Carl Howard          [E-mail Carl]   
Joe Applegarth      [E-mail Joe]
 The primary spiritual leaders of a congregation are
 the elders, who are also called overseers or pastors
 in the New Testament.  Elders teach or preach the
 Word and shepherd the souls of those under their
 care (Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17;   Titus 1:9; Heb.
 13:17).  Like the apostles, the elders’ primary role is
 one of preaching the Word of God. 
 Just as the apostles delegated administrative
 responsibilities that did not involve teaching or
 shepherding to the Seven, so the church's elders
 should also delegate certain responsibilities to the
 deacons so that they can focus their efforts
 elsewhere.  As a result, each local church is free to
 define the tasks of deacons based on their particular
 Such duties might include:

 Facilities:  The elders are responsible for
 overseeing the church but the responsibility for
 managing church property falls to the deacons who
 are responsible for maintaining church properties.  This would include making sure the place of worship
 is prepared for the service, cleaning up or running
 the sound system et al.
 Benevolence: The elders are reponsible for
 shepherding the congregation which includes
 benevolence but, similar to what took place in
 Acts 1-6  with the daily distribution to the widows, the
 deacons should be involved in administrating funds 
 (approved by the elders) or other assistance to the
 Finances: The elders are responsible for overseeing
 all of the financial affairs of the church (Acts 11:30), it
 may be best left to the deacons to handle the day-to-
 day matters. This would include collecting and
 counting the offering, keeping records, and so on.
 The biblical role of deacons is to take care of the physical and
 logistical needs of the church so that the elders can concentrate
 on their primary calling.  The distinctions between decons and
 elders is found in Acts 6:1–6.  The apostles were devoted “to
 prayer and to the ministry of the word” (v. 4).  Since this is also
 the primary calling of an elder, deacons are chosen to handle 
 the more practical matters in order to allow the elders the
 freedom to carry out their their work.
 The only passage of Scripture that specifically mentions the
 qualifications for deacons is in 1 Timothy 3:8–13.   Like the
 qualifications for elders, a deacon must not be an addict (v. 3,),
 not greedy for dishonest gain (v. 3), blameless (v. 2; Titus 1:6),
 the husband of one wife (v. 2), and an able manager of his
 children and household (vv. 4–5).
 The focus of the qualifications is the moral character of the
 person who is to fill the office: a deacon must be mature and
 above reproach. The main difference between an elder and a
 deacon is a difference of gifts and calling, not character.   If a
 moral qualification is listed for elders but not for deacons, that
 qualification still applies to deacons and the same goes for
 those qualifications listed for deacons but not for elders.  
 For example, a deacon should not be double-tongued (v. 8).
 Paul does not explicitly say this about elders, but no doubt
 it applies to elders since Paul has said that elders must
 be “above reproach,” which would include this prohibition.
 The most noticeable distinction between elders and deacons is
 that deacons do not need to be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2).
 Deacons are called to “hold” to the faith with a clear
 conscience, but they are not called to “teach” that faith (1 Tim.
 3:9). This suggests that the deacons do not have an official
 teaching role in the church.
 In addition to the delegated duties listed under the elder's
 duties, the duties of the deacons also include:
 Ushers: The deacons could also be responsible for distributing
 bulletins, seating the congregation, or preparing the elements
 for communion.
 Logistics: Deacons should be available to help in variety of
 ways so that the elders are able to concentrate on teaching
 and shepherding the church.


Terry Johnson        [No E-mail]         
Rod Perks              [E-mail Rod]