Establishing the Agenda for Deacons

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A question that is often asked by new chairs of deacons is, “What should a good agenda for our diaconate look like?” There is obviously no ready format that would fit every diaconate, since each context is unique. However, if we take the language from the role of deacon from the respective church orders in both the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church of America then we do have a framework to draw from.

RCA - “The board of deacons shall serve those in distress and need. The deacons shall minister to the sick, the poor, the hurt, and the helpless, shall aid the victims of the world’s abuse, and shall express the social concerns of the church. They shall oversee and carry out their work as those concerned with the redemption of humankind. Their focus is turned toward service and ministry both to the world and in the church?” (Book of Church Order, 1.I.6 p.19).

CRCNA - “The deacons shall represent and administer the mercy of Christ to all people, especially to those who belong to the community of believers. Deacons shall lead the members in ways that inspire faithful stewardship of their time, talents, and resources and so give life in this world the shape of God’s kingdom. Thus deacons shall create and encourage participation in structures and ministries of mercy, justice, and reconciliation, both locally and globally. All of this shall be done with words of biblical encouragement and testimony, which assure the unity of word and deed.”

Broadly speaking the following categories seem to then be appropriate for the formulation of an agenda;

EQUIP AND EDUCATE MEMBERS

  • Stewardship
  • Community involvement
  • Justice advocacy
  • Integration of Word and Deed
  • What outcomes do we want from this heading and how will we be accountable?

DEVELOP AND SUPPORT MEANINGFUL MINISTRY

  • Benevolence and care for members policies
  • Disability Concerns and Safe Church Policies
  • Key community partnerships
  • Key global ministry partnerships
  • What outcomes do we want from this heading and how will we be accountable?

SPEAK TO SYSTEMIC INJUSTICES

  • What issues are important to members?
  • What are local urgent issues?
  • What issues are important nationally/globally?
  • What outcomes do we want from this heading and how will we be accountable?

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

  • Lead in prayerfully discerning vision and mission of local church.
  • Regularly report on and encourage participation in the mission of the church.
  • What outcomes do we want from this heading and how will we be accountable?

In upcoming issues of For Deacons (sent to every church) we will look at developing this more fully. Clearly the role our respective denominations expect from deacons is one of leadership. Deacons also expect to lead when they are installed into their role. Setting an agenda consistent with this leadership role is critical to deacons feeling fulfilled in their calling.

What about you? In order to help other diaconates, would you share your perspective on what goes into the agenda of your Deacon's meeting? Specifically we are looking for agendas that draw on the mandate established for the office of Deacon, where Deacons are taking active accountability for that mandate.

Please share in the comments below! 

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