Difference Between Deacons and Elders

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


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Deacons vs Elders

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

Deacons vs Elders

Deacons are appointed by Elders to serve the church in managing the logistics and the physical work while Elders are appointed by Pastors 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 are supposed to 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 wordGreek word “diakonos” meaning 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 callingFor providing assistance to the eldersTeaching and preaching the Word of God


Who is a Deacon?

The word Deacon originates from the Greek word “diakonos” which literally 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 and not double-tongued, should be faithful to his wife and a good manager of his family, should not be 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, take care of 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, and thus, they do not require to have great qualities for preaching.

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 spiritual health of the congregation.

One is required to have extensive experience before they can be appointed as an Elder. Elders are appointed by Pastors 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 who are charged with the responsibility to shepherd 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 with their primary calling.

Elders, although appointed Deacons to assist them for the special needs such as finance and management, 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 Deacon and Elder 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 experience 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 experience 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 Elders are appointed by the Church committee 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.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_gwhxUVH3OAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA11&dq=Deacons+and+Elders&ots=e-dj7MHAJ-&sig=4wcwwopdpJQWlyxmOX4P8NBIuDg
  2. https://journal.dmineducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Vol5Review-Finding-Faithful-Elders-and-Deacons-Penno.pdf
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