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A Little Hermenuetical Guidance...

I have a Greek/English Interlinear Testament. This is not to say I know Greek- I don't. In fact that's largely the purpose of this post. Reading through Chapter Three of 1 Timothy, I encountered verse 11. Under the Greek word appears the word "women" followed by the word "deaconesses" in straight brackets. Is this an accurate interpretation of this Greek word? Is this concluded by the translaters because of the nature of the rest of the section?
Deacons
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Are You One Of The 300?

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!)

Deacons
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Simply Simple Encouragement

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.

Deacons
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The Offering As Worship In An Electronic Age

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?

Deacons
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Deacon Training Curriculum - Is It A Good Idea?

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!

Deacons
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Be A Champion!

Deacons have good days, so-so days and not-so-good days. Yes, we’re human. Being a leader comes with a weight. Having a mentor to share successes and struggles with can make the difference between despair and delight. So I wonder... are you a champion?

Deacons
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Working For The Church While Your Family Dies

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”?

Deacons
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Day of Service: Hands/Feet of Jesus

ServiceLink is helping to coordinate and promote ‘Day of Service: be the hands of feet of Jesus’ as a day when Christian Reformed churches join in with a national campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The goal is to have more than 100 CRCs participate with acts of service to their community. What are some ways your church has been able to have a truly effective impact through acts of community service – we’d love to be able to share your success stories with others who are looking for ideas. Also, does your congregation plan to participate in this nation-wide program by taking part...
DeaconsPastors
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Partnering Well

We should give thanks to God for partners in ministry. As drought and famine ravage East Africa we are able to offer our support through CRWRC. It is imperative that deacons utilize the resources already in existence and continue to foster these relationships.

Deacons
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Sharing Our Perpetual Hope

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 

Deacons
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Your Role: Is It Too Much To Handle?

Have you ever had one of those days when you just want to throw in the towel and yell "ENOUGH - I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!"?  Many of us have gone through that.  How is it possible to continue when you feel there is nothing left to give?

Deacons
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The Power Of Being Present

Everything in our being craves shalom. This is why when we see people hurting, we want them to be free of their pain. We know it's not right. It's not what God intended. So, we try to rescue them, perhaps we even try to be their saviour... but is that what we're called to?

Deacons
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New Guide Takes The Stage

The lights dim, a hush falls over the crowd, anticipation builds for the grand unveiling of… A NEW GUIDE FOR THE DEACONS NETWORK. Everyone waits, barely wanting to take a breath. The curtain lifts. It’s...

Deacons
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Over To You, Melissa!

What does it look like from THAT perspective?   You're going to find out.  The new deacon guide - it's a generational thing!

Deacons
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Pentecost! Synod! Deacon!

Pentecost!  Synod!  These words go together – or they ought to!   And CHURCH, and INCARNATION.   And without the Spirit, what would incarnation be?  What could be more incarnational than...

Deacons
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The Hand-Off

When it's transition time on the church council, how can it be as smooth and as affirming as possible?    Relief for the tired retirees and honor for the incoming new members are just not adequate marks of transition! What does your council do to make transitions healthy and as pleasant as possible?

Deacons
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Alive? Welcome to Council!

It seems like there is a leadership crisis in many of our churches, specifically relating to our council roles of deacon and elder. Many congregations are struggling to find individuals who are able or willing to step into these roles. What’s going on? Why is this happening?

Deacons
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Can You Spell Stability?

Some of us thrive on turmoil, unanswered questions, and unclear directions.   Most of us don't.  How can we be effective leaders in our respective roles when our own anxieties are snapping at our heels?  

Deacons
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Diakonia Remixed

"Diaconia Remixed" is a new task force to revitalize and rethink the role of deacons in the Christian Reformed Church. Can you help us as we get started?

Deacons
Q&A
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What should be included in a list of best practices for deacons?

