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From Understanding Church Leadership by Mark Dever
We should always be careful to maintain a distinction between the ministry of deacons and the ministry of elders. In one sense both elders and deacons are involved in “deaconing,” but that service takes on two very different forms, both of which we see in Acts 6.
2 Types of “deaconing”
1- ministry (deaconing) of the Word— Apostles and then elders
2- serve (deacon) tables— the 7 & then the office of deacon
A church needs both types of deaconing— of the Word (elders) and of tables (deacons)— so that one is not confused with the other and neither is forgotten. Churches should neglect neither the preaching of the Word nor the practical care for the members that helps to foster unity.
Drawing from Acts 6, we can say that those who serve as deacons should be known to be “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (v. 3). They might be concerned with physical things, but theirs is a spiritual ministry. Such spiritual-minded wisdom enables them to oversee church resources in a manner that serves the unity of the flock. They should be chosen by the congregation and possess the congregation’s confidence. And they should willingly and diligently take on the responsibility for the particular needs of their ministry.
In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Paul spells out further what deacons should be like. They should be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, not pursuing dishonest gain, keeping hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience, tested and approved servants who are the husband of but one wife, and able managers of their children and household.