Conference or Event
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Mercy Ministry Conference, Fort Worth, TX October 22-23

For those near Dallas/Fort Worth, the PCA Mercy Ministry conference is just a few weeks away. Come if you're excited about mercy & justice. I would love to see you there! 

Deacons
Blog
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Deacons Must Collect the Gifts of God's People and Distribute Them

Just as deacons facilitate the financial offerings of God’s people, they must also collect data on the talents of God’s people. Which member is a hairdresser or a handyman? Can they help?

Deacons
Blog
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Deacons Must Equip Members for Service

It is not the deacons’ task to be “lone rangers.” In Acts 6, “the Seven” (deacon prototypes) had to have wisdom and the Holy Spirit to manage their new ministry. They needed help, as do we... 

Deacons
Book or eBook
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Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence

The Chalmers Center is releasing Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence on Oct. 6. Learn how to effectively navigate the moment when someone asks the church for financial assistance. 

DeaconsPastors
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Hot Air Balloons and the Role of Deacons

Many deacons learn and make mistakes as they go. I certainly did when I was first a deacon in the mid-1970s. Many deacons don’t know what they are doing and don’t know where to turn for help. 

Deacons
Blog
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What Changes for Deacons?

Instead of functioning largely as "lone rangers", the approved changes invite deacons to equip and provide opportunities for members of the congregation to participate in diaconal work. 

Deacons
Article
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A Historic Vote for Deacons in the CRC

Synod 2015 voted to include deacons at future Synods, along with expanding the role of the Office of Deacon.

Deacons
Article
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Guidance & Resources for Deacons and Elders

If you're a deacon, elder, or pastor in the CRC, I encourage you to read the full report of the Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon. Additionally, I've shared other resources to dig deeper!

DeaconsCRCNA and Synod
Blog
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Deacons Delegated to Classis and Synod...?

In the absence of deacons, the full voice of the church is not heard, nor is the full ministry of the church under discussion. We await the outcome of synod’s deliberations with interest.

Deacons
Blog
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Grace or Disgrace

Does acknowledging God’s grace in our individual, sinful lives change our posture of serving? Would we be able to serve with a prideful, self-righteous, arrogant attitude if we believe in God’s grace?

Deacons
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Diakonia Redux: Will Deacons Get a Voice?

I am not sure I’ve ever heard a deacon speak up at classis. We will soon be able to test whether this is simply a failure of my own perception.

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Job Description
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A Deacon Job Description

Here is an updated version of a job description for deacons in the CRC. Use it as a template and adapt it for the deacons from your congregation and to your setting.

Deacons
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Compassion

In sincere love, Christ reaches out to the unfortunate and the helpless, the lonely and the hurting. We must practice that virtue with him.

Deacons
Workshop or Training
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New Refugee Workshop Materials Launching Mar. 28

If you’re in the Toronto area, join us on Saturday, March 28th, for the launch of a new workshop and online toolkit to help churches hear and respond to the biblical call to become neighbours to refugees.

Deacons
Book or eBook
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A Good Model for Diaconal Ministry

The book Not Just a Soup Kitchen shows how genuine care and friendship in times of being overwhelmed by circumstances can have lasting effects.

Deacons
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A Letter From 1939 About Deacons

76 years ago a humble deacon from Neerlandia, Alberta, clearly expressed his concerns and challenged his church to examine the importance of the role of deacons. Check out his letter...

Deacons
Book or eBook
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Friendship at the Margins

This book is a useful resource for deacons, as well as anyone else engaged in mission and/or ministry with those on the margins of society. Check it out!

Deacons
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What's Up With Deacons Going to Synod?

While simply sending deacons to meetings of Classis and Synod will not create change on its own, it is part of a new future.

DeaconsCRCNA and Synod
Discussion Topic
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Food Pantry - Walking by the Spirit

I'm sharing a story of an experience in Grace CRC's food pantry. I'd like some feedback on any aspect of this story.

Deacons
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The Gift of Presence

Although I feel excited to celebrate this God-given sacrifice, I also find myself struggling with the outpouring of material giving at this time of year. When I reflect, I wonder if present giving outweighs presence giving.

Deacons
Newsletter or Periodical
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World Renew Newsletter for Deacons

World Renew is offering an online newsletter just for deacons known as Deacons Link to which you can subscribe for free. This issue of the Deacons Network is providing readers with a copy of the November issue as a sample of what you will receive when you sign up.