One of the things that has stumped me as a Deacon is trying to translate the broad descriptions of the office of Deacon into practical tasks that will support that vision. I realize that the "to do" list of a deacon will vary quite a bit depending on each churches culture, needs and community. I also realize that it would probably be impossible to put all of the work of a deacon on a checklist, but that's the kind of thing that helps me take action instead of just wondering what kind of action to take. If you are an active or retired deacon, what kinds of things do you do on a regular basis...
Deacons
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When Deacons Shine

Unemployment! Can deacons help? In this economy, and in many communities, our churches come in contact with job seekers. What can deacons do?  The church is not an employment agency, but deacons can be a powerful resource to support discouraged job seekers...

Deacons
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Is it right for the congregation to vote on the annual church budget?

Does your church congregation vote on the annual church budget? Church Order is really vague and church practice seems to be extremily diverse. If your congregation votes on the budget how do they become familiar enough with it to "own" it. Thanks..
Deacons
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Tired Deacons

"...the more we pursued spiritual formation, the more we were convinced that Christlike people intentionally reach out to those who are ignored, forgotten and marginalized....  We make room for them... because this is what Jesus did."

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Easter Deacons

"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

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A wise analysis on social etiquette that is tough for me too.  Thanks Karl

Ken

Thanks, I needed that blessing!  This has been a hard year for us and Thanksgiving Day was a day for BOTH thanking our faithful God AND grieving a lot.   God bless you too, my friend!

Hi Karl, Kris Rocke has a interesting take on what isa healthy relationship. Without  reading his material other than what you provided Karl, I can't quite understand what he is saying. I've never been to Heaven, but I consider my relationship with God to be intimate. Any relationship that occurs while helping people for the right reason, cannot be called false. It may not be intimate to you but may be the first time for them. I can't understand Kris Rocke's Spiritual logic. Hey Karl thanks for bringing thia subject up, I sure I could be wrong on his intent.  Thanks Karl

Ken

posted in: Relationships

Dear Karl,  Your there!   God bless you my freind.

Thanks, Ken You have a perspective I don't have.   Your comment that your experience actually opened up a whole new realm of blessings shows a "kingdom perspective" I think.  The life of a disciple may be very difficult, and yet the way God works with us is to show us who he is in and through trials and suffering.   No one "chooses" to suffer, yet we "choose" to trust God no matter what.  We "choose" his will for us.  Do I dare to say that suffering enriches us?  Yes, because that is such a clear teaching in Scripture.  Yet I think it is actually God's presence in the suffering, and the work of the Spirit in and through it is what enriches us.  It's a kind of mystery.  We don't ask for it, but we rejoice in it.   and He uses it to bless us.

I'm trying to reflect on my own experience here, in the light of your testimony.   I'm still a child at this, but I think that understanding this is a part of what it means to bear one another's burdens, and a part of what it means to be a true servant with and for those who suffer.   Compassion... to suffer WITH.  

What do you think?  

Karl, You are so correct. It should be enough to keep us humble knowing what Jesus did for us and how we as Paul would say don't ever do as we should. That's why it so important for believers to understand the magnitude of our Gospel mission.

 Thanks for your thoughts and glory be to God   Ken

Karl, Being disabled with physical and mental illness of which I am both, is not a calamity if the social, educational and economic conditions are stable. I'm not oppressed. What's happened to me has openned a whole new realm of blessings. I got to actaully got to particpate in childrens lives in a way that my type A life before would have missed. Anyway I think things that we were refering to are more nuanced than the author described. Don't get me wrong it is not easy with or without faith in Jesus. 

Ken, I would think that physical and mental hardships would be classified usually under the heading "calamity" - for the purposes of Keller's analysis.   Along the same lines, I think Keller would see family history, education and social environmental factors as EITHER oppression, OR calamity, or both.  Of course, human (irr)responsibility could be involved as well, depending on the  circumstances, for example in fetal alcohol syndrome, surely we'd say it's a calamity, and also the result of irresponsible behavior / decisions by the mother.

 Hi Karl,

I agree with Henry Bosch and wonder too why  not someone from Diaconal Ministries Canada was invited to be part of the Tack Force on Deacons. Diaconal Ministries Canada grew from the inital efforts of the All Ontario Diaconal Conference and has offered and continues to turn over new leaves in spiritual and  positive leadership  promoting diaconal ministry. I sincerely hope that the taskforce will seek input from the present Diaconal Ministries Canada staff.

