How to Become a Deaconess at Grace Bible
Deaconship at Grace Bible Church is taken very seriously for a Deaconess has
great responsibilities toward God and His Church. He cannot fulfill these unless
he meets the qualifications of both character and giftedness that God has set
forth in the Scriptures. A fully qualified Deacon is a great asset to the
church. An unqualified Deacon can be a danger to her. The Grace Bible Church
policy defining the process of becoming a Deacon is available from the church
office to any church member upon request. The basic steps of the process are
1) A woman is saved and begins her walk with Jesus Christ.
2) She grows in maturity through various means (see below) and is recognized
by those in the congregation as having the marks of a godly woman as noted in
passages such as in Galatians 5:22,23 ("fruit of the Spirit"), 1 Timothy 2:9-15;
Titus 2:3-5 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 and meeting the specific qualifications for a
Deaconess listed in 1 Timothy 3:11 (see attached paper). She is then nominated
by a Church Member to be considered by the Elders as a candidate.
3) The Elders evaluate the nominee as to her qualifications and then direct
her accordingly to grow in any areas of deficiency and/or prepare for Deaconess
Internship and confirmation as a Deaconess.
4) Deaconess Intern is presented to Congregation for affirmation.
Means of spiritually maturing.
A) A consistent personal devotional life of Bible study and prayer
B) Involvement in personal discipleship both as one who is being discipled
and as someone who is discipling others.
C) Consistent and humble usage of their spiritual gifts in ministry.
D) Taking advantage of any regular or special classes that might be helpful
toward Deaconess training. This would include ministries such a worship
services, Sunday School, small group Bible studies, special seminars, etc.
(For those who desire to pursue self study, please talk with a Pastor, Elder
or Deaconess to set up a course of self study).
E) Reading of Christian books helpful to a greater understanding of the
Bible, theology and its application to daily life. (A list of suggested books
and resources is attached)
If you are taking advantage of the various means of spiritually maturing as
noted above and are interested in becoming a Deaconess, whether in the near or
distant future, then please talk with a Pastor, Elder or Deaconess for specific
direction in preparing yourself for this wonderful and important ministry.
Grace Bible Church
Policy on Selecting and Removing Deaconesses
(Revised and Approved 5/16/2004)
A Deaconess has great responsibilities toward God and His Church. She cannot
fulfill these unless she meets the qualifications of both giftedness and
character that God has set forth in the Scriptures. A fully qualified Deaconess
is a great asset to the church. An unqualified deaconess is a hindrance and
possible danger to her. The process given here is to help determine if a woman
is equipped in character and in giftedness to serve as a Deaconess. If this is
done correctly, then the church will simply be recognizing a woman God has set
apart to this ministry and the church will be blessed. If done incorrectly, then
it will be just people choosing women to be leader-servants and the church will
It is also recognized that a woman that gives all appearance of being
qualified at one point in time may later prove herself unqualified. Therefore
this policy includes a means to remove unqualified women from being a Deaconess.
Also included is a brief outline of how a woman can work toward developing
herself to be a Deaconess. It is our belief that though not every Christian
woman will have the necessary gifts to be a Deaconess, nevertheless, every
Christian woman should be developing themselves to meet the spiritual and
character qualifications of being a Deaconess.
The process of selecting Deaconesses will be accomplished in five phases
5) Continuing Reaffirmation
A. Identified by an Elder, Deacon or Deaconess.
Each existing Elder, Deacon and Deaconess should, as a part of regular
ministry, identify women who desire to be a Deaconess and may be qualified.
Such women should be discipled and prepared to be a Deaconess. Such an
identified individual should be:
1) In the discipleship process (discipling or being discipled)
2) Involved in church ministry.
3) Ready for simultaneous evaluation and internship
B. Identified by a member of the church.
Members of the church should suggest to the Elders women they recognize
that may meet the qualifications for a Deaconess, are doing the work of
ministry and desire to do the work of a Deaconess. Such an identified
individual should be:
1) Active in a ministry of the church
2) Actively involved in the discipleship process (discipling or being
3) Assigned to an Elder & a Deaconess for initial screening and assistance.
