Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. – 1 Timothy 3:8-13
The qualifications for the office of deacon in the local church are still debated on college campuses. If you’re still unsure, 9Marks has a great, brief exploration of the topic.
Church leaders on the ground are usually too busy actually identifying, assessing, training, and deploying people into the role of deacon to continue debating it. They’ve made their decision about how the office of deacon works and they’re moving forward.
One of those churches is The District Church in Jacksonville, Florida. For Pastor Boyd Bettis, once he decided that the role of deacon was necessary for the continuing health of his church, the next question was clear: how do we assess each person’s qualifications and readiness for this ministry responsibility?
Pastor Boyd researched options, asked ministry colleagues inside the Acts29 Network, and worked with his staff to craft their Deacon Candidate Process (DCP). The DCP is a 10-part process that accomplishes three goals. It orients the candidate to the office of deacon, introduces the candidate to the staff, and assesses the candidate’s spiritual readiness to serve as a deacon.
To be eligible to start the DCP, the candidate must meet some foundational qualifications: maintain membership/involvement in the church, display the biblical qualities of a deacon, and already be proactively doing the work of a deacon without being asked. The DCP is invite-only, so only those who are meeting those prerequisites can even begin. Those who complete the DCP are then interviewed by the staff and elders, assigned some required reading, and then scheduled for an appointment to the office in front of the church body.
74 Questions in the Deacon Candidate Process
The Deacon Candidate Process is primarily a series of questions to assess the readiness of the candidate for the office of deacon. These questions cover everything from personal references and church experience to financial position and theological beliefs.
- Who’s in your family?
- What is your name?
- What is your spouse’s name?
- What are you kids’ names and ages?
- Physical address
- Email address
- Phone number
- How long have you been part of The District Church?
- Are you currently a Covenant Member?
- How would you describe how you are living out the six core values of the marks of a disciple?
- Volunteer involvement
- Describe your current involvement with a Serve Team?
- Describe your current level of leading others within our church.
- Who are you discipling in our church?
- Who are you sharing your faith with who is not a Christian?
- Why do you aspire to be a deacon at The District Church?
- Is there anything from your past or present that you think needs to be addressed with our Pastors before continuing forward with the process of deaconship?
- Church leaders seem to be tempted most often in four areas: 1) money, 2) sex, 3) power/control, and 4) pride. Think back over the last three years of your life and briefly describe what you have learned about yourself in these areas and how you handle temptation.
- The application process and assessment is going to take you a couple months. Are you willing to commit the time to the process? What is your target completion date?
- How would you articulate the mission and vision of The District Church?
- Name, email and phone number of your spouse (if applicable)
- Name, email, and phone number of your current or most recent boss
- Name, email, and phone number of someone you have discipled or are currently discipling
- Name, email, phone number, and church name of your previous pastor (if applicable)
Tell us about your family life
- What is your current marital status?
- How long have you been married? (if applicable)
- If divorced, separated, or remarried, please describe the circumstances in as much detail as possible.
- If you have children, how has having children effected your marriage?
- Do both you and your spouse work? If so, please describe what your spouse does, and what percentage of your household income is supplied by each.
- What are your hobbies and special interests? Include also if playing video games and/or “surfing” the internet/social media aimlessly has been an issue of time management currently or in the past?
- Have you and your spouse always been faithful to each other without any improper behavior either emotionally or physically? If no, please give an honest and candid description of the circumstances of any unfaithfulness.
- What are you most thankful for about your spouse? What are his/her strengths and weaknesses?
- What are the strengths of your marriage? How have you used your marriage to help disciple others?
- What do you find most difficult about being a godly husband/wife?
- Are there particular areas of marriage you find hard? If so, what are they?
- How does your spouse feel about your desire to be a deacon leading in our church? In what ways does he/she participate with you?
- Describe a time when the demands of ministry put a strain on your marriage or family life and how you resolved that issue.
- In your marriage, who is responsible for your family finances? Briefly describe what roles you and your spouse handle, either shared or individually.
- Have finances been an area of friction and tension in your marriage?
- Has there ever been a struggle with credit card debt or any other kind of debt?
