v 8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money.
Paul mentions here a further level of local church organisation. It is seen as differing from Leaders (who are also called Overseers, Bishops, Elders) and with a different set of administrative responsibilities. Sometimes they are called Deacons or just church helpers. It seems that they often function in practical roles. Jill’s father was recognised as the Fabric Deacon in a church – he kept an eye on the maintenance of the building. In the church where Jill and I met which appointed Elders and Deacons, the Treasurer was recognised as the Finance Deacon. But even for these practical jobs where particular skills and abilities were needed, quality of character was the fundamental requirement to fulfil the role.
Now in this respect there is no fundamental difference between the leader and the rest of a congregation. It is quality of character that is noted by those outside the Church. If the people who are seen to make up the Church have a bad reputation in the Community – whether they are seen as dishonest in business, or violent, or unloving, or acting improperly in sexual relationships, then the Church and the name of Jesus is dishonoured.
Be aware that a community notices these inconsistencies and will talk about them. In our age, when Social Media can destroy a person’s credibility overnight, the quality of character displayed by Christians – whether they are leaders or not – remains hugely important.