C. Approval to proceed in the process
1) A current Elder or Deaconess will meet with the nominee and complete an
Initial Self Evaluation Questionnaire with her (see Appendix A). The process
continues only after individual has completed this Initial Evaluation
Questionnaire, given serious consideration and prayer to the matter, and still
desires to proceed.
2) ) The Elder or Deaconess that completes the Initial Evaluation
Questionnaire with the nominee reports their findings to all the Elders. A
nominee does not proceed unless approved by all the Elders. Those turned down
at this phase are to be encouraged to work in the areas of weakness pointed
out for possible future re-nomination.
D. Assigned Discipling Deaconess
Each approved candidate is assigned to an existing Deaconess for
discipleship, evaluation and help through the process (i.e. contact, guidance,
support, accountability, modeling, evaluation of home life and reputation in
A. Written Evaluation (see Appendix B)
1) Testimony of salvation
2) Testimony of current ministries
4) Philosophy of ministry
B. Assigned Discipling Deaconess (This formally begins
with nomination approval)
1) Assistance with testimonies and written evaluation
2) Spending time to get an accurate picture of family life. Mentoring
Deaconess should be able to identify the strengths and weakness in the
candidate’s relationship with her husband and children.
3) Investigation of reputation outside the church. The candidate is to give
a list of references which are to be contacted by an Elder or Deaconess. In
addition, neighbors, known friends and co-workers should also be contacted.
(See Appendix C for possible questions for this investigation).
4) Identification of any deficiency or weakness in character, ministry or
belief and provide or direct to training classes as needed.
C. Approval by Elders to proceed to an internship
The written materials are to be given to the Elders for review. The
candidate is to be available to the Elders for questioning/clarification of
the written materials. The Elders will decide if the candidate is ready to
proceed to an internship or continue working in areas of weakness based on the
written materials and the report and recommendation of the discipling
A. Assigned Deaconess continues in discipling relationship for
accountability and assistance
B. A deaconess intern attends all deaconess meetings and functions. She may
speak to issues being discussed, but does not have a say in the decisions of
C. A deaconess intern is to continue reading through books (especially in
any areas of weakness) and discussing them with the discipling Deaconess. (See
Appendix D for a list of recommended books)
D. A deaconess intern is to demonstrate her heart for service through
involvement with the Deaconesses in one or more of their areas of service.
A. Elder Approval. Upon recommendation by the discipling Deaconess, the
Deaconess Intern will be interviewed by the Elders & Deaconesses for final
approval to become a Deaconess.
B. Congregational Notification. Upon unanimous approval of the Elders, the
Deaconess Intern will be presented to the congregation as being ready to
become a Deaconess. The congregation will be instructed to go to her if they
have any personal problem with her or information demonstrating that she is
not qualified. They may also come to the Elders with any information that
might demonstrate the candidate is not yet qualified and the Elders will then
investigate. A period of at least one month will be given to the church for
taking such actions.
C. Congregational Affirmation. After at least one month has passed since
the congregation was notified, the Deaconess Intern will be presented to the
congregation for affirmation. Affirmation must be by at least 75% of the
D. Installation. After affirmation by the congregation, the Deaconess
Intern will be installed as a Deaconess by the laying on of hands by the
existing Elders. This will be done as either a special service or part of a
regular Sunday worship service. (Acts 6:6)
A. Re-affirmation: Deaconesses are to be re-affirmed as to
their qualifications each year by the members of the congregation at the Annual
1) If a Deaconess receives less than a 95% vote of confidence, she is to be
re-investigated as to her qualifications.
2) A re-investigation of qualification begins with asking those who gave a
no confidence vote to:
1. Talk with the particular Deaconess about the reason(s).
2. Bring the matter before the Elders with the accused Deaconess present
to either affirm the accusation of lack of qualification or affirm that the
concern has been resolved.
3) If less than two people come forward to meet with the Elders to bring
formal charges, then the matter is to be dropped.
B. Accusations: Deaconesses may be subject to accusations
at any time of the year.
1) The accusations must be made by at least two people.
2) Those making the accusations should meet first with the Deaconess in
question to express their concerns.
3) If there is no resolution in private or the matter would disqualify the
woman from continuing as a Deaconess, the matter is to be brought before all
the Elders for investigation.
C. Annual Review.
Each Deaconess is subject to annual review by the Elders and other
Deaconesses. Those found negligent or incompetent to carry out their
responsibilities may be subject to Correction and/or Removal as outlined in
paragraphs D & E below.
