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How are or are deacons engaging in the work of justice? Included in the CRCNA's current Charge to Deacons (Charge) adopted in 1982 are these words: "Be prophetic critics of . . . injustice, and . . . be sensitive counselors to the victims of such evils." The proposed changes to the Charge also addresses the work of justice as follows: "Deacons serve by leading and equipping the church to serve its members and the world in a rich diversity of ministries, awakening compassion, demonstrating mercy, seeking justice, and collaborating with God’s Spirit for the transformation of persons and communities. In imitation of Christ’s mercy, deacons summon the church to help relieve victims of injustice . . . ." 

If you or your congregation's diaconate are unsure about what to do or what it even might mean to be engaged in addressing injustice or seeking justice, be assured that you are not alone. However, if your diaconate is actively engaged in some type or types of justice work or efforts, please let us know about it. Also, if you have any resources or ideas that you or your diaconate have used or found helpful in this area, please let us know about them as well. Let me begin by telling you about one such resource that I think could help deacons better understand what justice means and how it might apply to diaconal ministry today.

Little did I know that when I picked up and began reading Generous Justice by Tim Keller, that it would be so pertinent to deacons and anyone else engaged in diaconal ministry with poor individuals, families, and communities. It came as little surprise to me then to learn that Dr. Keller dedicated this book to the deacons of his congregation (Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City) along with a diaconal ministry (Hope for New York) that grew out of Redeemer and with whom they still work closely–along with others–to serve the poor of the city.

I am grateful to Dr. Keller for writing this book and providing some very clear and sound Biblical insight and guidance on a subject that we all too often ignore and/or avoid–for a variety of reasons–doing little if anything to address injustices in the world and in our communities.  I encourage you to buy or borrow a copy of this very readable and clear treatment of what the Biblical call to do justice meant when it was written,  what it means to us today, and how we can or might apply it to our work as deacons. (If you want to purchase a copy of this book, consider buying it from an independent bookseller. You can locate an independent bookseller online by clicking on this link to IndieBound.)  

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention and encourage you to take advantage of the CRCNA's very own Office of Social Justice or by visiting and subscribing to the CRCNA's DoJustice blog

Now it's your turn . . .

  1. What do your deacons do to address injustices?
  2. What resources (books, websites, videos, etc.) have been helpful for your deacons?


Thanks for this important post, Jack! The Office of Social Justice has also created a new group study called Live Justly, created in partnership with Micah Challenge U.S., that will be available around September. This could also be a great resource for a deacons' Bible study or another small group!

Plus, you can receive the Live Justly curriculum for free by signing up for World Renew's Deacon's Newsletter (information regarding signing up will be going out soon). 

Thanks for the good reminder! I'm a deacon at my church and a small group that I am in showed a film called "The Stranger," about immigration, to a group of nearly 200 in the Holland, MI area. The response was very positive and it was a great collaborative effort with neighborhood participants and help from other organizations like the OSJ and the Methodist Church organization Justice For our Neighbors. 

Thanks for sharing this Kris! I think that event was a positive example of collaboration among organizations and neighbors to raise awareness about an important justice issue in the U.S. today. Interestingly, on the topic of immigration justice, Tim Keller makes a very compelling case from Scripture-- in Generous Justice--that how we welcome, treat, care for and include the immigrant/stranger/alien (as one of the groups in what he refers to as the "quartet of the vulnerable") is an indicator as well as a demonstration of our relationship with and love for God.  

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