I pray the taskforce much wisdom as they address and deliberate the role and gifts of the deacons at the church and major assemblies.

Peter.

If you will observe the kind of society that we have right now,you'll see that we are indeed in great catastrophe.There are many crisis that we encounter and that truly put us in danger that's why the progress and development of our country is slow.Many people from different countries suffer from hunger and deep poverty.I told myself that if I can help them,I will do the best that I can to extend my help to those who are in need.Some people labeled hunger as  food insecurity.I hope that we'll be able to help others even in our own little way.

Karl, I have to disagree with author on what causes poverty. He left out physical and mental hardships that are huge factor. Family history, education and local social enviroment are also factors. You don't have to worry about sheilding them from their consequences because they are already are experiencing their consequences. I think the author has agenda if your critic is descriptive of this book. His concepts are true to a subset of poverty with poor life skills due to narrsistic behavior.

A brief review of Tim Keller's book Ministries of Mercy (along with other books on the topic of wholistic ministry for your church) can be found at Hearts & Minds Books .

Yes, usually at the classical level.  Some classes have deaconal coordinators or coaches, and they could help explore how to create or recreate an assembly.   OR, a church could write to the classical  interim committee to request that this be considered.   Some thought will need to be given to how to make this fresh since it's an old idea, and classical reactions could easily be, "we used to  do that, but we don't anymore" and then give it no more time.  

There are deacons' conferences that still exist, though in quite different form, for example in Kalamazoo, MI. http://www.kazoodc.org/

Another good resource would be the Deacons Ministry Conference in Canada.  

My church is on a September to August fiscal year.

On the positive side, most of our ministry program changes are implemented in the fall. So this allows us to budget for a full 'ministry year'.

On the downside, it makes for a lot of budget meetings in the summer. As I discovered when I got on council :-)

I have to believe almost all churches are on a calendar year. I don't see any advantage to changing it. It would be some what of a reconcliling  hassle for the treasurer- to me simple is usually best...

Yep

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

It's true that elders are often weathered deacons.  However, if the offices are truly equal there could also be deacons who are weathered elders.

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

What would it take to get the assemblies rolling again? Were they at the classis level?  Thanks They sound usefull.

A good leader like Jesus did delegate the Gospel to humans to spread the good news, it makes since to me to follow his pattern of leadership to be effective.  Thanks Karl for the thoughts

I think you are right that our first responsibility  is to those with whom we have direct relationships.  And that's the beginning.

God's blessings are always for the purpose of equipping us to bless others.   The deacon needs to see that her or his responsibility begins with motivating and equipping God's people to participate, to share in serving the needs of others.  I think deacons help God's people to know the joy of gifting each other so that together they can gift the world.

When we see this inter-connection between serving and equipping and involving the family, and the "external mission", and stewardship, we are on our way to a very "wholistic" understanding of what it means to be a deacon.  The responsibility of the deacon is to enable the family of God to join in to serve, to give, to participate in mission.  In this important sense deacons are servant leaders.   The more people are involved with the deacons in stewarding their gifts, and making them available to the congregation's mission, the more the work of the deacon is effective.

Surprising, yes, I agree.  I think I'm right in observing that there is also no one from the Communities First Association, which is CRWRC's partner organization for working with deacons in the US.    I suspect that choosing no one from either of these entities might be purposeful.  Let's see if anyone can shed light on this for us.   

What can God's people offer each other when there is deep deep pain? Dr. Joel C. Hunter writes in the November, 2010 Sojourners about the pain of losing his five year old grand daughter to cancer.  He writes: "It is startling to experience how present God was (and still is) through those whom God sent to love and encourage us."  He suggests that we can learn about a new kind of power - the power of compassion.  Dr Hunter concludes:  "If you have ever wondered if acts of kindness really make a difference....  Compassion is never wasted.  It has the power to give us hope, but also somehow to remind us that goodness and mercy do follow us all the days of our lives and that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

posted in: mercy

Hi Karl,

I agree that there is healthy diversity on the task force team. I'm just a little suprised that Diaconal Ministries Canada - resourcing and encouraging deacons for over 50 years - has no staff representation on the "team"!

henry

We are all called to be deacons as a fruit of our faith. Remember in Jesus's church a deacon is a soldier in the battle for hearts and souls. The elder is a weathered deacon.