Deacons
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Got Anything for Deacon's Training?

If you’re new to the role of deacon, or gathering helpful tools for those who are joining the council, you’ll find plenty of helpful resources on The Network.

Deacons
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Interest Free Loans from the Benevolence Fund?

I am curious if anyone has experience providing individuals in financial trouble with interest free loans as a ministry of benevolence. If so, could you share what you have learned from doing this? Are there legal issues I'm unaware of? I haven't found much on this topic from my cursory skimming of the handful of books I own about diaconal ministry. It seems clear to me this strategy has biblical precedent (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 23:19-20; Psalm 15:5) and fits the call to minister the mercy of Christ (Article 25c of the Church Order). Here is a hypothetical scenario: A...
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I like that direction, Bill. And if the family feels called to 'pay it forward' to help other families in a similar situation down the road, they could always voluntarily contribute to the benevolence fund over time. Not to pay back a loan, but out of gratitude to God.

Thanks for the thoughtful question, Phillip.  My personal perspective is that the church is not a bank and does not make loans.  In the situation you mention, give the family $600 and help them get on their feet now, not a year from now.  Making someone a creditor of the church will inevitably color the spiritual relationship, in a negative way.

Thanks for letting us know about this Terry. It seems like the good folks at The Chalmers Center have once again provided yet another useful resource and tool--along with the When Helping Hurts book, videos and seminars-- for those of use engaged in diaconal ministry. I look forward to learning more about it and hearing stories of how God is using Faith & Finances to reconcile and transform lives . . . lives that witness to and advance God's reign of shalom in the world.

Hi Jack,
The process for recruiting deacons (and elders) that Lesley has written about is posted on the ServiceLink website under the ENGAGE link. Included on that page is a write-up of this process as well as job descriptions for both deacons and elders that can be edited by local churches. Additionally we've posted webinars for new deacons and elders.

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.  

posted in: What About Justice?

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. 

posted in: What About Justice?

Thanks for sharing this Abigail. I'm grateful for the support that OSJ and World Renew will be providing and hope many deacons and diaconates will take advantage of these resources.

posted in: What About Justice?

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). 

posted in: What About Justice?

Hey Jack--

Perhaps I can provide my two cents.

First term, second year for myself both as a deacon and on the administrative committee. One of the most important things that I require for effective ministry is understanding who I am as a deacon and what exactly my role is in the church. One particular phrase of the charge, and perhaps a little twist is to say that we are administers of mercy. Mercy is kind of a loaded word, but perhaps that's the beauty of it-- that mercy could be a display of comfort, understanding, financial or physical help. But ultimately the bottom line is to be servants of Christ. Maybe we can call it a Micah 6:8 principle. But what we often fail to do is connect the decision to the reason. When we provide a benevolent service to a needy family, we discuss situations, numbers, and innumerable other details which block us from understanding what the decision means and why we're doing it. I think opening a meeting in prayer might lack the kind of focus that is required for deacons to get into this mindset-- you are administers of mercy.

Maybe it's as simple as opening with prayer, and then the chair looking at everyone in the eye and saying "Remember why you are here. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." It's a prayer of itself, and we all can say amen to that while serving the purpose of returning the focus to the importance of the roles of deacons in our churches.

 

Thanks for your helpful suggestions Karl. It seems to me that most--and perhaps all--of your suggestions would apply to nearly all church "business" meetings. 

I've been a deacon for a couple of years now.  The deep longing of my heart (and not only for deacons' meetings!) is for meetings that energize me and give me satisfaction.  Sometimes this happens!   It's gotta be well-planned, with good prep.  The chair needs to have thought it through ahead of time.  Important discussions need to be framed helpfully, and minor things not allowed to suck up our time. We need to produce well-discussed and thoughtful and clear decisions on important topics.  Specific tasks or assignments that are important but straightforward can be handled by one or two, then reported on succinctly, or only in writing.  Enjoying being with fellow deacons makes it really good.   This means some humor, some prayer, some Bible study. Fellowship time is clearly defined and then efficient work proceeds crisply and smartly.  And the meeting does not drag - ever.  And it's over - promptly, timely, respectfully.

