To be faithful to the Scriptures and to God's plan for his Church, we affirm the leadership of those who are called by the Holy Spirit to serve our local church and who meet the qualifications for biblical deaconship.
Though the word "deacon" means "servant", the office of deacon is a position of leadership through service. The very first deacons were chosen to assist the Apostles in the leadership of the church.
"So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them...' This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them." (Acts 6:2-3, 5-6 NIV)
Deacons are to be selected from those who have chosen to lead through Christ-like service. They are to be examined, doctrinally and morally, to see if they are qualified to lead in the Body of Christ.
"They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons." (1 Tim 3:10 NIV)
Finally, Paul pairs the deacons with the elders/overseers, thus indicating both offices together form the leadership of the church:
"Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons..." (Phil 1:1 NIV)
The church is to be served by a plurality of deacons, amongst which there is equality, humility and respect.
- "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons..." (Phil 1:1 NIV)
"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain."
(1 Tim 3:8 NIV)
Deacons may only serve the church if they have been examined and found morally and spiritually sound. The apostle Paul gives a description of qualifications for the deaconate:
"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons... A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well."
(1 Tim 3:8-10, 12 NIV)
Clearly, deacons are to be worthy role models, full of integrity. They are to be balanced and self-controlled, particularly with respect to alcohol, money and gossip. They must be deeply committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They also must be above reproach in their marital and sexual lives. They must manage their own lives and households well.