Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Michael Whittington


Church government, Church polity, Deacons, Diakonos, Elders, episkopos


Biblical Studies | History of Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This project will examine the deacon-led model of church leadership that is employed in many churches today, in order to ascertain whether this model of leadership is consistent with both the New Testament and the witness of the early church. With more than 3,700 churches failing yearly, it is imperative that churches be organized and led in a biblical manner so that they might be positioned for ministry successes in their local contexts. Without a biblical framework and reference for polity, it is highly unlikely that the church will yield results of any lasting nature. This analysis will be done though a critical examination of ecclesiological passages, including analyses from various backgrounds, as well as an examination of the early church, apostolic period, and beyond. The researcher hopes to demonstrate that the office of Deacon is not an office of ecclesiastical oversight, and churches that utilize deacons in this manner employ them in a manner inconsistent with the intended nature of the office.