Q&A

It is mid-November, and your church is experiencing a significant shortfall to its budget. How can you make the urgency clear to the congregation, and also point out membership obligations?

November 22, 2011 0 9 comments
Blog

 We are entering the Christmas season and, as deacons, there are a lot of different initatives that we can undertake to help spread the hope and joy of this time.  As we engage in these converations among our teams it can be helpful to brainstorm and share best practices from other congregations, so, let's do just that!

November 22, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

"You Add, God Multiplies" is more than a catchy phrase, it's the reality of what happens when, as churches, we pool our resources to accomplish more ministry than we could do each on our own.  Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion about what Ministry Shares are and what they do...

November 15, 2011 0 5 comments
Blog

When we offer help to someone we can have the crazy notion that we need to fix the whole issue ourselves.  We would do more for those we offer assistance if we understood our role as referring folks to the resources of our broader community, without abandoning them.

November 8, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

When we're running on empty, in overdrive, going from commitment to commitment, we barely seem to have time to sleep, let alone rest or take Sabbath time... but that's exactly what we need to do.  We have to stop, and take a moment to ponder "is what I'm thinking, saying and doing WORTH thinking saying and doing?"

November 1, 2011 0 3 comments
Blog

What should the church be doing, then, if government effort seems to have little effect, except maybe for providing ongoing relief? How should the church shape its own response? Can the church actually REDUCE poverty and dependence on programs that help? Even just in our neighborhood? Seems like that’s the ideal...

October 25, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

We want to help people.  We want to do the right thing, the good thing, the Godly thing. Often we discover that we need to learn how to help well.  ABCD is a method of offering assistance which empowers those we are serving and, as it continues to grow in popularity, it's worth paying attention to.

October 18, 2011 0 2 comments
Blog

As we head into the holiday season, we need to be aware that need doesn't stop.  It also doesn't increase exponentially.  How can we inspire our congregations to engage with those in need in a meaningful way?  And why has Stephen Colbert called Christians out on this?

October 11, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

With the advent of another ministry year, it's a good time to take some time and think about what God may want to do through your team this year.  In light of our call to this diaconal office, what's your vision?  Oh, come on, dream bigger!

October 4, 2011 0 1 comments
Q&A

The "charge to deacons" in the CRC includes a phrase, "weigh the needs of causes and use the church's resources discerningly."  What is the best criteria or questions used to weigh the needs of causes? 

September 29, 2011 0 5 comments
Blog

We love to do good. Sometimes though, our desire to do something good leads us to turn people into projects. In the latest issue of Partners, a diaconal newsletter, Linda Weening shares a story of assistance which may make you think about how you speak with those you serve.

September 27, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

You're a nurturer, but are you being nurtured?  Our culture tells us we need to be productive and efficient.  Usually that means every minute of our day has to be filled with some commitment.  The reality is that's not healthy, truthful, or the gospel.  

September 20, 2011 0 0 comments
Q&A

The deacons at our church our looking into having our financial records audited.  Is there anyone in west Michigan who has had recent experience with this.  Are there any Denominational agencies that work specificaly with churches.

September 14, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

As deacons we can often find ourselves in situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable to us.  As easy as it is to try to ignore or avoid these scenarios, we know that at some point, we need to venture out into that unknown.  Are you ready to risk it?

September 13, 2011 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I have a Greek/English Interlinear Testament.  This is not to say I know Greek- I don't.  In fact that's largely the purpose of this post.  Reading through Chapter Three of 1 Timothy, I encountered verse 11.  Under the Greek word appears the word "women" followed by the word "deaconesses" in...

September 6, 2011 0 2 comments
Blog

To date Diakonia Remixed has received 300 responses to the survey that was created to help them evaluate the state of diaconal ministry in North America.  Have you filled it out yet?  If  you haven't, you have less than a month to add your voice to this important discussion.  So what are you waiting for?  We need you! (And I'm not only talking to deacons here!)

September 6, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

In the Charge to Deacons it says “They are also called to speak words of Christian encouragement”. This statement is broad, and it can take many different forms.  I think that makes it exciting!  There are a multitude of ways we can live this out as individuals (and a diaconate) using our unique giftings.  That freedom is pretty cool.

August 30, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

We know that giving of our offerings is an act of worship, yet with the advent of electronic giving methods one might begin to wonder how meaningful this part of our service is.  How do we as deacons continue to create the space for people to enter into worship through their giving, even if it's done on a regular banking day?