The needs are endless but our God has endless resources; the wounds are deep but you serve as a healing balm; the flexibility to meet those needs is limited by your willingness to dream big; your worth is not defined by waiting tables but rather enhanced by being identified with the one who washed feet; your victory certain and calling in Him secure and “if God is for us, who can ever be against us” (Romans 8:31)? From The Deacon by Cary Holbert

posted in: The Deacon

Here is a devotional I wrote in 2013 as part of 12 months "deacons devotional" dissecting the "charge given to CRC deacons."  I serve in the ministry of Christian Service Ministries funded by Classis Chicago South.  

Month 10                                            Monthly Deacons Devotions

“Be prophetic critics of the waste, injustice, and selfishness in our society.” 

(Based on the Charge given to deacons at their installation in the Christian Reformed Church.)

What kinds of waste do we see around us?  What can we do about it?  Is our church being stewardly or wasteful?  Think about money, time, water, electricity, paper, food, etc?  

 

Are you encouraging your church to be generous?  The more generous we become, the less selfish we are.  How can we focus less on our own needs and those of our neighbors in our communities and around the world? 

 

The Christian Reformed Church website has a section devoted to the “Office of Social Justice” where they cover topics such as: 

Abortion          domestic poverty                    economic justice          global poverty

HIV/AIDS      human trafficking                   immigration                 refugees

Religious persecution                                      restorative justice

 

Visit http://www2.crcna.org/pages/justice.cfm or Visit:  www.crcna.org  

Click ministries; scroll down and click denominational ministry programs;

scroll down and find “office of social justice”

 

The Old Testament prophets speak about injustice and selfishness.  The sin and disobedience that occurred 2700 years ago still occur. 

Is. 5:7 “He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”

Is. 10:1-2 “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” 

Is. 59:11 “We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.”

Ezekiel 22:29 “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.” 

Amos 5:12, 15, 24, “You deprive the poor of justice in the courts….Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts….Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

 

What is your deaconate doing to address any of these issues?  Maybe you could recruit a few people from the congregation to be part of a social justice committee to raise the awareness in the congregation.  Maybe your church already has people in your congregation who are wrestling with poverty issues, immigration issues, abortion issues.  What can you do? Maybe you want to pick 1 area to focus on for 1 year and see what kind of response you receive from the congregation.  Is there a particular issue that you feel passionate about?  Seek God, a God of justice, for His wisdom on ways to bring justice in this world. 

 

Recommended book: 

Hybels, Bill.  The Power of a Whisper. Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2012.  

Gentlemen,  World Renew is doing an excellent job of representing the Christian Reformed Church both nationally and internationally.  World Renew is present in 38 countries and is admired by numerous NGO's for the success it has shown in fighting injustice and poverty.  Andy Ryskamp was chosen to lead the Integral Alliance due to the skills he has shown in leading World Renew.  Please go to the World Renew web-site and see for yourselves.   

I agree, Bread for the World is a helpful resource that focuses directly on waste and injustice. They were even recommended to CRC churches by Synod in 1979.

Great post! The Diakonia Task Force did a survey, available on their website I think, that affirms the hunch that in general deacons don't take a very active role in being prophetic critics of waste and injustice. I have, however, seen deacons take on this role in powerful ways. Some examples are: finding legal services for immigrants, advocating for better immigration laws, and one church that found a pro bono legal organization to help someone fight an unjust landlord. All of these examples started with an individual coming to the deacons for benevolence and were moved towards justice because the deacons thought in a creative long term way about the situation they were presented with.    

Thanks for sharing this information about BFW's Offering of Letters effort. Thanks too for doing your part in fulfilling this important part of your charge as a deacon.

Partnering with Bread for the World with their annual Offering of Letters (http://www.bread.org/ol) is one of the best ways U.S. deacons can fulfill this part of their charge. This year, for example, the focus is on reforming U.S. food aid, directly addressing waste and injustice. I'll be organizing an Offering of Letters in my church this coming Sunday, facilitating the writing of letters to members of Congress on this topic.

Bonnie, I agree with you that it takes humility to make such a shift in how we do diaconal ministry. I also believe and agree that it is essential for us to pray for it. Thank you and stay tuned!

What a wonderful and thought-provoking question. My initial response is that it takes humility to do "with" rather than "for" and that's not easy. I hope that we are ready for this necessary paradigm shift and I will pray for it.