I hope I didn't offend anybody but it's quite clear in the Scripture and my heart. Elders are a treasure of different type and should be known for their wisdom and willing to open up and share their wisdom.  

I know those aren't explained this way  but that is what I feel.

Thanks

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

It's true, when you are completely broken to the point you need Jesus to be tangible and Holy Spirits wisdom.Your faith becomes child like in that every thing loses nuance and you live hour to hour. All of sudden your in complete peace( or Shalom) and bubbling with wisdom. You want to share joy but they have to understand the suffering that seems to be a constant companion or motivation. 

thanks,  Ken

posted in: God's Love

Dear Karl, As a layman, I was always reminded that our first ministry is to our family. Should our Deacons have the same approach with the church body being our family? I thinf the Deacons should start there, then incorporate the people to help the Deacons with their external mission. Deacons should be leaders with help of people in the church. Get everyone involved for it will instill the sense of giving to the people.  I think church budgets would benifit because people would see their own blessings in a new light.

 

Here are the typical minutes of a Diaconal Conference Board meeting. I removed / replaced most names for privacy reasons.

NORTHERN ALBERTA DIACONAL CONFERENCE

OF THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH

 

Minutes of the board meeting held January 21, 2010 at Ebenezer CRC, Leduc, AB

Present: Deacon, Pastoral Advisor, West End; Deacon, First-Edmonton; CRWRC Rep, Deacon, Covenant-Edmonton; Refugee Coordinator, Fellowship; Deacon, Trinity; Deacon,NADC Admin, Ottewell; NADC Exec, Deacon Bethel-Lacombe; Deacon, NADC Exec, Ebenezer; NADC Exec, Neerlandia; DMC/NADC staff, Deacon, Inglewood; Deacon, DMC Rep, Woodynook; DMD, Wolf Creek;

Absent with notice: 3

*Denotes Action Required

1.       OPENING: Chair read from II Kings 4:9, noting that our lives are a powerful witness, then opened with prayer.

2.       AGENDA: was approved with one addition

3.       INTRODUCTIONS: Self introductions were made

4.       MINUTES: The minutes of Sept 10/09 were received as information

5.       NADC EXECUTIVE: There are two openings for members of Executive. If you are interested, or know anyone who might be, please let Henry, or any Executive member know.  Interested persons need not be serving deacons, but must have a passion for diaconal work. It is necessary to fill these positions in order to keep the NADC functioning, which is very important to the ongoing success of the various projects NADC undertakes, as well as communication and support among the deacons.

6.       TREASURER'S REPORT: DMC/NADC staff reported that the final quarter report was received from the Classical Treasurer (attached), and indicated that it contained no surprises.    

7.       CRWRC:

·         CRWRC Rep distributed a letter from Henrietta Hunse regarding relief work in Haiti. CRWRC's work will be focused in Leogane.  He noted that donations can be made for immediate relief, which will be matched by the Canadian government 1-1;  or for development work, which may be matched 2-1; or donations can be designated to where most needed. He stressed that the website is updated regularly, so for most recent information, go to www.crwrc.org.  He noted that a powerpoint presentation and bulletin insert are available from the website.

·         He noted that 2009 was not good financially for CRWRC, with aid to all countries being cut by 10-15%, and 10 staff persons were laid off, with a 20% pay cut for remaining staff. This could result in some strain on CRWRC's relations with CIDA, if confidence is eroded.

·         the AIDS awareness campaign went very well.

·         Thanks for ongoing support of CRWRC!