August 22, 2011 0 5 comments
Q&A

Hi, I was wondering if anyone out there does gift surveys in their churches and how do they work. And are there any samples I could look at? Thanks Grace Strobosser

August 19, 2011 0 6 comments
Blog

When I became a deacon I got a giant binder of information.  I loved it!  The year after me someone got that same binder and was totally overwhelmed.  I wonder if a gradual training program would be a better way of introducing new deacons to their role?  The Office of Deacon Task Force is currently exploring this idea, and looking for your input!

August 16, 2011 0 10 comments
Blog

Deacons have good days, so-so days and not-so-good days. Yes, we’re human. Being a leader comes with a weight. Having a mentor to share successes and struggles with can make the difference between despair and delight. So I wonder... are you a champion?

August 9, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

We eagerly enter into diaconal ministry, thinking our eyes are wide open.  Often we are surprised to realize how much work a deacon does!  As the tasks find their way onto our plates, we try to create space for them.  But what is being sacrificed for “the work of the church”?

August 2, 2011 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

ServiceLink is helping to coordinate and promote ‘Day of Service: be the hands of feet of Jesus’ as a day when Christian Reformed churches join in with a national campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The goal is to have more than 100 CRCs participate with acts of service to their...

July 29, 2011 0 4 comments
Blog

We should give thanks to God for partners in ministry. As drought and famine ravage East Africa we are able to offer our support through CRWRC. It is imperative that deacons utilize the resources already in existence and continue to foster these relationships.

July 25, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

I know our journey to wholeness in Christ is a refining process; being purified in thought, word, deed and heart. But what if we find ourselves spinning our wheels in the mud of sin, not able to move forward?  There are many people who are in this very situation. People who lay their burdens down, only to 

July 18, 2011 0 1 comments

Pages

RSS

Often listening is not easy especially when emotions run high and thanks for the reminder. I am learning to listen more and find that I learn and understand people more even when there is disagreement.

Hi Ken, If you mean push back from the 'poor' It has been my life experience that no person wants to be told or treated as poor. Poor people have egos, pride and sense of self. Depending on others has damaging effects on all three. And some people lacking understanding too often treat the poor as poorer than they (helpers) are.

Rebecca, thanks for your comment. That sounds like a healthy response and it's helpful in regards to what we as a deacon team have been asked to look at. :)

Wendy, is there a news article or more info online about this that you could link to so I can share it with the deacons at my church?

We recently asked this question, too. One factor for us was that our church as a whole, in ways other than just financial, is trying to be more intentional about reaching out to our community, and we wanted our giving to be a part of that effort, so that meant an increase in offerings/giving to a few local partner organizations.

Our church has a strong culture of fully supporting ministry shares, so we looked at the list of which ministries/agencies are supported by ministry shares and gave higher priority in scheduling offerings to those that aren't, like CRWRC, for example.

As for scheduling, the deacons as a group discuss overall priorities, but one deacon is responsible for arranging those priorities into the schedule on a monthly basis, and tracking the frequency of offerings to any given agency or organization, denominational or otherwise. The schedules are still approved each month by all the deacons, even though one person is doing the coordinating.

Hi Fronse, I'm glad your back. If God calls us to help the poor and the poor in spirit why is their push back?

Thanks

Ken

Hi Fronse:

The first step is becoming friends with the poor. Listen to their stories, their hopes for the future, the problems they may have. That is much easier to do with fellow church members, rich or poor. I mean the poor who would never think of going to a church where all the rich people go. 

Once you can do that you start to realize how our society is organized with the result that there are too many poor people.

If lots of people start listening to the poor, these people may think to change things, and if these people have some power, change is possible. 

Somehow I think that music in a church is one of the last things that may need to change...

August

 

Karl and Aguilla1, This discussion for me hits at the heart of a great 'sense' our brothers and sisters have about witnessing the Gospel to one another. Too often 'giving the poor a voice for justice' is squashed with negative reactions called today push backs.

An example is the role suggesting changing church music has in instigating almost immediate defensiveness among people who have worshipped using the same music for decades. This applies to most if not all denominations' individual churches. I am NOT saying this issue is that important, rather I'm using it ONLY as an example I believe we all can relate to in our life experiences.