 

Karl, thank you for sharing your thoughts and some of the challenges you have faced and continue to face as a seasoned veteran of diaconal work.  I think many of us who have been doing this work for a while definitely get your "drift" and can empathize with you . . . I know I can.

Your comments reminded me that this work of advancing God's reign by transforming lives, communities, and systems is first and foremost God's work and mission (or what my professors at Calvin Seminary referred to as the "Missio Dei" or God's Mission)  It also reminded me that this work is not something that I can or should do or try to do by myself or on my own power. I need to be doing it "with" others, empowered by God's Spirit. I don't know about anyone else, but this is something I find I need to do daily and often throughout the day. 

Any other thoughts or comments? 

I did an urban seminary internship for two years, and have been active in race and community development professionally for 45 years.  I go to an urban church that sits in the middle of a community of high needs, and we have a long standing relationship with John Perkins.   We also have a community house next door where some congregation members live to give expression to our commitment to be the presence of Jesus in the neighborhood.  We have a food pantry, and we are very concerned about the gentrification happening in our parish.   Ive talked with Lupton, and read Toxic Charity, as well as When Helping Hurts.  Ive read the Bible too.  So why is it so very hard for me to give up my old assumptions and paradigms about. helping, and why do I persist in talking the new ABCD lingo while doing things pretty much  the old way?  Why do the old habits and patterns and programs continue to shape my behaviors?   it's like my racial attitudes.  I can talk the talk, but rooting out the old junk in my heart is way harder than root canals.   Here's what 'Ive been thinking about.......   1.  I LOVE my comfort zone.   2.  being a change agent is difficult, lonely, unpopular.  3.  Changing my own behavior is way hard when I'm functioning in a context packed with traditions, opinions, policies, habits, and procedures that are in tension with radical development theory and practice.   4.  Taking neighbors seriously and listening to them and genuinely respecting and nurturing their emerging leadership takes long and demands persistance and tenacity, grace, patience, humility.   I prefer fast and thrilling.   5.  Working with a diverse and heterogeneous population is inefficient.  It's much more efficient to design a program, get it funded, and roll it out.  6.  The task is overwhelming.  Kids are being lost to the streets at a rate that far outpaces anything our little local efforts could possible address.  Even if I made a radical change in my own behavior, I'd still be making barely a dent.   7.   You get my drift.  Can you sort of get a feel for what my New Year's resolution might be?    What if following Jesus more closely outweighed all my wants and opinions?  What a journey I'd be on!   Time for transformation of my mind.  Again.   Pray for it.

 

Thanks Terry. I agree that the Chalmers Center is a very good resource for any Christian who cares about and is committed to alleviating poverty. I would also recommend and strongly encourage folks to read and study the book, When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, that grew out of their work for the Chalmers Center. 

Terrence,

Thanks so very much for sharing your experiences and insights with us! In my opinion, you are clearly beginning to view, understand, and connect with your neighbors in a way that is more accurate, helpful, empowering, and most importantly from my perspective more Christlike. If you haven't already done so, I would encourage you to check out some of the resources mentioned in my post as well as throughout this site. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Grace & Peace,

Jack

The Chalmers Center (where the authors of Helping Without Hurting work) has a Faith & Finances training and certification program that is offered once per quarter in various US locations – http://www.chalmers.org/our-work/us-church-training/. I've registered for the August/September session (one month of online preparation and two days in-person in Dayton, OH). I'm looking forward to see how this training will allow me as a deacon to better connect with my community. The following is a brief overview of the program.

 

“Chalmers trains churches and ministries in Faith & Finances, a biblically integrated financial education curriculum designed specifically for low-income people. Through Faith & Finances, churches can train the materially poor in practical money management skills and unpack how our money is part of God’s work in the world. The $350 training package equips you to walk with your low-income neighbors over time, leading to lasting transformation.”

Hi Jack, I'm very excited that you have taken on this role and am looking forward to your posts!  Boy, how often do I go to someone in need of help assuming that I have the tools they need and that they have nothing to offer...its humbling to consider how often I have done that whether the need is financial, spiritual or something else.  One of the words that comes to mind for me when I read pieces like this is empowerment...people need to be empowered and a lot of that has to do with them being able to see the resources they already have like ideas, minds, bodies etc.  But, when we go to someone in need of help with the assumption that they need us to provide all of these kinds of resources we are only contributing to their problem and the greater problem it is connected to.  Thanks for the post!

