- engaging Community
- equipping Deacons
Guidelines, as the word suggests, provide current evolving ideas on developing the ministry of your diaconate. They are helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the work as well as provide proven workable suggestions for newer deacons.
Guidelines for Preparing an Offering Schedule
The offering in church is much more than a “collection.” It is an act of worship! When deacons are “weighing the needs of causes, and being discerning about resources” they are thinking about how to help people excel in the grace of giving. These guidelines will provide some biblical direction on giving, how best to promote the offering, and guidelines for preparing the offering schedule.
Offering as Part of Worship
Giving is an essential act of worship, integral to the very message of the gospel – the gift of God, His Son’s life, to His people. In this respect, the offering time becomes most meaningful when it is an integrated part of the worship service. An inspiring, informed introduction, which may include a verse or two from Scripture, can highlight this activity as one that represents and enhances our relationship with God. Note the suggested Scriptures related to themes of Christian living.
Offerings, as tangible expressions of trust in God, may also be accompanied by prayer. Guidelines and samples of different offertory prayers are available.
Guidelines for Benevolence
In the charge to the deacons, it states that “benevolence is a quality of our life in Christ, and not merely a matter of financial assistance.” Benevolence involves a lifestyle of love, respect and compassion. To that end, this document provides some very useful ideas to help deacons develop “guidelines for benevolence,” use a plan of action when providing long term help, and identify people who will be able to partner with people in the ministry of mercy. It also addresses attitudes and behaviors that are needed to help deacons relate to people in need.
Below is an example of a Deacon Fund Benevolence Policy developed and used by a CRC diaconate in Western Canada.
Growing a Community of Deacons
Diaconal ministry is primarily about growing in love for God, and growing in our relationships with others. Deacons’ meetings can be the place where we “practice” what it means to minister to others as well as being ministered to ourselves! The diaconate can develop its ‘meeting’ to becoming a community, or a small group. These guidelines will be helpful to develop new practices and an enhanced agenda that will result in better relationships in your group.
Devotions in Your Diaconate
Do you wish devotions were more than a dutiful exercise at the beginning of a meeting? Here are some suggestions on how to build sharing time and discernment for the ways in which God is working in and through your diaconate’s meetings. Prayer for one another, sharing and a devotional reading will help the deacons “reach in” to the Word before they reach out to others.
Skills to provide leadership in your diaconate's meetings may be developed by these guidelines. Discover how to shape an agenda, involve others and serve by example as your diaconate sets priorities and goals for their ministry. Note the practical tips to lead an effective meeting which includes a sample agenda, guidelines for a secretary and how to work successfully with different people. These guidelines assist deacons in their meetings to: develop community; develop awareness and skills in diaconal ministry; meet goals in ministry; intercede in prayer for others; and develop ongoing encouragement and accountability.
Guidelines for Caring with Compassion
These guidelines will help you set the practical framework for any visit. They provide you with relevant Scripture for many different circumstances, open-ended questions to intitiate meaningful conversations and creative suggestions to show others your caring.