Leaders from Bridge of Hope Ministries, Sioux Center Iowa, recently attended a workshop focused on the role of deacons as leaders in the life of the church. The workshop was based on changes in the church order made by Synod 2015. Those changes were based on these principles:
- The whole Church is called to diakonia and deacons are part of the leadership called to equip the Church for that ministry.
- Diakonia reaches beyond charity to include justice, reconciliation, and peacemaking.
- There is parity between the offices of the Church.
- All of the offices must be represented at all assembly levels—Council, Classis, Synod.
- Minimal regulation for maximum engagement allowing for more organizational freedom.
As Bridges of Hope examined these principles in order to live those out locally, they made the following assumptions:
- All roles of leadership (Elder & Deacon) are qualified to lead the full Council's work in the church.
- That, should the leadership of Council be the Elder, then it is helpful and brings a fullness of perspective that the vice-chair be the Deacon. This could be the other way around as well.
- That training is a necessary and vital part of "handing off" ministry responsibilities as members go off active duty, and that there be enough time before the transfer, to allow knowledge to be passed on through a short-term mentoring process.
The Council is now led effectively by a deacon (Service Shepherd) and has a well-established process for the transfer of leadership as new officers come on to Council. It is a pattern worth noting!
View their website below!