As grateful, Gospel people "we love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). We live this out by loving and serving our neighbor (Romans 15:1-3). The faithful servants of God who lead us in our serving are called Deacons. The Greek word in the Bible for "deacon" literally means "servant." Although all Christians are called to serve others because Jesus served us (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:5-7), the role of the Deacon is to be reliable for this service.
Chosen to Serve
The first deacons were appointed in the early Church with these words from the twelve apostles, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:2-4) This sums up the ministry of the Deacon. They are called to serve by freeing up the pastors to preach, teach, and pray. So you will see our deacons serving whenever our doors are open. But given their role, they will also be serving when no one else is looking (Matthew 6:2-4).
The biblical qualifications of a pastor are almost identical to the qualifications of a deacon. The primary difference is that a deacon is not required to be "able to teach" (1 Timothy 3:2) or "to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9). Pastors are called to teach and defend, while deacons are called to serve and manage. The apostle Paul defines the qualifications for deacons as follows:
"Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 3:8-13)