Thanks for your service Melissa. You have done an outstanding job during your time as Deacon Guide! You and your predecessor, Karl Westerhof, have both provided a wealth of timely and useful information, thoughtful and engaging posts, encouragement, guidance, and inspiration for those engaged in and committed to diaconal ministry. I look forward to--and, truth be told, am somewhat nervous about--following the example and maintaining the standard which you and Karl have set. I will almost certainly be looking to you for advice and ideas . . . so I hope you stay close and stay connected. Godspeed!

Melissa,

It's been great getting to know you and reading your blogs. Thanks for sharing your experience and perspectives with us. I hope you'll continue to give your voice to future discussions here on The Network. 

Farewell, Melissa!   On to the next phase of the journey!  Thanks for your service here!  I cannot believe it's been over two years!   OK, enough exclamation marks!  May God bless you as you continue to serve him.

Thanks for the reminder, Melissa! In whatever ministry we serve seeking "our way" should be a priority.

I was part of Thornapple Community Church, R.C.A. 18 years ago that put this idea into practice.  It worked wonderfully and I always wished the CRCs I was/am part of would adopt this idea.  It makes so much sense Biblically and practically!  

 

Diaconal ministry is done exclusively by deacons on behalf of the church.

Mary! Thanks for sharing.  We rejoice for these visionary kingdom leaders!  May your community continue to be blessed by Art, and others like him!

posted in: Deacon People

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and, obviously, thought provoking post. I love the video too and plan to share it as well. Do Justice!

 

Hello

We have a Deacon star at our church in Peterborough Ontario. Art Heimstra, our chair. He is an absolute gem. He facilitates all the work of our deaconate very well. He is approachable to all comers and has an uncanny ear to the ground to hear all kinds of needs out there in the church and community, no one is afraid or intimidated to tell him about a need. 

He then brings them sensitively to our group, and helps deal with them effectively in a loving God-centered way! As VISA would say- PRICELESS!!

To have such a servant in our midst is truely inspiring! I am blessed to be mentored in this way as is everyone else!

 

 

posted in: Deacon People

No one wants universal justice. If we did then the universal congregational prayer would be for Jesus to return and make everything right/just. The vast majority of congregational prayers are about half way measures and personal new deals of the cards. Prayers that God will change history to meet our requests boggle my mind.

What we want is justice applied to other people and mercy applied to ourselves. If Christians in the US wanted to be obervers of the law which goes hand in hand with the concept of justice then the accident rate on the freeways would at the least be cut in half. 

 

I always wonder why the plight of babies in the womb is often overlooked. It is the biggest human atrocity the world has ever known. 42 million pre-born babies are killed worldwide every year. Many of those right around us! From conception onward, these are human beings - just at a different stage in life. Human rights should start when human life starts! Please let's not forget about the unborn (pre-born)! Diaconal ministries can help by supporting Pro-life and Right to Life groups. With knowledge comes responsibility.
In our Contemporary Confession 'Our World Belongs To God' we confess:

"Life is God’s gift to us,
and we are called to foster
the well-being of all the living,
protecting from harm
the unborn and the weak,
the poor and the vulnerable."

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We still have two collection's in our morning service. One (budget) at our evening service. With input from our congregation, pastors and other outside requests, the Deacons research and discuss.all inputs to determine  second offering funds.

Some of our members also will specify on their checks what it's for (Gen Fund, Benevillance, Tuition etc.) and that is where it gets deposited.

As to Envelopes, that would be quite time consumming for the deacons. So far as I can tell at our monthly meetings, the two (2) collection policy we have works very well..Prior to the collection a Deacon is called to the pulpit to offer prayer and  explain the collection. .

 

I say this often - God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason - He wants us to listen more than speak. Trying to "fix" someone goes way outside our role as ministers of God's love and grace. The Gospel says that only Jesus can truly "fix" anyone - and that includes each one of us - we're in this together.

Another big problem is when the person you've shared with trys to fix you.

Excellent post - THANK YOU!

It's important to remember that a relationship with a person is never one-on-one; because the Lord is also present. Our relationships are sacred. Life stories are precious. When someone shares with you, consider it a precious gift and a sacred trust. It's always a good idea to get permission before sharing anything, any part of another person's story. We must follow Christ's example and consider the interest of others before our own interests (see Philippians 2).