- Include your total current credit card balance if you are carrying a balance, not if you pay it off monthly. If you have a balance larger than $2,000, please answer the following so we can get a greater understanding of your situation.
- What is your credit card balance and what is your debt to income ratio?
- Are you still adding to this amount?
- What is the interest rate that you are paying on your credit card(s) (how many cards are there)?
- What is your plan to pay off your credit card(s)?
- What have all the expenses on these cards been in relation to?
- Are you presently living within your means or still using credit cards for purchases?
- What do you feel was the “root” issue(s) that lead you to this amount of credit card debt (i.e. lack of income, consumerism, mismanagement, sin, etc.)?
- Do you see this as an area of concern and explain any area of repentance in this area?
- Do you believe that this area of your life is now “above reproach” as you pursue the role of a deacon?
- Do you have any other area of debt (other than credit card answered above) in your life that concerns you, if so, what is your plan to pay it down?
- What has been your experience with personal finances, balancing accounts, budgeting, forecasting, tracking receipts and expenses, bank and tax records, etc? Has this been, or is this now, an area of difficulty or struggle for you? What area of growth do you believe God would have you address in this area?
- Do you have life insurance?
- Do you have a buffer of liquid money in savings in case of an emergency?
- Do you have a retirement investment plan?
- What % of your gross income do you give/tithe to the local church?
- If you are not currently giving 10%, please explain in detail why.
Theology and beliefs
- Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and give a 500-word explanation of how you are doing in terms of qualifications.
- Who have been your primary theological teachers and influences? i.e. authors, theological camps, etc.
- Outside of the Bible, what is the most theologically-intensive book(s) you have read cover-to-cover?
- What is the Gospel?
- Please describe your view of scripture.
- What is our role in saving lost people and what role does God play?
- In your own words, how do you understand the doctrine of predestination/election and what view do you personally hold on this doctrine?
- Briefly describe what Jesus accomplished on the cross. i.e. your understanding of the atonement.
- What is your view of Creation and explain your view of the Imago Dei?
- How has Adam’s sin affected our nature and our ability to choose in regard to good and evil?
- What is the church and its role? Support the role of the church scripturally as well as define how the church is different from an organization? Also include your view and practice on 1) Baptism, 2) Lord’s Supper, 3) Church Discipline, and 4) Spiritual Gifts.
- Describe how you understand the difference of Elders and Deacons?
- A couple in a Community Group just experienced a miscarriage at nine weeks into the pregnancy. What you do as a response as leader in our church?
- You are counseling a couple, who claim to be Christian, who are fornicating and believe they are “married in their hearts.” They would like to become members of your church. Describe how you would handle this couple, including how you would address the issue of being “married in their hearts.”
- During a Sunday Gathering, you are serving on Guest Services and you overheard some volunteers discussing how they don’t like our worship leader. How would you respond?
- You are praying with folks up front after a Sunday Service and get a young man that would like you to pray for him in regards to an addiction to pornography. What would you do and how would you counsel this man in the moment?
- A group of people are talking and invite you to answer a question they have been trying to figure out. The question is: What role does prayer have in the Christian life if you believe in the sovereignty of God? What would be your answer for them?
- After church one day you are approached by a crying woman that truly has a broken heart from being convicted of her sin. She simply asks you to tell her the gospel so that she may believe like others in your church. How would you explain the gospel to her?
- As a follow up with the previous question, how would you then explain to this person how the role of the gospel is involved in the process of sanctification?
Clearly, not every question is appropriate for every church. Some theological beliefs may not be shared by your church. Your church might not want to dive into your candidate’s financial problems. You might want to add more questions about their reputation and role at work or their parenting style and beliefs.
This is a long process that takes a lot of time to complete. Pastor Boyd had been looking for an online platform to facilitate this assessment process as well as several others they built for other leadership roles like Elders, Community Group Leaders, Serve Team Leaders, etc.
When Pastor Boyd saw what he could do using the TrainedUp platform, he immediately jumped on board and started building courses and assessments. TrainedUp’s powerful and flexible platform allows him to quickly build thorough assessments that allow his church to answer every question completely, save their progress as they make their way through the process, and automatically give Pastor Boyd updates about their completion percentage.
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