QUALIFICATIONS OF A DEACON
This Sunday, at the close of both services, you will be nominating four men that you believe God has chosen to serve on our Deacon Ministry team for the next three years. In addition to these four names, you will be nominating one person to represent our church in legal matters as a Director; and you will be nominating two persons to serve on our Nominating Committee for the next three years. God has blessed us to be a growing church largely because the leadership works together for the same goal of glorifying Jesus Christ. I’m sure we all want to see this continue. So, I am asking you to go to your Bibles and specifically look at the biblical qualifications for the office of Deacon as found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, which says: “Deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
These character-based qualifications would serve well as a guideline for any place of servant leadership with the Church, but they are specifically given to govern the office of Deacon. With this passage in front of you, please set aside some time to ask God to show you whom He has chosen; so that you are prepared to follow His will this coming Sunday.
Paul also wrote in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.” In short, what Paul was saying to Timothy was for him (and the Church) to “Be careful whom you select as leaders.” This verse gives us 3 GUIDELINES we must all follow carefully.
First, we are to investigate their spiritual life. The Laying on of Hands is symbolic of a transmission of authority and responsibility. Paul is clearly saying that we ought not transmit any authority to any person without first making sure they are qualified. Avoiding hastiness implies allowing time to investigate. So, as you search for God’s will, ask yourself, “What is the quality (maturity) of their walk with Christ?”
Second, we are to avoid endorsing a poor choice (share in other people’s sins). Ordaining someone who is unfit makes us as guilty as if we were partakers in the disqualifying sin with them. A good candidate must have no glaring moral failings. Pray over the men in the directory. Walk through the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, systematically asking of each one: “Is he reverent? Is he double-tongued? Does he have problems with addiction? Is he greedy? etc.” If there is ANY uncertainty, then avoid making that nomination.
Thirdly, we must prepare ourselves. Paul said, “Keep yourself pure (or ‘free from sin’).” In order to be able to discern the fitness of each candidate, we must be in uninterrupted harmony with the Holy Spirit. So spend some time asking God to search your heart for impurity in your life. Repent of everything (no matter how insignificant you think it is).
Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to nominate new leaders. You want to be sure that they lead you the way Jesus would have all of us go. So, please, be wise in doing so.