Elder and Deacon Ministry Guide

by | Updated February 18th, 2023

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:

  1. To perfect the saints.
  2. For the work of the ministry.
  3. To edify the body.
  4. To produce unity of the faith.
  5. To increase the knowledge of our Lord.
  6. To bring believers into the likeness of Christ.
  7. To establish believers in sound doctrine.
  8. To cause the body of Christ to function in love.
  9. The growth of the body of Christ.
  10. To direct the church in its walk.

Qualifications of Elders

  1. Be respected as a leader.
  2. Be orderly and modest.
  3. Be patient and gentle.
  4. Be able to exercise self-control.
  5. Be able to teach the Word.
  6. Be the husband of one wife.
  7. Have a supportive wife.
  8. Have well-disciplined children.
  9. Not be a heavy drinker.
  10. Not be easily angered or abusive.
  11. Not be arrogant or self-centered.
  12. Not be insecure or a lover of money.
  13. Not be spiritually immature.

Responsibilities of Elders

  1. To oversee the church (Acts 20:28).
  2. To be stewards of God (Titus 1:7).
  3. To teach the Word (1 Timothy 3:2).
  4. To represent the church (James 5:14).
  5. To be spiritual leaders (Acts 6:2-4).

Functions of Elders

  1. To broaden the ministry of the pastor.
  2. To minister healing to the church.
  3. To protect the flock.
  4. To keep doctrine free from error.
  5. To provide discipline and direction.
  6. To maintain unity in the church.
  7. To make decisions in matters of morals.
  8. To impart blessings through the laying on of hands.
  9. To minister reconciliation.
  10. To provide a friendly spirit in the church.

Elders must be trained to:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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

  1. They must be honest.
  2. They must be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  3. They must be full of wisdom.
  4. They must be serious minded.
  5. They must be found blameless.
  6. They must be faithful and trustworthy.

Responsibilities of Deacons

  1. To serve others.
  2. To comfort the congregation.
  3. To care for the needy.
  4. To minister communion and baptism.
  5. To be a spiritual example.
  6. To promote harmony.
  7. To visit people.
  8. To help new members.
  9. 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.

More articles and guides...

  • Understanding the Call of God

    Being in the ministry can be full of joy. It can also be difficult at times. Only those called of God will survive. Are you sure you are called into the ministry?

  • 20 Scriptures on Deliverance

    Are you facing what seems to be insurmountable opposition and attacks from the enemy? God is about to bring deliverance into your life and situation.

  • A Church Leader’s Biblical Responsibilities

    Church leaders have certain biblical responsibilities placed on them by scripture.

  • James 1:19-21 – Swift to Hear

    James challenges us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We should spend spend twice as much time listening as we do speaking.