Developing Policy and Guidelines
The CRC’s charge to deacons 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, the links below offer practical 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 those in need of the ministry of mercy. These resources also address attitudes and behaviors that are needed to help deacons relate well to the ones they serve (adapted from Diaconal Ministries Canada).
In short, consider the following guidelines:
- Ensure that your general benevolence policy and procedures are approved and regularly reviewed at the council level so that they have continuity.
- See that the procedures articulate other resources that need to be considered before monies are given out (e.g., government or community resources). Some churches utilize a local Christian Community Organization to administer the emergency needs of community members.
- Determine whether your benevolence policy applies equally to church members and to community members.
- Determine whether the deacons administer the fund directly or give oversight to a benevolence committee made up of people gifted in mercy ministry.