There sits in the centre of our backyard a beautiful young healthy cherry tree, yet its story is a sad one of limited potential. As we begin a new year will your story be like the cherry tree's? Or will you embrace the opportunities and dreams God has given you?
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It's been said that 90% of life is just showing up. I realized this week that HOW we show up is important. I think many of us (myself included) need to take a good hard look at the attitudes we are bringing to the table when we enter a particular situation, because it affects waaaaaay more than just ourselves.
Melissa Van Dyk mentioned the results of the Diakonia Remixed survey in her blog post and raised some questions concerning terms for deacons. The task force would like to take the opportunity, in this blog post, to preview some of our work and hear your feedback regarding terms for deacons.
If God is present in each conversation we are having, can we allow his voice to be heard? Or are we too busy inputting our own opinions and advice to actually allow the Spirit to speak. What might happen if we became people who actually let God say what needs to be said...?
We are entering the Christmas season and, as deacons, there are a lot of different initatives that we can undertake to help spread the hope and joy of this time. As we engage in these converations among our teams it can be helpful to brainstorm and share best practices from other congregations, so, let's do just that!
"You Add, God Multiplies" is more than a catchy phrase, it's the reality of what happens when, as churches, we pool our resources to accomplish more ministry than we could do each on our own. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion about what Ministry Shares are and what they do...
When we offer help to someone we can have the crazy notion that we need to fix the whole issue ourselves. We would do more for those we offer assistance if we understood our role as referring folks to the resources of our broader community, without abandoning them.
When we're running on empty, in overdrive, going from commitment to commitment, we barely seem to have time to sleep, let alone rest or take Sabbath time... but that's exactly what we need to do. We have to stop, and take a moment to ponder "is what I'm thinking, saying and doing WORTH thinking saying and doing?"
What should the church be doing, then, if government effort seems to have little effect, except maybe for providing ongoing relief? How should the church shape its own response? Can the church actually REDUCE poverty and dependence on programs that help? Even just in our neighborhood? Seems like that’s the ideal...
We want to help people. We want to do the right thing, the good thing, the Godly thing. Often we discover that we need to learn how to help well. ABCD is a method of offering assistance which empowers those we are serving and, as it continues to grow in popularity, it's worth paying attention to.
As we head into the holiday season, we need to be aware that need doesn't stop. It also doesn't increase exponentially. How can we inspire our congregations to engage with those in need in a meaningful way? And why has Stephen Colbert called Christians out on this?
We love to do good. Sometimes though, our desire to do something good leads us to turn people into projects. In the latest issue of Partners, a diaconal newsletter, Linda Weening shares a story of assistance which may make you think about how you speak with those you serve.
You're a nurturer, but are you being nurtured? Our culture tells us we need to be productive and efficient. Usually that means every minute of our day has to be filled with some commitment. The reality is that's not healthy, truthful, or the gospel.
As deacons we can often find ourselves in situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable to us. As easy as it is to try to ignore or avoid these scenarios, we know that at some point, we need to venture out into that unknown. Are you ready to risk it?
To date Diakonia Remixed has received 300 responses to the survey that was created to help them evaluate the state of diaconal ministry in North America. Have you filled it out yet? If you haven't, you have less than a month to add your voice to this important discussion. So what are you waiting for? We need you! (And I'm not only talking to deacons here!)
In the Charge to Deacons it says “They are also called to speak words of Christian encouragement”. This statement is broad, and it can take many different forms. I think that makes it exciting! There are a multitude of ways we can live this out as individuals (and a diaconate) using our unique giftings. That freedom is pretty cool.
We know that giving of our offerings is an act of worship, yet with the advent of electronic giving methods one might begin to wonder how meaningful this part of our service is. How do we as deacons continue to create the space for people to enter into worship through their giving, even if it's done on a regular banking day?
When I became a deacon I got a giant binder of information. I loved it! The year after me someone got that same binder and was totally overwhelmed. I wonder if a gradual training program would be a better way of introducing new deacons to their role? The Office of Deacon Task Force is currently exploring this idea, and looking for your input!
We eagerly enter into diaconal ministry, thinking our eyes are wide open. Often we are surprised to realize how much work a deacon does! As the tasks find their way onto our plates, we try to create space for them. But what is being sacrificed for “the work of the church”?
I know our journey to wholeness in Christ is a refining process; being purified in thought, word, deed and heart. But what if we find ourselves spinning our wheels in the mud of sin, not able to move forward? There are many people who are in this very situation. People who lay their burdens down, only to