D. Correction. If a Deaconess is accused, as in A or B
above, the matter is to be investigated.
1) The Elders are to investigate all relevant facts including interviewing
additional people to determine the truth or falsity of the accusations.
2) If the accusations are determined to be false, those making the false
accusations are to be rebuked with church discipline carried out if there is
3) If the accusations are determined to be true, the Elders are to
determine if it is a matter of disqualification from being a Deaconess or a
matter of correction. Dis-qualification would be for no longer meeting the
qualifications of 1 Timothy 2:9-15; 3:11; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6, for
serious negligence of responsibilities, or no longer holding to the Statement
of Faith of Grace Bible Church. Correction would be for misunderstandings,
errors of judgement, or other minor matters that do not demonstrate a failed
4) A Deaconess that is corrected is to receive it with all humility and
demonstrate the fruit of repentance.
E. Removal. A Deaconess that is found to be disqualified
as outlined above is to be removed from being a Deaconess.
1) A Deaconess that in humility recognizes her failure may resign by
stating she is no longer qualified and wishes to work on the areas of failure.
She is eligible to be renominated at a later time after the area of failure is
2) A Deaconess that continues in sin or refuses the correction given to her
is to be rebuked before the congregation and removed from being a Deaconess.
3) A Deaconess may be removed by unanimous consensus of the Elders and/or
by a failure to receive a minimum 75% vote of affirmation of the active
members present at a Regular or Special Church Business Meeting.
4) If her sin continues, the former Deaconess is to have the final step of
church discipline, disfellowship, carried out against her.
Appendix A – Self Evaluation Questionnaire
Directions for the Discipling Deaconess: Arrange to meet with the Deaconess
nominee and work through this Evaluation Questionnaire with him. Be sure to
congratulate her on the nomination to the process of becoming a Deaconess, for
that in itself is an honor and says that her spiritual maturity is beginning to
be noticed. Whether she believes herself to be qualified or is able to complete
this process or not, it should be an encouragement to be recognized for maturity
that is above other Christian women in the church. You may also want to give her
a copy of the handout sheets on the Church
Officer Qualifications – DEACONSESS (see below) so that she will have a
chance to review them and consider them carefully before she meets with you.
This Questionnaire is simply a way to initially screen the individual as to
how well she currently meets the Scriptural qualifications for a Deaconess. If
in your evaluation you find that there are areas of serous weakness that need to
be worked on before she can continue in this process, point those out along with
a plan as how she can strengthen or overcome them so that he might be fully
qualified in the future. Be encouraging! If there are minor weaknesses, you may
work with her in those areas until she is qualified. If there are no serious
deficiencies, you may recommend her to the Elders and she can move forward to
the next step of the process.
1. Do you consider serving the Lord and others a duty or an opportunity?
Do you enjoy serving the Lord and others?
Would you like to serve the Lord by doing the work of a
2. How long have you been a Christian?
How would you rate your Christian maturity?
Babe Adolescent Young Woman Middle Age Mature Senior Saint
3. Is there anything in your life that would cast doubt on your character if
it were known? Those that live godly lives will be slandered (Matt 5:11); is
there anything you could be accused of that could be backed up by evidence?
4. If your neighbors, co-workers, etc., were contacted, what would they say
5. What is your behavior like in social settings?
6. Are you content with your present situation of life? If not, what would
need to be changed to help you be content? (Phil. 4:11,12)
7. Do you ever lose your temper? If so, what causes it?
Is there anyone you resent or hold a grudge against?
How do others perceive you in this area? Angry? Resentful?
8. How do you react when someone takes advantage of you?
9. How well do you get along with others?
10. What is your view on the use of alcoholic beverages?
Do you partake of alcoholic beverages? Other drugs?
11. Describe your personal walk with the Lord?
Do you have a plan to regularly read/study the Bible?
Do you have a plan to spend consistent time in prayer &
12. Describe what you like to do in your free time?
13. Describe your home life?
14. Describe your relationship with your husband?
How would your husband describe your relationship with
If you are single, describe your dating life?
15. Describe your relationship with your children?
Describe the spiritual condition of your children?
Describe how you are trying to raise them in the nature
and admonition of the Lord?
