Is there a conflict of interest if a man is both a preacher and an elder or deacon?


I have a question that I am struggling with. I can’t find any scriptural reasons against what has been done at our local church but still have an uneasiness about it.

We have a smaller church whose membership has been trending down the past several years since our minister has taken the job. He is a good man and hasn’t done wrong but at the same time hasn’t done much to help grow the church and doesn’t connect with a large portion of the members and visitors. His preaching style is very repetitious with many saying he talks over them instead of preaching the gospel. The elders have asked him to be a deacon in addition to being a minister. There are a number of men in the church that many feel should have been asked first. I feel that it is a conflict of interest for a minister to be an elder or deacon while serving as a minister. I feel that there are several qualified men that would consider it an honor to serve and the elders didn’t ask. The only scriptural reason I have against his appointment is his wife and children miss church very often or show up very late ( pre-Covid-19) and could be considered not ruling his household. He was supposed to run the church youth group but has made many empty promises to the youth and has little involvement with the youth. So am I wrong for thinking that a preacher being an elder or deacon is a conflict of interest?


There is always the danger of making rules where God has not. Oh, there are all sorts of reasons given for the additional rules, but it comes down to the simple fact that they are adding to what God has said.

"Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God," he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. 'But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men'" (Matthew 15:1-9).

In this case, God has clearly stated that you are wrong about this particular matter. "The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching" (I Timothy 5:17). Elders can also be preachers and teachers. In Acts 6 seven men were selected to serve tables. Among them was Stephen, who was killed for his preaching in Acts 7. Another deacon, Philip, was sent to teach the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 and later preached for about 20 years in Caesarea. Perhaps in Philip's case, you might argue that he was not preaching and being a deacon at the same time but clearly the duties are not exclusive.

You would be better off focusing on your actual concerns. You don't think this preacher is effective. You don't think his wife is qualified to be a deacon's wife (I Timothy 3:11 - "faithful in all things"). Discuss these concerns with the preacher. Instead of seeking to tear down, find ways to build the church to be more effective in its work.

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