Deacon Qualifications

The Baptist church I attend is conducting its annual election for deacons, which is a fellowship I belong to. Part of our process is to interview any candidate for election to make certain each one understands and fully appreciates the call of serving as a deacon.  In the interview the qualifications followed by our church are reviewed, and while we stress the Biblical qualifications stated in the New Testament, we may be different in some ways from other Baptist churches; for instance, we allow females to serve as deacons. Although churches and other houses of worship follow different qualifications for being a deacon or elder or whatever a lay servant is called, a list of certain expectations is shared by churches.

Because we are Baptist, we expect any deacon to be a member of our church, of a certain age, married to one spouse or single, a Christ follower, a provider for his or her family, a person willing to serve the community, and more. For  instance, we would not allow a known “winebibber” to be a deacon nor would we allow a contentious person to be a deacon. We want church members who desire fellowship and unity and growth. Any church member who models that behavior, we want in our fellowship of deacons.

I have been busy with these thoughts because of our coming deacon election, but also because of the national election for a president. As I think of the expectations we have for a deacon, I realize that President Trump, if he were a member of  our church, could not be considered for serving in our deacon fellowship. The only qualification he has is he is  not a “winebibber.” But he qualifies in no other way: He takes the name of the Lord in vain, he slanders opponents and reporters he disagrees with, he has over a dozen women who accuse him of assault, his mean spirit is on display in every gathering, he lies, he takes no responsibility for anything, he seems to love only money, and on and on.

I know that he is President of  the United States and not a member of our church. But as we approach this important election I am saddened by the fact that he would not qualify to be considered a deacon in our small church. Should not all leaders of countries identify with some faith, something larger than himself or herself. Larger than us all.

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