The office of deacon: Character
It’s often said that one of the most important aspects of leadership is simply showing up. Just be there, and people will follow. People like their leaders to be visible. This attests to the truism that leadership begins and ends with example. It would be difficult to imagine a leadership role where this is more…
It’s often said that one of the most important aspects of leadership is simply showing up. Just be there, and people will follow. People like their leaders to be visible. This attests to the truism that leadership begins and ends with example.
It would be difficult to imagine a leadership role where this is more true than that of a deacon. A deacon’s example is his means of leadership. Since a deacon isn’t required to teach, his service is how he leads. He doesn’t lead with his mouth, but with his hands. And so the quality of a deacon’s life must be exemplary. He must be elder-like in his character.
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul lists seven qualities that must be true for a deacon. We’ll tackle the first four in this post. Paul starts with one positive characteristic, and then moves to three negatives.
The first thing Paul lists is the deacon’s dignity. Deacons can’t be silly and frivolous. Even in service and menial tasks, a deacon must carry himself with gravitas. Of course, he can laugh and smile and have fun, but when it comes time to serve, deacons must be serious, not glib or superficial. The diaconate doesn’t demand sullenness, but it does demand dignity.
The following three negative characteristics help us define what that dignity looks like. The deacon can’t be double-tongued. He must be trustworthy when he talks, not a whisperer or a gossip. His speech must be consistent, not duplicitous. People must know that their deacons are trustworthy, and that they tell the truth.
Next, the deacon can’t be addicted to much wine. In fact, deacons shouldn’t be addicted to anything. They must maintain control of their faculties, and not give control to any substance.
Lastly, a deacon’s dignity means he can’t love money. A deacon can’t be drunk with greed. This is important because deacons often handle a church’s finances. Money has the power to corrupt, so a deacon must beware the temptation of greed.
If someone’s dignity isn’t clear to all in the areas of speech, control, and finances, then he’s not qualified to be a deacon. He either sets a dignified example, or he’s no deacon at all.
Mr. Dumas models and promotes creative and transformational ministry by serving Southern Seminary as the Senior Vice President for Institutional Administration and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership. He came to Louisville from Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he served as Elder, Executive Pastor, Executive Director of Conferences, and Pastor of the Cornerstone Fellowship Group.
This post originally appeared on Dan Dumas’ website Leaders Don’t Panic.
Are you interested in learning more about convictional leadership? Join Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., Dan Dumas, Daniel Patz, Chris Bruno and others at the Northland Leadership Summit April 29-May 1. This leadership summit is designed to motivate and equip Christians for a life of intentional leadership.