16. Do you struggle in the area of gossip? i.e. talking about others behind
their backs, saying things that are unnecessary, talking to others about someone
else’s problem without talking with them first, etc. (Eph. 4:29)
17. What area of ministry are you currently involved? How long? Describe. Who
was over you?
18. Is there anything that has not been covered that might disqualify you
from being a Deaconess?
19. How would you explain the gospel to someone in order to lead them to
20. What is your own testimony of salvation?
21. Do you have any questions or reservations concerning the Constitution of
Grace Bible Church?
22. Are you in full agreement without reservation with the Statement of Faith
of Grace Bible Church?
Church Officer Qualifications – Deaconesses
"Deaconess" is simply the feminine form of "deacon," which literally means
"table waiter." Deacons are servants of the church. The Apostles charged certain
men to help serve with the temporal affairs of the church (Acts 6:1-6). In
practical terms Deacons assist the Elders as directed, and they have to meet
certain spiritual qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-13). In the same way,
Deaconesses are godly women who are servants of the church who assist the Elders
as directed, and they must meet certain qualifications. General Qualifications
of a godly woman are seen in demonstrating the "fruit of the Spirit" in
Galatians 5:22,23 and in passages such as 1 Timothy 2:9-15; Titus 2:3-5 and 1
Peter 3:1-6. Specific qualifications are listed in 1 Timothy 3:11
Galatians 5:22 (NASB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against
such things there is no law.
1 Timothy 2:9 (NASB) Likewise, [I want] women to adorn
themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair
and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as
befits women making a claim to godliness. 11 Let a woman quietly receive
instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach
or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who
was first created, [and] then Eve. 14 And [it was] not Adam [who] was deceived,
but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But [women]
shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and
love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Titus 2:3 (NASB) Older women likewise are to be reverent
in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching
what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children, 5 [to be] sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being
subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
1 Peter 3:1 (NASB) In the same way, you wives, be
submissive to your own husbands so that even if any [of them] are disobedient to
the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as
they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 And let not your adornment
be [merely] external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting
on dresses; 4 but [let it be] the hidden person of the heart, with the
imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the
sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped
in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. 6 Thus
Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you
do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
1 Timothy 3:11"Women* must likewise be dignified, not
malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things."
(*We hold the context here to show that
"women" in this passage refers to women deacons/servants and not restricted to
the wife of a deacon).
Deaconesses are to be:
1. DIGNIFIED: A deaconess is to be a grave, serious minded,
steady, solid individual. She behaves in an honorable manner.
2. NOT MALICIOUS GOSSIPS: A deaconess controls her tongue
and does not slander or accuse other people. The greek word here for
"malicious gossip" is used as a name for the devil in many passages of the New
Testament because he slanders and accuses the saints.
3. TEMPERATE: A deaconess is sober in judgement. She is
self-controlled, stable and steady in her thinking. She is not given to anger,
or outbursts nor is she "flighty," "scatter-brained," or addicted to anything
that would make her so. (The meaning of the root word is to "not be addicted
4. FAITHFUL IN ALL THINGS: A deaconess is trustworthy in
all things. She is faithful to accomplish any task given to her, and she is
faithful in her commitment and walk with the Lord.
The only deaconess mentioned in the New Testament is Phoebe
in Romans 16:1 who was recognized for her service to the church in Cenchrea.
Appendix B – Written Evaluation
1. Please write out your testimony of salvation.
2. Please describe the ministries you have been involved in past and present
and what results you have seen from those ministries. Please also explain what
spiritual gifts you believe you may have and how God has used them.
3. Please write out what you believe concerning each of the following areas:
God the Father
God the Son, Jesus Christ
The Holy Spirit
Satan & Demons
The Nature of Man
The Nature of the Church
God’s plan for the future of mankind and the earth.
4. Please describe your general philosophy of ministry in the following
A. What is the mission of the church and how is it to be
B. What is/are the ministries of a Deaconess and how do
they help with the over all ministries of the church.
C. Where does a Deaconess fit in the structure of the
Church? To whom is a Deaconess responsible to for her ministries? How should she
carry out her responsibilities?
