Deacons vs Elders: Difference and Comparison

The difference between Deacons and Elders might seem subtle, but these differences are noteworthy. Deacons and Elders are two biblical offices appointed by God to take care of his church.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Deacons are church officers in Christian denominations responsible for various tasks, such as administering charitable activities, assisting in worship services, and supporting the pastoral staff.
  2. Elders are church leaders in Christian denominations responsible for providing spiritual oversight, teaching, and pastoral care to the congregation, and they often serve as members of a church’s governing body.
  3. Both deacons and elders are roles in Christian churches, but deacons focus on practical tasks and support, while elders provide spiritual leadership and oversight.

Deacons vs Elders

The difference between deacons and Elders is that Deacons are the ones who take care of the administrative work, such as looking after the church building, distributing goods, or giving assistance to seekers. In contrast, Elders concentrate on spiritual teaching and preaching the Word.

Deacons vs Elders

Elders appoint deacons to serve the church by managing the logistics and the physical work, while Pastors appoint Elders to guide and motivate Deacons through their journey.

Another difference between Deacons and Elders is that Deacons do not need to be raised and nurtured just for this work, unlike Elders, who should have extensive experience and superior spiritual understanding.

Another notable difference is that Deacons only need to have faith in the Word of God; on the contrary, Elders are asked to teach the Word due to their better understanding of the preaching.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDeaconsElders
Origin of the wordThe Greek word “diakonos” means attendantGreek word “episkopos” meaning overseers
Appointed forPhysical service to the churchLeading the church and overseeing the spiritual needs of the congregation
ExperienceNo prior experience requiredYears of experience required
Appointed byEldersCommittee of the Church
Primary callingTo assist the eldersTeaching and preaching the Word of God


Who is a Deacon?

Deacon originates from the Greek word “diakonos”, which means a waiter or an attendant. The primary function of Deacons is to provide assistance to the Elders and look after the Church.

The Deacons are supposed to be dignified, not double-tongued, faithful to their wife and a good manager of their family, and not an addict or greedy.

The Bible also mentions testing a Deacon before appointing them, especially if he is a new convert.

The Deacons are called upon to look after the church building, help the poor and needy, handle the logistics, and distribute goods to the seekers. They are also supposed to have faith in God and his Word.

However, the Bible does not call upon them to teach the Word of God; thus, they do not require great preaching qualities.

Their role is limited to managing the finances, arranging the order of the church before service begins, seating the congregation, or distributing the bulletins in the modern Church.


Who is an Elder?

An Elder, also known as the Shepherd, holds the office of the bishop and is charged with the duty of looking after the congregation’s spiritual health.

One is required to have extensive experience before one can be appointed as an Elder. Pastors appoint elders after an intensive trial to ensure they fit the role.

Elders are the primary speaker in a congregation and look after the spiritual well-being of the people. They hold the position of leading the Church and are often compared to the apostles and prophets charged with shepherding the church.

In the Old Testament, Paul allotted twelve Pastors to spread the Word of God and look after the Church; later, he mentioned that Pastors further called upon their disciples to serve the church so they could continue their primary calling.

Although appointed Deacons to assist them with special needs such as finance and management, Elders were still responsible for overseeing the Church and its management entirely.

They inspired and guided the deacons to carry out the things in need so they could concentrate on their fundamental duty of preaching and teaching the Word of God.


Main Differences Between Deacons and Elders

  1. The main difference between Deacons and Elders is that elders are preachers of the Word of God, while Deacons are servants of the Church.
  2. Another key difference is that Deacons require no prior experience to serve in the church, but Elders require extensive expertise before they are appointed for the position.
  3. Another key difference is that Deacons require no prior experience to serve in the church, but Elders require extensive expertise before they are appointed for the position.
  4. Deacons are appointed for the logistics and management work, while Elders are the primary speakers in a congregation.
  5. Deacons are appointed by Elders, while the Church committee appoints Elders after intensive trial to make sure they are suitable for the position.
  6. Deacons are the servants of the Church and are thus less prone to the sin of pride, unlike Elders, who are more susceptible to such sin since they are appointed as leaders of the Church.
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