It is very critical HOW we have dialog about 'voices from the poor.' There is another 'poverty' too often in churches and that is poverty of spirit that slows positive growth of Christians. Example: When we say 'voice of the poor do we then acknowledge the 'voice of the rich?' Which one is ultimately 'heard?'

Terry- You did see this earlier in the week. We fixed the link problem.  Thanks for letting us know.

The "2 page tool" link isn't working. I thought I saw it as a download earlier this week.

I have heard from many congregations that are scheduling additional offerings. We definitely appreciate it - and also prayers that our next grant will be funded.

Let's see if we can get someone from CRWRC to respond to this, ok?

[quote=Greg Bode]

...does the CRCNA have an 'approved list' for para church organizations on their website?

[/quote]

Yes! As Wendy mentioned, it's at the back of the annual Yearbook but the organizations are also listed online. Here are the links:

Denominational and Related Ministries

Non-Denominational Agencies Recommended for Financial Support

Another helpful resource Melissa mentioned is the 'Deacons' Helper Worksheet' and the recommended offering calendar. Both are available on this page.

Hope this helps!

I know there's a list in the yearbook but not sure if it's online.

About special offerings for para church agencies and organizations...does the CRCNA have an 'approved list' for para church organizations on their website?   Our  deacons get so many  requests that they  are looking for another filter such as this to put in their "tool box".    They don't have the time to research each new organization about their mission, their fiscal responsibility, etc.  

I'm sorry ,I just reread the post and I forgot some key words. I was trying to say this money issue and mission's issue's are a result of the same thing.

We need to walk the earth like Jesus. I know that is not possble but that is the model. Jesus made every one important and lead with love and humility.  His love is what made him missional. Love is by nature missional.

I know my points sound tangential, but it what l said is the reason why we struggle because a lot us forget how to think like a Christian. When we do strive to live this way everything becomes clear.

OnlineJoined: 10/09/2010  

'The missional church isn't a program to adopt, it has always existed by God's will through out history after Christ's was born. In other words it is the body of believers that resides in and out of our churches.

What we need to do is pattern our churches on this understanding. That means being aware of the Holy Spirit and humbly following His cue's."

 

I made the above statement in another forum on missions but it applies here also. Every relationship should always be a mission to each of us. Love and humility is the gage to measure where we are in our belief's and thoughts.

In other words, live the way Christ want's and things like mission's, money and idea's from the Spirit will provide a path. Every one is a missionary of equal importance.

This calling is essence of walking with Jesus not a human construct.

God bless you guy's for your wisdom

Ken

This Callahan dude is the bomb!    I love those lines - some money is not worth raising....  the annual budget is the most missional document in the church.   Or oughtta be!

OK, Jeff, I know you've thought about this a lot - How CAN we clearly communicate this to the people we serve?

I found the article On Becoming a Servant Leader: Seven myths and seven paradoxes of Christian leadership by Dan R. Ebener at http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj1102&article=on-becoming-a-servant-leader to be helpful. It appears in print in the February, 2011, issue of Sojourners magazine.

 Yes!  Deacons are servants, but first and foremost not servants of the church but servants of Christ *to* the church.  As such their job is not so much to do the work of the church as to put the church to work.  They are the catalytic agents between the church and the community, so central to the church's witness that reformers like Martin Bucer proposed that diakonia is one of the marks of the true church. 

I think a key here in developing discussions of deacons and leadership is retaining the *spiritual* element of diaconal leadership--that is, it is not merely a question of technique, how to, and getting things done. As the form for ordination puts it, one of the tasks of the deacon is to lead us into repentence.  Deacons should grow in the understanding that they have been granted authority to lead us in this way.

Very cool to see the Phils CRC is ahead of us on this one!   And I know that's due in large part to the work you did over the years, Brother Eli!   I think the task force now working on the office of deacon in the CRCNA will help us look hard at this and will bring us up to speed.  I pray for that.

Hi Karl:

Thanks for your comments. "giving the poor a voice for justice" is important. One way as you indicate happens when they comment on our lifestyle or attitude.  I would like them to be more involved in getting the government change policy. However  I find most people including the poor rather apathetic when it comes to trying to effect change.

august

I did want to point out that many of the special offerings on the "official" calendar are for agencies that do not receive ministry shares . . . such as CRWRC :-) We rely solely on offerings.

