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Difference Between Deacons and Elders

Deacons vs Elders

The majority don’t know that an elder and a deacon are two different persons or offices. Many assume that they are the same or that the difference between them is not that significant. However, it must be recognized that these two offices were specially designated by God because His church is to be administered or managed by different individuals with different gifts, specializations, and abilities.

One can be considered a church elder if he is spiritually mature. This means that he has been nurtured or raised for the purpose of serving the Lord. This does not mean, though, that if someone is already old enough like in his 50s or 60s that he is immediately qualified to become an elder. These individuals should be like the apostles and prophets who have years of experience in the spiritual ministry.

Elders are the overseers of the church. The term “elder” is related to the Greek word “episkopos” which refers to the office of the bishop and the person holding this office. They are tasked with supporting, encouraging, and guiding the lower office of the deacons.

Deacons are responsible for assisting the pastor by feeding the less fortunate, taking charge of the church building, distributing goods, and even in helping deal with widows. Their presence gives time for the pastor to do other activities like prayer and fasting. The latter were the ones who appointed new deacons for the church at large. Deacons are the servants of the church. They have been called forth for spiritual service.

In the scripture of Acts, Paul appointed new pastors to oversee the church. Specifically in Chapter 6 verse 2, it is stated that “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” The term “serve” is used with particular reference to “diakonos.” It is a Greek word that means “waiter or attendant” to which the title “deacon” has been derived.

In 1st Timothy Chapter 3, the qualifications of either the elder or the deacon do not vary that much because it mentions more on the character qualifications rather than the role descriptions. The two (elder or deacon) should be reverent, have a pure conscience, holy, hospitable, faithful to the word, and not strongly connected to money and wine.

Summary:

1.The offices of the elder and deacon are two separate entities.
2.Pastors appoint elders while elders appoint deacons.
3.Elders do more spiritual oversight while deacons do more of the physical hand and legwork of the church.


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