Appendix C – Possible Questions for References
For use when contacting a reference, neighbor, co-worker, etc. Explain who
you are and the reason for your call. Inform that the candidate is being
considered for a position of leadership in their church and ask if they would
mind answering a few questions about the candidate.
Name of Candidate
Name of person being interviewed
"Your relationship to the candidate?"
"How long have you known the candidate?"
"Did you know the candidate is a professing Christian?"
"Did you know she is a member of Grace Bible Church?"
"Has the candidate ever talked with you about Jesus Christ?"
"Which of the following words would fit the candidate in your opinion?"
Withdrawn Outgoing Reserved
Respectable Inappropriate Honorable
Would you consider the candidate a good / fair / mediocre / poor / bad
neighbor/co-worker/etc. (according to relationship)?
Describe the candidate’s relationship with her husband?
Does he respect her? Does she respect him?
Is she committed to him alone or does she have an eye for other men?
Describe the candidates relationship with her children?
Is she involved with them? Do they respect her? Do they obey her?
Do you like / tolerate / dislike having her children around you?
Appendix D – Recommended Reading & Resources – Deaconess
Bible Survey / General Commentaries
Talk Thru the Bible, Bruce Wilkinson & Kenneth Boa. Thomas Nelson,
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, John f. Walvoord & Roy
B. Zuck, ed. Victor Books, 1985.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, John f. Walvoord & Roy
B. Zuck, ed. Victor Books, 1983.
Bible Backgrounds / Customs
Manners & Customs in the Bible, Victor H. Matthews. Hendrickson
Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Alfred Edersheim. Eerdmans
How to Study the Bible
First Hand Joy, Rick Yohn. NavPress, 1982.
How to Study the Bible, John MacArthur
Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, Walter Henrichsen &
Gayle Jackson. Zondervan Publishing, 1990.
Practical Christian Theology, Floyd H. Barackman. Kregel
God the Father
The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer. Harper & Row Publishers,
Knowing God, J.I. Packer. InterVarsity Press, 1973
God the Son, Jesus Christ – see Salvation
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit & His Gifts, J. Oswald Sanders. Lamplighter Books,
Angels / Demons / Satan
Angels: Elect & Evil, C. Fred Dickason. Moody Press, 1975.
Unmasking Satan, Richard Mayhue. Victor Books, 1988
The Gospel According to Jesus, John F, MacArthur.
Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles, John F.
MacArthur. Word Publishing, 1993.
Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer. IVP, 1961
The Nature of the Church
The Church; The Body of Christ, John F. MacArthur, Jr. Zondervan,
Biblical Eldership, Alexander Strauch. Lewis & Roth Publishers, 1995
God’s Plan for the Future
The Meaning of the Millennium, Robert G. Clouse, ed. IVP, 1977
The Rapture: Pre, Mid, or Post-Tribulational, Richard Reiter, ed.
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell. Campus Crusade for
God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, Ray Comfort. Bridge Publishing,
Scientific Creationism, Henry Morris. Creation-Life Publishers, 1974
Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, Barbour & Co., (The Christian
The Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin. Bethany House Publishers,
Ministry & Church Issues
Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, Bill Hull. Fleming H. Revell, 1990.
Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams. Zondervan Publishing, 1986
Charismatic Chaos, John F. MacArthur Jr., Zondervan Publishing, 1992
The Fulfilled Family, John F. MacArthur Jr.
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible, Jay Adams. Zondervan,
Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Passion & Purity, Elizabeth Elliot (Women)
Beloved Unbeliever, Jo Berry (Women)
Abortion: Whatever Happened to the Human Race, Francis A. Shaeffer &
C. Everett Koop. Flemming H. Revell Company, 1979
Pornography: The Mind Polluters, Jerry R. Kirk. Thomas Nelson, 1985
Welfare: The Tragedy of American Compassion, Marvin Olasky. Regnery
Homosexuality: The Crises of Homosexuality, J. Isamu Yamamoto, ed.,
Victor Books, 1990
Devotional / Inspirational / Discipleship Tools
One-to-One Discipleship, Al & Lorraine Broom. Multiplication
The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges. NavPress 1978
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney.
How to Worship Jesus Christ
Hinds Feet in High Places, Hurnard (Women)
A Way of Seeing, Edith Schaeffer (Women)
A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George (Women)
Loving God with All Your Mind, Elizabeth George (Women)