- engaging Community
- equipping Deacons
Deacons in the Christian Reformed Church are chosen by their local congregations to give leadership to diaconal ministry. In this ministry, deacons empower members of their own congregation and partner with neighbouring churches, Christian services, and local social agencies. Diaconal Ministry, to touch people's lives as Christ's hands and feet, focuses mainly on the following areas:
Deacons model and demonstrate compassion to those who are hurting with words of hope and actions for encouragement.
Deacons model and encourage the congregation to be engaged in community ministry in their communities.
Deacons encourage church members to be stewards of God's creation and to practice authentic stewardship with their time, talents, and money.
Deacons model and encourage the congregation to be advocates for and with the marginalized and vulnerable people in their own local community.
With God's help, deacons can be effective. If a deacon is alert/open to needs inside and outside the church, God will reveal the way a deacon may touch people's lives as His hands and feet.
The diaconate is at its best when it:
When is a diaconal meeting at its best?
Meetings play a significant role in a diaconate. However, meetings ought not to replace or take over the time needed for a deacon to engage in ministry opportunities between meetings.
It is critical that diaconal ministry be committed to the Lord in prayer. Devotions that have been thoughtfully prepared prior to the meeting can increase the resolve of the deacons to ensure that their ministry will reflect the love of Jesus. Devotions also enhance respect between deacons and lead to more meaningful discussions.
At each meeting, deacons should spend some time learning about diaconal ministry. This time of learning could include study of a particular topic, planning a new ministry or a focused conversation about a challenging ministry situation.
Call the Diaconal Ministry Developer in your classis for more assistance in setting up an agenda.
Newly elected deacons can best be supported by a mentor - an experienced deacon who will help them answer the practical questions that will come up in their work. A mentor is able to share his or her experiences and also accompany the new deacon on visits. New deacons who are connected to an experienced deacon are ready to do ministry much sooner than those who are left to discover the task on their own. The diaconate could also do the following to assist the transition:
The number of deacons required in a church depends upon the scope of the ministries that a diaconate has developed and leads. Each church needs to decide how many deacons are necessary. In order to help make that decision, a church may find it useful to review the role of the deacon as found in the ordination form and to set goals as suggested in Part 1 of Deacons on the Move.
In response, the number of deacons can be determined.