Qualifications Pt. 1
1 Timothy 3:8
Sometimes we make the mistake of differentiating between the offices of pastor and deacon by talking about those who lead the church (pastors) and those who serve the church (deacons). I say we do this mistakenly because both are to be servants and both are to be leaders. In truth, they should readily surrender to the reality that those called by God to be in these positions are to be servant leaders. Pastors serve the flock by utilizing their God-given gifts every day. Deacons become leaders by virtue of their servanthood. If Jesus came to serve and not be served, how much more, then, should the men called to minister to the flock be servants? I tell my deacons all the time that when they serve the people of the church, the people will put them into leadership positions. That means that both pastors and deacons should be and will be held to a higher level of accountability.
In many ways the qualifications for deacons are similar to that of pastors. Paul told pastors at the beginning that they are to be blameless, and then describes what that means in the verses that follow. He included the qualification for deacons, too. Both groups of men must live lives of personal integrity so that no one can charge them with any misconduct. They must have the respect of those inside and outside the church.
Notice how Paul started this list: “Likewise the deacons must be reverent….” In other words, just like pastors, deacons must have this character trait, too. Being reverent. We tend to think of this word as meaning miserable. It’s kind of like the man who was walking down the street when he was stopped by a passerby who asked him, “Are you a pastor?” To which the man replied, “No, but I have been sick lately.” I can’t get my mind around how people think that godliness means walking around with your hands folded in front of you with a serious look on your face. The most godly man of all times was accused of being a party-animal (glutton and winebibber), and children loved Him. You don’t get that reaction if someone is serious all of the time. Neither are pastors and deacons required to be serious all of the time. The word does mean that they are serious-minded men who know how to behave when serious issues confront the church. The word does mean that they must be men whose character merits respect. The word does mean that they are to be men of dignity and purpose. But it doesn’t mean serious all the time. It doesn’t mean boring. Like the song says, “Pastors just want to have fun!” Well, maybe the song doesn’t refer to pastors, and maybe pastors don’t JUST want to have fun. But I think you get my meaning!