"Who today is the focus of [the deacons'] task? Our church order and ordination form emphasize the necessity of addressing widening circles of need that center in the congregation. Is this a good distinction for us to be making? Do we run the risk of ignoring greater needs because we see only
What would make a “persuasive listener”? Well, obviously it’s someone who has already listened well to God’s leading and is listening from within God’s presence. Listening from within God’s presence would attune me to the Spirit’s leading and discerning.
You know there is a topic that NEEDS to be discussed. You WANT it to be addressed. And you KNOW it'll cause tension, stress and maybe bad feelings if you bring it up. What to do? Leaders in our congregations need to know how to help the membership deal with difficult topics in fruitful and safe ways. It can be
So what should deacons be talking about in their meetings? Here’s a list of some key topics that will help deacons give leadership in making sure the congregation stays fresh.
Looking for a short but richly packed starting place for a conversation about how your church might get engaged with community transformation? You couldn't find a better place to look than in this 2 page list of questions and bullet points by Jay Van Groningen.
Data on CRC congregations and pastors from the Third Wave Report continues to nag at me. It appears that routine feedback to pastors from their councils is a very valuable tool! So, wouldn't you think we'd be doing that as one of our "disciplines"?
I love to read stories about what other churches are doing in their communities - especially when they teach and inspire me to think about what MY church could do! Stories can be resources by themselves AND they can lead the way to MORE resources - especially these stories from CFA!
In the years that I've been observing deacons in the CRCNA, my impression is that we don't really expect much leadership from our deacons. We have all kinds of reasons for this, but the fact is that it is the exception when deacons give intentional leadership to the congregation.
I want to tell you about a book about change that I think is unusually good - it's interesting, it's easy, it's funny, it's profound. And it'll change how you think about change while offering endless ideas for how to use these insights to bring about change in "real life".
I was browsing in the "Third Wave Report." And one interesting item noted is that when pastors set up regular systems for council to give feedback to the pastor on preaching, this has a positive affect on "pastoral excellence."
People just aren't as worried about my convenience and my schedule as they should be. People aren't committed to making progress at my pace. People aren't first of all concerned about how wonderful I am because I'm helping them. But the Holy Spirit is at work.
Mary's song of hope becomes more challenging when it moves beyond charity for the poor to judgment: “…but he has sent the rich away empty.” How are we to participate in the kingdom activity of sending the rich away empty? I can’t say I have ever heard a sermon about that.
Deacons often build their meetings around problems, needs, shortfalls, and concerns. In a way, that's their job, but the wise deacon has her attitude shaped by graceful abundance, rather than by anxious focus on the problems. So how can one deacon make a difference in how a meeting flows?