Guest blog by Sue HulstThe Synodical Task Force for Diaconal Ministry has been challenged with the following: to help the CRC “to structure their diaconal ministry in ways that allow for effective coordination of ministry efforts that transform the community and the church, as members minister in and with their community. This harnesses ‘God gifts’ in the community for community benefit.”
One example of an effort to work together and “to harness God gifts in the community for community benefit” is the Holland Deacons Conference of Classis Holland. HDC has been serving Classis Holland and the greater Holland community for over 30 years by establishing a home for victims of abuse and homes for developmentally challenged adults, by working with community organizations like Good Samaritan Center, by helping the local Free Health Clinic and Lakeshore Little Peoples Place Christian Daycare, working with Buen Pastor Ministry to children of migrant workers, and more. Truly a demonstration of what can happen when deacons work together without regard for boundaries.
The Synodical challenge is before us as well. To serve well we need to ask and honestly answer some tough questions:
- What diaconal ministry are we as the congregation prepared and gifted to do?
- What are we not gifted to do?
- Do we understand that we can’t fix everything?
- Are we ready to say “no” when necessary?
- What ministries are people in our church community passionate about that cannot be accomplished without a large group involvement?
- Is this a need that is best served thru the classis diaconal group?
- What local CRCs, other churches, parachurch groups or other organizations already are serving those needs? How can we be involved with them?
- How can we effectively coordinate ministry efforts to transform the community and the church?
- How can we encourage better resource awareness?
- Are we willing to learn from other people and groups, wherever and whoever they are?
- Are we ready to be partners not patriarchs?
- Are we open to being receivers and not just givers, learners not just teachers?
The challenge is here. Let’s work together to transform our communities and the church!