What Should Be Included in a List of Best Practices for Deacons?

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One of the things that has stumped me as a Deacon is trying to translate the broad descriptions of the office of Deacon into practical tasks that will support that vision. I realize that the "to do" list of a deacon will vary quite a bit depending on each churches culture, needs and community. I also realize that it would probably be impossible to put all of the work of a deacon on a checklist, but that's the kind of thing that helps me take action instead of just wondering what kind of action to take.

If you are an active or retired deacon, what kinds of things do you do on a regular basis in your service for the church?

If you are not an active deacon, what kind of practices have you observed in the deacons at your church?

Thanks!

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I love lists!    So thanks for the opportunity to make one!  I'm going to make a short list, based on what I've seen in my own church, and based also a bit on what I'd LIKE to see!

1.  Deaconal praying, maybe with a deaconal prayer partner.  Specific prayers about stewardship opportunitites, needs, persons, the deacons themselves, community needs, the church...

2.  Deaconal contacts.  Either with another deacon, or with an elder partner, stay in touch with your section of the congregation, say by phone monthly, and by a visit once or twice a year.   And as needed with people in need.  Building relationships of trust and understanding.  

3.  Read articles or books on a regular basis that can help you deepen and broaden your vision and your understanding, and can help you bring new skills, ideas, or approaches to the deacons' meetings.

4.  Check in on the Diakonia Remixed site to see what this task force is up to.

5.  Make sure there is something once a month or so planned for inclusion in the worship service that will help the congregation learn about  a deaconal need, project, or service in the community or globally.

6.  Set aside a time regularly to check over the minutes from the last deacons' meeting, and to get prepared for the next one. Work with your chair of deacons to make sure that there is good followup and good homework so that meetings have continuity, and a sense of both community and accomplishment are strong.   

What do you find helpful here?   What doesn't ring any bells for you?   What do others find useful in thinking about a disciplined routine of deaconal activity?   

Thanks for your question, Rebecca!

Karl, thanks for chiming in with some great ideas, and for all your thoughtful posts on this forum! Rebecca

I agree with Rebecca, I like that list Karl. :D

To add to that list our deacon team has also done the following:

a. Gather food offerings from the congregation monthly for a local ministry we are in relationship with and our food bank, and then distribute that.

b. Host a budgeting session, to teach interested persons about biblical financial principles and actually teach them how to create a budget that works.

c. Count the offerings, informing the congregation monthly about how much has been received, and managing the financial resources for benevolence [which has been used for groceries, rent, medications, tuition, simple gifts]

d. Write notes to people in our congregation, either those ill for whom we have been in prayer, or thank yous to people who have helped us in serving.

e. Create the offering schedule and promote an offering at least once a month.

f. Increase congregational awareness of various deacon "things". For instance: items that may be confusing on the budget, benevolence,  tithing and stewardship, or the PAR program. 

g. Utilize DMC [www.diaconalministries.com] resources, both online and in person, to enhance our understanding of our roles and generate new ideas.

h. Intentially be present in the community [both in and around the church] developing relationships [new and old] and engaging in conversations so that we know those we are serving.

i. Met with members of our Missions Committee to discuss and develop ways that would allow us to build deeper relational contacts with the organizations we support through our church offerings.

j. The chair of the deacons has connected with each deacon for a 1-1 check in, asking about how they are doing, addressing any concerns, and offering affirmation and encouragement.

k. Regular visiting with a diverse group of individuals/families, sometimes because they have particular needs, sometimes just to say "hello". 

l. We attempted to organize rides to church on Sundays  for those who needed them, however, at the time no one seemed to be in need of one. [We are continually aware of this being a potential need].

 

The deacon role is so diverse, it's often hard to know what to do or where to start... but we've just been praying,  trying to pay attention to the community we're part of and be proactive in our service... knowing that God is moving and we've been invited to partner with Him.  

I love gathering ideas, sharing thoughts, and celebrating the collective wisdom we're surrounded by... so I'm looking forward to more responses :D

If you are in the tornado zone, you may want to consider what you can do to help there.   Perhaps gather a group of young people for a few days of cleaning up, or home building, or sorting of materials....