Sovereign Grace Community Church upholds the biblical model of elders and deacons leading local bodies of believers (ref. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; cf. also Acts 20:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Thus we regard the deaconate and eldership as distinct offices for which the Holy Spirit gifts and prepares different men; the deaconate is not a proving ground or stepping stone toward the eldership. Deacons serve alongside the elders as recognized leaders in Christ’s Church, but in accordance with their own unique gifts and calling.

  • These are the only two offices the Scripture identifies for church leadership, and they function at the level of the local church. That is, elders and deacons serve as leaders within local congregations, not as officers at the denominational or corporate level.
  • Furthermore, we believe the Scripture is clear that these two offices are reserved for men, and we do not recognize the office of deaconess.
  • We also recognize the general qualifications of spiritual maturity and godliness to be essentially the same for both leadership offices, although the Spirit’s gifting of men suited to the eldership is more oriented toward the direct and authoritative ministry of the word. While all Christians – including men who hold the deaconate – are to be capable of communicating the truths of the gospel to others (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 3:15), elders must be “apt to teach,” having a thorough and mature understanding of the Scriptures, competent to “exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”