When they are ordained for service to their congregation, deacons are charged to “inspire faithful ministries of service to one another, to the larger community, and to the world” (Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons). Their work in the church involves helping to create an atmosphere of service and stewardship, of generosity and mutual grace.
Many workshops offered at Inspire 2019 will encourage and equip deacons to fulfill the calling they’ve received, with ideas for creating community, encouraging wise use of gifts, and reaching out to the neighborhood.
Join us at Inspire 2019, happening August 1-3 in Windsor, Ont.! The event is designed to help volunteers and leaders of all sorts in congregational ministry to connect, discover new resources, share ideas with other leaders and learners, and together worship our good God.
The following are some of the workshops that deacons may find helpful, and there are many others to choose from on the Inspire site!
- The New Role of Deacons and Community Transformation - Synod 2015 made dramatic changes in the leadership role deacons have in the church at all levels. This workshop will look at the new role deacons have with a specific focus on how it relates to the local community context and the church's participation in the ongoing transformational work in the community.
- Role of Deacons: Strengthening your Congregation and Community - This workshop (offered in Korean and English) will focus on the work of deacons in congregations and communities, addressing the Biblical call for deacons, the ways in which congregations rely upon deacons, and the approaches deacons use in their congregations and communities to be faithful to their calling.
- Equipping Your Church to Go Green - This session is designed for churches who want to get serious about creation care and reducing their energy footprint. Many congregations have already made progress in this area by lowering their energy bills, installing solar panels, installing sustainable gardens, becoming Energy Star certified, partnering in city-wide efforts to improve energy sustainability, or by meeting with policy makers to encourage policies that care for creation. Learn from what’s already been done. Find out who to connect with for resources and ideas at your regional level, and be inspired to show God’s love by caring for creation.
- Universal Design for Ministry - “Universal design” in architecture is now standard in new buildings. Rather than retrofitting buildings to make them more accessible, we build them that way from the start. The same theory should apply to ministries. What does it look like when worship planning, small groups, education for children and adults, youth ministries, and governance structures are built to accommodate people with varied abilities from the start? This workshop will explore both “universal design” and “responsive design” for ministries of today and tomorrow.
- Rural Folks Do Neighborhood Ministry Too - When churches start talking about neighborhood outreach and getting into their community, it can sometimes leave rural or "less urban" churches feeling as if these initiatives don't apply to them. Using stories and examples, workshop attendees will learn approaches and strategies appropriate for rural churches.
- Workshop on Wheels: Social Enterprise in Action - This workshop will span two workshop time slots, allowing participants to travel to nearby Downtown Mission in Windsor. Downtown Mission is a Christian non-profit organization that seeks to serve and advocate for those who struggle with homelessness and poverty. Whether it’s providing emergency shelter, a hot meal, or a food pack for an individual or family, Windsor Downtown Mission is there to provide a message of hope through faith and caring. On this tour, learn about two social enterprises (Charities and the Do Good Deli) that provide a workforce training ground in the ministry context. Come and see what Downtown Mission is all about, and consider how you can apply some of these same ideas.
- Top Ideas for Community Building - This practical session will focus on a variety of ways we can build up connections and communities for people who are lonely or vulnerable. Cara will provide concrete examples of first steps you can take in community building. The workshop will also include real conversations around the barriers and challenges you might face, and will help the audience come away from this session with an idea that “just might work!”
- Creating an Atmosphere of Belonging - This workshop is designed for congregations, leaders and volunteers who support those living with disabilities in their church communities. Cara Milne, a Disability Concerns advocate for the Christian Reformed Church, will give usable and practical information so that congregations can feel confident in how to begin to create an atmosphere of belonging.
- Go(ing) Local: What All the Fuss Is About - Go Local is not a program but a process; not a "flavor of the week" but a journey. This truncated "taste and see" workshop aims to give leaders and parishioners an enticing glimpse of what might happen when we pay attention to God in our neighbourhoods, and why no two journeys are alike.
- Embodying “Ministry With” - In these times, when so many of us have the right heart for education, immigration, mass incarceration, and even reimagining the church, why does it seem that the road to renewal and transformation is so slowly paved? In this workshop, Reesheda Graham-Washington, co-author of "Soul Force: Seven Pivots to Courage, Community, and Change", executive director of Communities First Association, and CEO of L!VE Café, will invite participants to examine how they show up to these conversations, and what posture they must embody collectively to impact community transformation. This interactive experience will challenge participants to analyze practices of “othering” and mitigate against them. It will also equip attendees to be more authentic and vulnerable as they address the challenges we face in the parish and beyond.