity the role demands and underline its significance for the life of the church (cf. Phil. 1:1). Deacons are not required to be able to teach, nor are they given the responsibility of church governance; those roles fall to elders/pastors/overseers. However, deacons can greatly bolster and support the role of the elders and the health of the congregation. They can do this by assuming responsibility for the leadership and care of the congregation in many areas in order to free elders to better lead in the ministry of the Word and prayer. Additionally, their involvement can help provide additional communication pathways with the congregation vital to a healthy, thriving church.”—Book of Church Order for Sovereign Grace Churches (10.3)

“The joy, peace, unity, and fruitfulness of the local church depends in part on having a cadre of faithful table servants (or deacons) who are present when needed, eager to serve without being intrusive.” —Thabiti Anyabwile

1. What does a deacon do?

2. Who can be a deacon?

“The word of a deacon ought to be one of the strongest guarantees in the church. People both inside and outside the church must be able to take deacons at their words.” —Philip Ryken

“We are looking for people who know the truth of God’s Word in their own converting experience and with sufficient understanding to live and model it for others. Congregations should not neglect this qualification, because deacons inevitably find themselves in gospel conversations, applying the truth of the faith to their ministries and the lives of the people.” —Thabiti Anyabwile

“The requirement here does not speak to whether a man has been divorced or remarried, but, if he is married, speaks to a general faithfulness and sexual purity in his current marriage. The point is to examine his character, and a man’s marriage reveals his character.”—Book of Church Order for Sovereign Grace Churches (10.2.7)