Cornerstone Bible Church Deacon Guidelines Adopted February 5, 2020
We seek to glorify Christ by leading people to know Jesus, grow into His likeness, and go make Him known to others. Service in the Body and in the greater community has many facets and requires many hands.
Three passages in the New Testament help to explain the position of Deacon: Acts 6:1-7, Philippians 1:1, and 1st Timothy 3:8-12. The Deacons of Cornerstone Bible Church will have specific areas of responsibility and look to the Elders’ Board for leadership and oversight.
The general concept of Deacon as a servant of the church is well established in both the Bible and church history. The Deacon is intended to serve as a model to the local church through the character of his life as well as through his involvement in ministry. The role of Deacon is not intended to be sought after for personal honor, but rather it is to be viewed as a call to a greater commitment of service. The desire and willingness to live the life of a servant is a critical qualification for Deacon selection.
Paul wrote that the reward for faithfulness in the office of Deacon is that they “obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13). The selfless Deacon may also feel close kinship with his Master, who walked the earth as “One who serves” (Luke 22:27). The board of Elders has instituted the office of Deacon so that the Elders may devote more of their time to feeding, leading, and caring for the body of Christ.
Selection of Deacons
Elders shall interview prospective Deacons, as well as encourage feedback from the membership as to the character of the man being brought forward for approval. The Board shall present all new candidates to the congregation in the bulletin on two consecutive Sundays before they are appointed. The congregation shall be encouraged to give their support of, or reasons for any concerns about a candidate during those two weeks. Upon review of the interviews and the congregational feedback, the board will present those Deacons they have unanimously agreed upon to the congregation for congregational affirmation and recognize the appointment(s) at a Sunday worship service. Appointments can be made at any time the Elder Board deems necessary.
Acts 6:1-7 (v.1) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. (v. 2) 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. (v. 3) 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 (v. 4) and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (v. 5) This 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. (v. 6) They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. (v. 7) So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
- Full of the Holy Spirit – The word “full” means “covered in every part, thoroughly permeated with, complete, lacking nothing” concerning God’s Holy Spirit. Deacons are to be completely dedicated to the presence and guidance of God’s Spirit in their personal life and in their daily work.
- Full of wisdom – The word “wisdom” means the Deacon, because of a relationship to God’s Spirit, knows how to both choose and act wisely in all matters. Common sense is certainly a part of the meaning.
- Full of faith – This is not specifically stated as a requirement but is inferred from the selection of Stephen. It means the Deacon should be clear in his understanding of his own faith, and he should be strong first in its proclamation, and then, if need be, strong in its defense as he carries out his responsibilities.
I Timothy 3:8-12. (v. 8) Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. (v. 9) They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. (v. 10) They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as Deacons. (v. 11) In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. (v. 12) A Deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.
- Worthy of respect – The Deacon is to be a person whose moral and spiritual character evokes esteem from others; a person that is considered honorable or noble. He should be a person that has a respectful reputation especially in spiritual matters.
- Sincere – The Deacon is to be truthful and trustworthy. He should not say one thing to one person and something different to another. A Deacon’s word must be honest; not a person that takes part in gossip, tale bearing, idle talking, or slander and does not use manipulative, insincere, or deceitful speech. He is not a liar.
- Not indulging in much wine – For the Deacon, there is to be no abuse or dependence on any drug – may include the regular use of alcohol even though not getting drunk, if inappropriate dependence is demonstrated. There should be a demonstrated freedom not to drink. Paul is prohibiting the abuse of wine or any other substance that could damage a Deacon’s testimony and make ineffective his Christian witness.
- Not pursuing dishonest gain – Not willing to manipulate or resort to illegitimate means for personal gain, either for money or for recognition, especially in the area of ministry. The person demonstrates a proper values system, including a willingness to give up money making opportunities for the sake of the gospel. The Deacon is not to be controlled by a greedy obsession to obtain all the material possessions he can.
- Must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience – The words “keep hold” speaks of knowing the Word of God and “clear conscience” speaks of doing the Word of God. This simply means that a Deacon’s life must be consistent with Christian doctrine. The Deacon should believe in sound doctrine and should hold firm to his convictions. His spiritual integrity is beyond reproach.
- Must first be tested – The Deacon must demonstrate his spiritual qualifications before being elected to serve in the position of Deacon. His daily attitude, speech, and conduct should be observed for an appropriate period by the Elders of the church. The Deacon should have a proven ability to do the work of shepherding and service effectively and without any grounds of accusation.
- The husband of one wife – Literally, a “one-woman man”, this means specifically that there is at most only one wife in the Deacon’s life. It means in principle that the Deacon has his sexuality resolved and under control. This should not be interpreted to mean that a man must be married in order to serve as a Deacon or that a man that has been divorced is ineligible to serve as a Deacon.
