Church Elder and Deacon Guide
Every Christian should find their ministry in the church, including those called to be elders, deacons and ushers. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Paul tells us the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ to function in a particular place. In Acts 20, Paul spent two years at Ephesus training the elders who directed one of the greatest churches in history.
God gave ministry gifts:
- To perfect the saints.
- For the work of the ministry.
- To edify the body.
- To produce unity of the faith.
- To increase the knowledge of our Lord.
- To bring believers into the likeness of Christ.
- To establish believers in sound doctrine.
- To cause the body of Christ to function in love.
- The growth of the body of Christ.
- To direct the church in its walk.
Qualifications of Elders
- Be respected as a leader.
- Be orderly and modest.
- Be patient and gentle.
- Be able to exercise self-control.
- Be able to teach the Word.
- Be the husband of one wife.
- Have a supportive wife.
- Have well-disciplined children.
- Not be a heavy drinker.
- Not be easily angered or abusive.
- Not be arrogant or self-centered.
- Not be insecure or a lover of money.
- Not be spiritually immature.
Responsibilities of Elders
- To oversee the church (Acts 20:28).
- To be stewards of God (Titus 1:7).
- To teach the Word (1 Timothy 3:2).
- To represent the church (James 5:14).
- To be spiritual leaders (Acts 6:2-4).
Functions of Elders
- To broaden the ministry of the pastor.
- To minister healing to the church.
- To protect the flock.
- To keep doctrine free from error.
- To provide discipline and direction.
- To maintain unity in the church.
- To make decisions in matters of morals.
- To impart blessings through the laying on of hands.
- To minister reconciliation.
- To provide a friendly spirit in the church.
Elders must be trained to:
- Watch out for themselves (Acts 20:28), the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3, Acts 20:28), their home (1 Timothy 3:4-5), contentious people (Acts 20:30), and weak members (Acts 20:35).
- Wait for instruction (2 Timothy 2:2), spiritual strength (Isaiah 37, Isaiah 40:31, Psalms 40:1-3), maturity (Hebrew 6:1), and direction (Acts 16:6-10).
- Warn against spiritual attacks (2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Peter 5:8, Acts 20:28-32), divisiveness (1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Romans 16:17), deceptive doctrine (Romans 16:17), and false prophets (Acts 20:28-30).
- Worship with presence (Acts 2:42, Hebrews 10:24-25), prayer (Psalm 100, 1 Timothy 2:8), participation (Hebrews 13:15), and practice (Romans 12:1, 1 John 2:4-6).
Qualifications of Deacons
- They must be honest.
- They must be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- They must be full of wisdom.
- They must be serious minded.
- They must be found blameless.
- They must be faithful and trustworthy.
Responsibilities of Deacons
- To serve others.
- To comfort the congregation.
- To care for the needy.
- To minister communion and baptism.
- To be a spiritual example.
- To promote harmony.
- To visit people.
- To help new members.
- To usher and welcome visitors.
God gave the church a mandate and provided the mechanism to accomplish the task. It’s more than mechanical structure – the church is a living organism. The Holy Spirit breathes life into the body and will do His work when we submit to His way.