Melissa, this is a really thought-provoking question you raise.  I think in many cases agencies are planning and assuming that congregations will participate in ministry shares AND will schedule offerings for some of the same causes.   Deacons know this, and so they often schedule offerings that give the congregation the opportunity to give "over and above" the ministry share.

As you point out, this can cloud the question of how much a church is actually giving to a given agency or cause.  

I think in other cases, deacons are aware that budget short-falls in the church are being addressed by shorting ministry shares.  Then offerings might be intended to help meet the congregation's classical and denominational "fair share".   

I'm struck by your statement that deacons make the schedule for a year in advance. In my church the offering schedule is made for much shorter intervals, and the deacons view it with a lot of flexibility, depending on a variety of factors.

Along with you, I'm eager to hear of how deacons in other churches think about these questions.

My dos centimos' worth Jeff & Karl: For more than a decade now Christian Reformed Church in the Philippines synodical meetings have deacons as official/voting delegates. Even earlier than that, deacons are official/voting members of both the classis and church councils. We believe that as all members of the body of Christ have the prophetic, kingly and priestly functions but a certain group of elders, ministers and deacons are chosen to "rule" and govern the church assemblies from the local congregation to the synod.

Thanks Karl, I knew you were special with a mission from Jesus. That angry prophets message isn't the only attitude change we need but captures the essence of what my missional command from Jesus is  to the church body.Now I see it is one of yours also. Glory be to God. Karl you have given words to my heart that I couldn't because of my humanness and sickness of body and mind. Thank you Karl

Karl,

Wow. Amen. Thank you God. This is perhaps the most honest and raw piece that I have ever read from you. It makes me excited and joy filled. Excited because when God lays this kind of ground work hang on for the ride, bcecause it's going to be a fun wild ride! Joy filled - because the things you mention above are amazing.

posted in: Unholy Arthritis

Exellent, Karl. It's a constant reforming of our souls.

posted in: Unholy Arthritis

Faith Alive used to have a devotional book called "Beyond the Agenda," which I thought gave great ideas for devotions to help build community within church committees. I also think that facilitation techniques are so important for good, productive meetings, yet they aren't taught very much in our circles.

A wise analysis on social etiquette that is tough for me too.  Thanks Karl

Ken

Thanks, I needed that blessing!  This has been a hard year for us and Thanksgiving Day was a day for BOTH thanking our faithful God AND grieving a lot.   God bless you too, my friend!

Hi Karl, Kris Rocke has a interesting take on what isa healthy relationship. Without  reading his material other than what you provided Karl, I can't quite understand what he is saying. I've never been to Heaven, but I consider my relationship with God to be intimate. Any relationship that occurs while helping people for the right reason, cannot be called false. It may not be intimate to you but may be the first time for them. I can't understand Kris Rocke's Spiritual logic. Hey Karl thanks for bringing thia subject up, I sure I could be wrong on his intent.  Thanks Karl

Ken

posted in: Relationships

Dear Karl,  Your there!   God bless you my freind.

Thanks, Ken You have a perspective I don't have.   Your comment that your experience actually opened up a whole new realm of blessings shows a "kingdom perspective" I think.  The life of a disciple may be very difficult, and yet the way God works with us is to show us who he is in and through trials and suffering.   No one "chooses" to suffer, yet we "choose" to trust God no matter what.  We "choose" his will for us.  Do I dare to say that suffering enriches us?  Yes, because that is such a clear teaching in Scripture.  Yet I think it is actually God's presence in the suffering, and the work of the Spirit in and through it is what enriches us.  It's a kind of mystery.  We don't ask for it, but we rejoice in it.   and He uses it to bless us.

I'm trying to reflect on my own experience here, in the light of your testimony.   I'm still a child at this, but I think that understanding this is a part of what it means to bear one another's burdens, and a part of what it means to be a true servant with and for those who suffer.   Compassion... to suffer WITH.  

What do you think?  

Karl, You are so correct. It should be enough to keep us humble knowing what Jesus did for us and how we as Paul would say don't ever do as we should. That's why it so important for believers to understand the magnitude of our Gospel mission.

 Thanks for your thoughts and glory be to God   Ken

Karl, Being disabled with physical and mental illness of which I am both, is not a calamity if the social, educational and economic conditions are stable. I'm not oppressed. What's happened to me has openned a whole new realm of blessings. I got to actaully got to particpate in childrens lives in a way that my type A life before would have missed. Anyway I think things that we were refering to are more nuanced than the author described. Don't get me wrong it is not easy with or without faith in Jesus. 

