This Sunday it is going to be a very good day in the life of the church. Toward the end of the worship service we will be electing Rick Chamness to the office of elder and David MacRaild to the office of deacon.
Most of you know Rick and David quite well. They are both men who love God and His people. Both Rick and David have proven themselves worthy of the noble task of leading Christ's church as they have already been serving God by shepherding his sheep. In my estimation they both exemplify the type of men God calls to the roles of elder and deacon.
So what are the roles of elder and deacon in the Bible?
Jesus calls qualified men to lead his church as elders. Qualifications for eldership are found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and include leading their families well, a record of serving Jesus well both in the church and in everyday life, a thorough knowledge of the Bible and a mature Christian walk, and a good reputation both in and out of the church. The primary duties of elders include praying and studying Scripture, leading the vision of the church, caring for the people of the church, teaching, living lives that are exemplary, protecting the people of the church from false doctrine and teachers, and developing other leaders.
Jesus calls qualified men and women to lead his church as deacons, a word that is literally translated as “servants.” The office of deacon is first mentioned in Acts 6. As the burden of ministry grew for the early church, elders, in addition to prayer, study, leading, and teaching, were also taking on large workloads to serve the needy in the church and handle the administrative functions of the church. As a solution, the elders appointed deacons to assist the elders in these responsibilities. Deacons assist the elders in the day-to-day functions of church administration and activity. Qualifications for deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3 and include integrity, generosity, soberness, a clear understanding of the Bible, a well-ordered home, and a good reputation both in the church and outside the church.
Again, this a good day in the life of the church. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it."