What Do Deacons Need?

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When I hear or read about deacons it is mostly about what deacons can or should be doing. I rarely hear or read much about what deacons need and how those needs might be met. As someone who cares about and is committed to supporting and serving deacons, I would like to hear from folks who are either presently serving as deacons or recently--within the last 2-3 years--completed a term as a deacon. I am most interested in responses to the first question below. I would also be interested in your responses to questions 2 and/or 3.

  1. What do you think deacons need most in order to carry out the work to which they have been called and the "Charge" to which they agreed at their ordination? (Just click on "Charge" if you've forgotten or are unsure about what it includes.)
  2. How do you think this or these needs can best be met or addressed?
  3. What suggestions do you have for deacons, church councils, congregations, classes, or deacon/diaconal conferences that might help address the need(s)?  
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Community Builder

I've been a deacon for a couple of years now.  The deep longing of my heart (and not only for deacons' meetings!) is for meetings that energize me and give me satisfaction.  Sometimes this happens!   It's gotta be well-planned, with good prep.  The chair needs to have thought it through ahead of time.  Important discussions need to be framed helpfully, and minor things not allowed to suck up our time. We need to produce well-discussed and thoughtful and clear decisions on important topics.  Specific tasks or assignments that are important but straightforward can be handled by one or two, then reported on succinctly, or only in writing.  Enjoying being with fellow deacons makes it really good.   This means some humor, some prayer, some Bible study. Fellowship time is clearly defined and then efficient work proceeds crisply and smartly.  And the meeting does not drag - ever.  And it's over - promptly, timely, respectfully.

Community Builder

Thanks for your helpful suggestions Karl. It seems to me that most--and perhaps all--of your suggestions would apply to nearly all church "business" meetings. 

Hey Jack--

Perhaps I can provide my two cents.

First term, second year for myself both as a deacon and on the administrative committee. One of the most important things that I require for effective ministry is understanding who I am as a deacon and what exactly my role is in the church. One particular phrase of the charge, and perhaps a little twist is to say that we are administers of mercy. Mercy is kind of a loaded word, but perhaps that's the beauty of it-- that mercy could be a display of comfort, understanding, financial or physical help. But ultimately the bottom line is to be servants of Christ. Maybe we can call it a Micah 6:8 principle. But what we often fail to do is connect the decision to the reason. When we provide a benevolent service to a needy family, we discuss situations, numbers, and innumerable other details which block us from understanding what the decision means and why we're doing it. I think opening a meeting in prayer might lack the kind of focus that is required for deacons to get into this mindset-- you are administers of mercy.

Maybe it's as simple as opening with prayer, and then the chair looking at everyone in the eye and saying "Remember why you are here. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." It's a prayer of itself, and we all can say amen to that while serving the purpose of returning the focus to the importance of the roles of deacons in our churches.

 

Community Builder

Steve,

 

 

Thanks so much for your response to this post. I'm sorry I didn't see and respond to it sooner. 

I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions regarding the use of a "Micah 6:8 principle" as a reminder and  guide in all we do and how we do it as reflections and servants of Christ.

Jack