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When I first served as a deacon in 1971 (Northside Community Chapel, Paterson, NJ), a book that encouraged my ministry and growth was the CRC's Deacons and Evangelism. It was this resource that spurred my thinking that doing mercy and sharing the gospel are inseparable. This became the foundation of my ministry then as a social worker, and continues to this day as a mercy minister. There is no mercy without the gospel.

Because of its impact on me, I recommend this book from Rev. George Stob. I've attached an excerpt from the book to this post. 

Attached Media
DEACON-Stob.pdf (12.5 KB)


Wow.  Thanks, David!  This sparks my thinking about the role of deacons at classis and synod.  How can the deacons help us as assemblies and as a denomination, to infuse this servant-hood into our life together in our neighborhoods, cities, towns, and nations?  If ever our world needed to experience fearless incarnational service, it's now.   

     Back in the day, we all were aware of the phenomenon of "changing neighborhoods".   People left, churches left, and then those who came next experienced the irreversible decline of the systems and networks that are the vessels and sinews of healthy community.  It was an incredibly complicated tangle  of social, economic, religious dynamics, and the church basically walked away.... or in some cases ran. I think we thought we could give up on some of the square inches over which Jesus is Lord.

 It feels like the cities of the nations are experiencing something like that today.  Societies are at risk of being overwhelmed by the needs of people pressing to be allowed in.  Systems can't cope.  Cultures can't assimilate that fast.  Those with resources leave the turmoil  and walk away.  And we all watch as things unravel.  Some of us try to help.  Unless the Spirit of Jesus the Servant pervades the global church, the Church may again find itself out in suburbia, where things may feel a little better.... for a while.  What does radical servant-hood mean for the Church today?  

If the Church in North America is in fact being challenged by the secularizing of our society as never before, surely we are also being challenged to renewed commitment by the global themes of war, ecological decline, prejudice, and homelessness on a scale we couldn't have imagined.  We simply cannot respond only as individuals or congregations. We are called to be many members unified in large scale responses, so that systems and cities, populations and nations, may turn toward justice and mercy.  That means that we'll have to discern as assemblies, as a denomination among sister denominations, what needs to be done.  By us.  And then we'll have to follow the Spirit to think bigger, speak wiser, and work humbler, and get more done.

David, you have been at this for a lifetime.  Thank you.  And may God continue to use you.


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