Deacons Stepping Up?

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Starting to think of deacons at Synod.

Jeff Brower's post, "Deacons - Priests or Kings?" is a gem.  Wish I had written it.   It stimulates us to think about deacons and their authority, their relationship to the Kingly dimension of Jesus' identity.  But it also reminds us of a 43 year old report to Synod - where the "unfullfilled" nature of the deacons' role is acknowledged!    What's happened since?

How very urgent it is that the church in this decade receive and follow the leadership of deacons!   Deacons are the most hidden resource of the CRC.  They are formally and officially present in every CRC congregation across the North American  continent - some 1,000 churches.    What a network!   What a delivery system!  What an infrastructure!   What couldn't we do under deaconal leadership?  

What will call forth the best thinking and creativity and leadership from this army of deacons?   What could the denomination do at Synod this summer?  What could the congregations do to prepare the soil for the flowering of the deaconate?  What could the deacons do?

We are habituated to look to the clergy for leadership.   This habit limits us as a denomination and as congregations.  We've got a treasure trove of leadership; let's throw the lid wide open and get creative! 

We need to hear your stories!   Where and how are deacons leading the church into new ministries of mercy and justice?

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Deacons - Priests or Kings? I have a somewhat different take on this question about deacons that relates more to their ministry roles than their authority. In my experience, a diaconate functions best when different deacons are able to execute all three roles - prophets, priests and kings. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these three roles ought to determine what gifts need to complement the diaconate each time there are elections.

There are times when you need kings - deacons who are strong in administration, care about order, and deliberately chose structures that best serve ministry. There are times when you need prophets - deacons who are able to discern the Spirit's leading and boldly challenge complacency - both within the church and the neighbourhood. And, there are times, when you need priests - not only to build "bridges" between kings and prophets who will often be at loggerheads, but also to model a ministry of mercy and hospitality to those in the church and the community.