As a licensed social worker, I have learned that an exception to the rule of confidentiality occurs when someone is in imminent danger of harm to themself or to others, then a decision must be made regarding sharing information. It's also good to let people know that up front, if possible. "If I believe that you are a danger to yourself or to others, this conversation will not be confidential, I will seek help - please consider that as you decide what to share with me in confidence during our time together".

I think most of us would agree that our first reponsibility is to our marriages and our children.  However, when our parents reach their later years and develop health issues and deficits, there is no doubt that they need help as well, and families need to stretch to help them out, as it should be.  But we as their church family can play an important role to help and support.  We can visit the seniors if they are lonely; we can take them for a drive or for coffee if they need an outing; we can even invite them to our own homes if they need a change of scenery.  But most of all, we can be confidantes, sounding boards, prayer partners and  encouragers for those who are ensconced in the 'sandwich generation'.  Where the need is particularly great, consider setting up a GLUE team (see www.crcna.org/pages/disability_care.cfm) to make sure no one suffers from burnout.  We need to encourage those in the sandwich generation to make sure they take time for themselves and their families.  If we all work together in this, we can be a great blessing to each other, and we will have done what Jesus would have us do.

From personal experience, I've taken advantage of the resources provided by my employer's Employee Assistance Program. Reminding people that resources may be available from their employer is a start. Encouragement to be part of a small group in the local church is also invaluable.

encouraging piece! Thanks!

 

 

Thank you, Melissa! I have said before that we confuse hospitality with hosting, thinking that we must be the perfect host (in a perfect house with a perfect meal attended by perfect children...) when what's needed is welcoming hospitality. We'll bless people more with an open door than a perfect home. ("...Perfect home" just struck me as an oxymoran as I typed it.)
Blessings!
Stan

Just thought I'd share our practice. We have one worship service each Sunday and two offerings. The first offering is for the "general fund" which goes towards the church budget. (Our church budget includes denominational and classical ministry shares, so those are not collected separately.)

The second offering is a schedule set by our deacons. They recently looked at this from a whole-year perspective and identified a plan about how to allocate the second offerings. These offerings support things like (not a complete list): local community organizations, specific missionaries, a few ministries of our congregation, CRWM generally, Home Missions and World Renew as well as an offering once per month for tuition aid which provides assistance with Christian school tuition for families on a need basis. Sometimes an offering is rescheduled so our congregation has opportunity to respond to a timely need like disaster relief.

How about:

1. Money is the currency of charity

2. Once a Deacon then an Elder

3. Benevolence is for members of the congregation

4. Only Deacons can make decisions about benevolence disbursements

5. A Deacon visit is an annual event.

6. Deacons have to make widow/widower visits

7. A deacons business meeting means someone has asked the church for charity. 

8. No deacon should make a visit alone

9. Its not a Deacons visit if there is no deacon on the visit

10. Deacons don't run programs

11. Stewardship is the Deacons business

12. If the church is not meeting budget, the deacons aren't doing their job.

and so many more...

 

1. Yes.

2. Another great question! The church I grew up in made ministry shares "collection only" at the time of the Calvin College evolution debate in the 80s/90s so that people didn't have to support Calvin through their ministry shares. I always wondered how many other churches did the same.

3. Yet another great question (this topic would make a great denominational survey . . . although I suppose churches are sort of surveyed out). The church I attend now has people go up and bring their own offerings as part of worship. 

Wendy, as read the comments I'm wondering whether the question being asked needs some clarification:

1. Do you mean by special collections.... Those collections historically identified as second collections in contrast to collections for the church budget; and

2. When individuals speak of the church budget... Are ministry shares still built into the congregational budget or have they been assigned as a special collection.

3. As a matter of personal interest... Is it still part of the liturgy to have the deacons bring these gifts forward to the Lord in the worship service in prayer?

On average, we have 2 general fund or ministry funding offerings a month. well, then we also have one that is for our building debt, so i suppose that doesn't count either. so that leaves one per month in the morning and then all the evening offerings as  special offerings- ministries of local or broader interest. This became the norm about 2 1/2 or 3 years ago when the budgets and the offerings weren't quite meeting at the same point anymore. And we're still dealing with that issue as well. 

 

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