This question haunts me. I hardly dare to raise it. But so much depends on the answer.
I'm afraid to raise it - afraid of the issues and feelings it might call forth.
In a nutshell, I am hopeful, but cautiously hopeful. Deacons DO lead, lots of them. But where there is a pattern of NOT leading, can the pattern be changed? Are they younger than elders and seen as less experienced in leadership and in life? Is their role seen as relating to the "physical" part of reality rather than the spiritual? Are they less important than ordained clergy? Is the role of deacon seen as more "accessible" than that of elder, or even worse, as elder in training?
If you have a good story of deacons in leadership, how about sharing it? What happened? HOW did it happen?
Do deacons learn all they can about needs in congregation and community so they become the council's resource persons on the topic? Do deacons develop a plan for leading the council and congregation into increasing spiritual depth of compassion? Are the deacons clearly expected to be initiators and leaders? Are the deacons developing deep and transforming relationships with people in need? Is the congregation praying passionately for deaconal leadership?
What is it that puts deacons on the "leading edge"?