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.
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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".
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?
Let's do everything we can to make this task force a delightful assignment for its members. Will you help? You can start with prayer; you can use the Deacons' Forum; you can respond when they ask for help; and you can talk to your fellow deacons and council members about this task force. Let the deaconal revolution begin!
But Henk wasn't falling asleep. Just the opposite, he was having a moment of sharp worry, thinking about his friend whose home might be in foreclosure, thinking about his church, thinking about his denomination. Might as well worry big while you're at it!
Recently I heard Jay VanGroningen of CFA talk about “good neighbors” – and then he kicked it up a notch by asking: And what makes a GREAT neighbor? That got me to thinking. We know what makes a good deacon…
My point is that we are waiting with bated breath to see what the BOT has done with the deacons task force. Are you eager to know the reporting deadline? Are you even more eager to know who is on the task force? I am! Did the BOT amplify the instructions to the task force ...
A few weeks ago, Herm confided in Deacon Henk about the foreclosure notice he'd received. It's been a tough few weeks and Herm needs a bit of strong friendship! "I wish me and the wife could talk about doughnuts and weight. Seems like we don't talk at all, or we're fussin' at each other about money."
First, there’s just no getting around it, somebody has to do some good preparation, and that usually falls to the chair. If you are not the chair, offer to help; this business of having better meetings involves taking responsibility – stepping up to the tasks.
What if the most important thing a deacon could do to facilitate CHANGE would be to build a couple of really good relationships with members of the congregation? What if the purpose of the relationship was to discover together how to live a more Christ-like life, a life more marked by grace, and sensitivity to needs, and better use of gifts, and increased generosity?
The Christian Reformed Church down the street sat silent, waiting. The deacons were coming. Tomorrow they would come. They would meet. They would turn on lights; they would talk and drink coffee. They would follow the agenda. They would turn out the lights and ...