Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Biblical Church Leadership Part 2: Deacons

Monday, I took some time to start looking at biblical church leadership and I started with the first office of an elder. Today, I will look at the second office of biblical church leadership, deacons. I will look at the office itself, what deacons do, who is qualified to be a deacon, and how it is that they work together with the elders for the good of the church.


Greek word for deacon, "Diakonos", simply means servant. In Acts 6:1-7, we see deacons as the ones appointed to the position of leadership as a servant or offering service to the whole body. Mark Dever helpfully points out three areas of a deacons ministry.

     1.Deacons must care for physical needs

  • Acts 6:1-2 (Exemplifying John 13:35)
     2. Deacons must strive for unity amongst the body

  • Acts 6:1 there is a disunity or complaint coming against the body, which the deacons are chosen to serve in this area of keeping unity.
     3.  Deacons are to support the ministry of the apostles

  • Acts 6:3

Qualified, godly men and women can be deacons. The list of qualifications for deacons can be found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and the list is almost identical to the qualifications of an elder with two key exceptions. First, an elder must be able to teach and preach on some level, whereas a deacon is not required to have any teaching ability. Second, both this passage and Romans 16:1 point to the fact that women may also serve in the role of deacon, which is a clear distinction from that of an elder.


Both the elders and the deacons have important roles in the church that they work together for the overall good of the church. Godly male elders through their oversight of the church, including equipping the body and the teaching and preaching. Godly male and female deacons through the leadership in the works of a servant.


This post is adapted from a recent teaching on biblical church leadership conducted with a group of S. Asian church planters. Four main resources were used in preparation for this teaching: The ESV Study Bible, Danny Akin's A Theology for the Church, Mark Driscoll's Doctrine: What Every Christian Should Believe, and Nathan Shank's Four Fields of Kingdom Growth.

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