Ken, I would think that physical and mental hardships would be classified usually under the heading "calamity" - for the purposes of Keller's analysis.   Along the same lines, I think Keller would see family history, education and social environmental factors as EITHER oppression, OR calamity, or both.  Of course, human (irr)responsibility could be involved as well, depending on the  circumstances, for example in fetal alcohol syndrome, surely we'd say it's a calamity, and also the result of irresponsible behavior / decisions by the mother.

 Hi Karl,

I agree with Henry Bosch and wonder too why  not someone from Diaconal Ministries Canada was invited to be part of the Tack Force on Deacons. Diaconal Ministries Canada grew from the inital efforts of the All Ontario Diaconal Conference and has offered and continues to turn over new leaves in spiritual and  positive leadership  promoting diaconal ministry. I sincerely hope that the taskforce will seek input from the present Diaconal Ministries Canada staff.

I pray the taskforce much wisdom as they address and deliberate the role and gifts of the deacons at the church and major assemblies.

Peter.

If you will observe the kind of society that we have right now,you'll see that we are indeed in great catastrophe.There are many crisis that we encounter and that truly put us in danger that's why the progress and development of our country is slow.Many people from different countries suffer from hunger and deep poverty.I told myself that if I can help them,I will do the best that I can to extend my help to those who are in need.Some people labeled hunger as  food insecurity.I hope that we'll be able to help others even in our own little way.

Karl, I have to disagree with author on what causes poverty. He left out physical and mental hardships that are huge factor. Family history, education and local social enviroment are also factors. You don't have to worry about sheilding them from their consequences because they are already are experiencing their consequences. I think the author has agenda if your critic is descriptive of this book. His concepts are true to a subset of poverty with poor life skills due to narrsistic behavior.

A brief review of Tim Keller's book Ministries of Mercy (along with other books on the topic of wholistic ministry for your church) can be found at Hearts & Minds Books .

Yes, usually at the classical level.  Some classes have deaconal coordinators or coaches, and they could help explore how to create or recreate an assembly.   OR, a church could write to the classical  interim committee to request that this be considered.   Some thought will need to be given to how to make this fresh since it's an old idea, and classical reactions could easily be, "we used to  do that, but we don't anymore" and then give it no more time.  

There are deacons' conferences that still exist, though in quite different form, for example in Kalamazoo, MI. http://www.kazoodc.org/

Another good resource would be the Deacons Ministry Conference in Canada.  

My church is on a September to August fiscal year.

On the positive side, most of our ministry program changes are implemented in the fall. So this allows us to budget for a full 'ministry year'.

On the downside, it makes for a lot of budget meetings in the summer. As I discovered when I got on council :-)

I have to believe almost all churches are on a calendar year. I don't see any advantage to changing it. It would be some what of a reconcliling  hassle for the treasurer- to me simple is usually best...

Yep

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

It's true that elders are often weathered deacons.  However, if the offices are truly equal there could also be deacons who are weathered elders.

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

What would it take to get the assemblies rolling again? Were they at the classis level?  Thanks They sound usefull.

A good leader like Jesus did delegate the Gospel to humans to spread the good news, it makes since to me to follow his pattern of leadership to be effective.  Thanks Karl for the thoughts

I think you are right that our first responsibility  is to those with whom we have direct relationships.  And that's the beginning.

God's blessings are always for the purpose of equipping us to bless others.   The deacon needs to see that her or his responsibility begins with motivating and equipping God's people to participate, to share in serving the needs of others.  I think deacons help God's people to know the joy of gifting each other so that together they can gift the world.

When we see this inter-connection between serving and equipping and involving the family, and the "external mission", and stewardship, we are on our way to a very "wholistic" understanding of what it means to be a deacon.  The responsibility of the deacon is to enable the family of God to join in to serve, to give, to participate in mission.  In this important sense deacons are servant leaders.   The more people are involved with the deacons in stewarding their gifts, and making them available to the congregation's mission, the more the work of the deacon is effective.

Surprising, yes, I agree.  I think I'm right in observing that there is also no one from the Communities First Association, which is CRWRC's partner organization for working with deacons in the US.    I suspect that choosing no one from either of these entities might be purposeful.  Let's see if anyone can shed light on this for us.   

Pages