The Story Behind the Story - Three Practices Make a Great Deacon


What you see isn't always what you get.  There are important unseen factors that go into the making of a great deacon.

The Story Behind the Story – Three things make a “great” deacon

Recently I heard Jay VanGroningen of CFA talk about “good neighbors” – and then he kicked it up a notch by asking:  And what makes a GREAT neighbor?

That got me to thinking.  We know what makes a good deacon…  a good steward, faithful at meetings, sensitive heart, and the like.   But what makes a GREAT deacon?  

Here are 3 things I think go into making a great deacon; I wonder what YOU think about these.

A great deacon prays – a lot.   She cultivates a habit of praying for the congregation, for the community, for the world.  Praying goes without saying.  But too many of us just don’t say it. 

A great deacon walks the neighborhood.  Here’s another spiritual discipline that I think underlies great deacons.  Greeting people, observing what’s happening, watching for things to praise and appreciate.  Praying and walking and watching for the gifts that God has put into the community.  Just being around is so important – listening, caring, encouraging. 

A great deacon has an eye for the gifts in life, and concentrates more on gifts than on needs.  This is related to always asking where God is at work so we can join him.  Or like the change strategy of watching for what’s working and celebrating and building on that.   A great deacon is always asking God to show him where the gifts are so they can be uncovered and set free. 

What do you think makes a great deacon?

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I would tend to agree with these three.  We as deacons are striving this year to become more connected with our congregation though direct contact, being available and being visible.  This is something that we have identified as being very important in plugging into our role as leaders in all facets of stewardship.

Also, I am very glad to see the comment on an "eye for gifts".  There are so many resources other than financial available in the church.  Its nice to provide benevolent funds to a widow that has a flooded basement, but how much better is it to connect that person with a church member who is an electrician or contractor, and a youth small group willing to do cleanup, and an organized member to help with planning.  What a vibrant church we could have if we all worked together and made these connections in this way!  So we are striving to identify not only the needs in our congregation and community, but the resources available to help meet those needs.  Especially during times of economic difficulty.

Finally, enough cannot be said about prayer.  None of these good or great deacon attributes are effective without His support. 

Thanks Karl!


-matt bulthuis, deacon

Faith CRC