- Manages his children and household well – The primary application is to married men meaning that their family life is good. The Deacon should act as a responsible Christian father, husband, and household manager providing for his family financially, emotionally, and spiritually in an active ever-present role through example and service. One key measurement when evaluating a man’s household management is the behavior of his wife and children. Because the home is often referred as a microcosm of the church, it is imperative a Deacon is able to care for his family before he can care for the church of God. In the case of the unmarried, it means that they have close relationships and that those relationships are generally healthy and stable. A pattern of broken relationships suggests an inability to get along with others (especially his family and friends) and should disqualify him to serve as a Deacon.
Qualifications for the Wife of the Deacon
I Timothy 3:11 – In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
- Worthy of respect – This refers in the same manner as the qualification of the Deacon. The wife of the Deacon should be truthful and trustworthy. She also should be a person that has a respectful reputation especially in spiritual matters.
- Not a malicious talker – Similar to the Deacon the wife should be forthright in her speech; not participating in gossip or slander. She should not use manipulative, insincere, or deceitful speech. He is not a liar. The wife of a Deacon should not be one who is loose with the tongue.
- Temperate – This usually refers to someone who is sober-minded and calm. A temperate person is one who is collected, well composed, and not easily excited. The temperate person is possessed with balanced judgment.
- Trustworthy in everything – The wife of the Deacon must be faithful and reliable in all things. She needs to be a person that can be depended upon. She must be faithful to her husband, to her family, to the church, and above all, to Jesus Christ.
To summarize, then, the qualifications of the Deacon’s wife include holding a serious view of life, avoiding the spreading of gossip, striving to maintain a balanced sense of judgment, and dependability in every area of life. A wife such as the one described can be a real asset to any man, especially to the Deacon who has official responsibilities in the church of God.
Duties of a Deacon
- Be a member in good standing of Cornerstone Bible Church and committed to the church’s Statement of Faith, and the Vision/Purpose Statement
- Loyal support of the pastor and the pastoral staff
- Faithful attendance at the services of the church
- Regular attendance at the meetings of the Board of Deacons
- Encouragement of and the participation in the organization and ministries of the church • Assist in the ministering of the gospel to believers and unbelievers
- Demonstrate Christ-like consecration, loyalty, prayer support, and faithfulness to the church body
- Assist in visiting the sick and needy of the church
Specific Duties of a Deacon
A Deacon shall be assigned tasks communicated by the Elders and shall mainly consist of serving the temporal, physical, and benevolent needs of the body of believers. This may include any area of church ministry that the Elders find is distracting them from their main calling. Those areas include Sunday Worship Facility oversight, Enterprise Way Facility and property oversight, Benevolence oversight, and other service projects as the needs arise.
Each Deacon will be partnered with an Elder who will meet with him on a monthly basis for encouragement and prayer. This Elder will give feedback at the monthly Elder meeting as to how the Deacons can best serve the Elders and be served by the Elders. At the discretion of the Elders, Deacons may be called to a meeting to give a report about their ministry. Each Deacon and associated Elder will sit down once a year with one other Elder (preferably the Elder Chairman or the Senior Pastor) for the purpose of prayerful evaluation of the past year.
The Deacons are encouraged to partner with as many volunteers as possible to complete their tasks. This will get more people involved and help in raising new leadership for the future.
Organization and Structure of the Board of Deacons
The Board of Deacons exists to facilitate and communicate the work of the Deacons. It shall be made up of all the men appointed by the Elders and affirmed by the congregation for the Deacon role. A Chairman will be elected at the first meeting after the Annual CBC Membership Meeting by the Deacon Board to serve for a year. Meetings should be held once a month on the first Tuesday at a convenient time agreed upon. Minutes are to be kept at each meeting and approved by the board at the next scheduled meeting. These minutes shall be maintained by the chairman and submitted to the Administrative Assistant for archival storage.
The Deacon Chairman shall create the agenda for each meeting (sometimes in coordination with the Elder Chairman.) The Deacon Chairman will be responsible to move through the agenda and include other members of the board in analysis of agenda items and decision making. He should also plan to be present at one Elders’ meeting per month to report on the activities of the Deacons. A yearly report of Deacons’ activities will be prepared by the chairman for the Annual Meeting in February.
Vice Chairman and Secretary/ Treasurer are also officer positions that may be chosen depending on the size of the board.
A Deacon shall serve an indefinite period subject to his character, ability, and availability to serve. If the time comes when the Elder Board feels a Deacon is no longer fit for the ministry, he may be asked to step down from the office (requires 2/3 Elders’ Board vote.) A Deacon at his discretion may also step out of the office for a season of time to attend to other matters. There shall be no limit to the number of Deacons.