8.       DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

·         NADC Staff reported that the Day of Encouragement went well, registrations were up a bit, the inclusion of the youth workshops was very well received, and evaluations indicated that the day was a blessing for those who attended.

·         Next DOE:  Deacon asked if we could invite each church in Alberta South, as their DOE was cancelled. The answer is yes, and this will be taken up in the planning committee, which is in the process of being formulated. This suggestion may come back to the Board for approval at the May meeting. NADC Staff reported that Ron DeVries, Youth Ministry Consultant for Classis Alberta N. would like to be involved in the planning, and it would be good to have Home Missions representation as well.

9.       DIACONAL MINISTRY DEVELOPERS:

·         DMD has been very busy with new deacon workshops, which she did at the DOE and in several  churches. She will be doing a circle of chairs soon. She just returned from a DMD gathering in Burlington.

·         NADC Staff said that the Edmonton area churches can call DMD for any training, or to invite him to your deacon meetings. He is also planning a circle of chairs meeting soon.

10.   DIACONAL MINISTRIES CANADA (DMC): DMC board and Operation Manna meetings are scheduled for the near future. DMC has also experienced some financial constraints, as income from above- ministry- share-offerings is down.  Operation Manna (OM) funding through offerings experienced a decline which resulted in a reduction of funding to the OM projects. DMC staff and the OM committee  have initiated a review of the OM program, including income streams.

11.   REFUGEE COORDINATOR REPORT:

·         REf Coor reported January 6/10 CRC news had an article on how CRCNA helps refugees. Rose Dekker made sure Bethel CRC (Edm) family and existing filings by Fellowship, West End, Maranatha and St Albert were mentioned.

·         CRWRC's web page on Refugee Settlement now contains links to other sites.

·         Deacon (West End) contacted Ref Coor. She works for Brendan Institution specializing in helping professionals with post secondary degrees seeking suitable job placement and career paths.

·         NADC Staff distributed a letter from Rose Dekker and Rebecca Walker, CRWRC Refugee staff (attached).

12.   CONSULTANT'S REPORT:

·         NADC Staff distributed his report (attached) and commented on some hi-lites:  Jose Ramon's visit; church planting conference in Calgary with Michael Frost who emphasized that God is a sending God, sent His word to create, sent his Son to save, sent the Holy Spirit to empower, and sends us to do His work.

·         DANC Staff reiterated that it is important to keep the Conference (NADC) alive, as others have folded, but if  we see benefit in having the Conference, we must work to keep it going. There are 4 areas of focus: three  Board meetings per year; Honduras Water Project; the Kenya Project ;  and the NADC office(contact point/dissemination of information/administration of other areas).

13.   STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEES: Rep asked if other churches have them, and suggested a circle of chairs meeting combined with stewardship committee members. He is interested in getting a dialog going among churches who have a stewardship committee and possibly invite guest speakers, so if your church has one, could you* please get a member of your stewardship committee to contact Norm at norace@xplorenet.com.

14.   KAREN REFUGEES: NADC Staff advised that he received a call from CRC member, who said there are lots of Karen refugees who would like their kids to go to the Christian school, but cannot afford the extra fees.  Maranatha CRC is working on a proposal to provide some financial assistance to these families. This should be ready to be presented at the May meeting.

15.   KENYA PROJECT: NADC staff thanked the churches for continuing to take offerings, and advised that some funds were released to a former partner on an emergency basis during the drought. They were also able to offer some assistance to a reconciliation process after tribal clashes, as well as some health assistance. The mobile clinic is busy with immunizations, clinics, etc. The Participatory Rural Assessment has gone well.

16.   HONDURAS WATER PROJECT:  bulletin announcements have gone out for our 16th water project. NADC Staff advised that costs have increased, and it would be good to have a better balance between the cost to get the team there and what is spent on the project. Project costs are what offerings are used for. If we did not support the projects, they would not happen. Deacon moved that NADC increase our financial support to $1200 per person (from $1000) to a maximum of 12 people (or $14,400). CRWRC Rep seconded the motion, and it was carried. For clarity, the purpose of the increase is not to reduce what team members have to pay in, but to increase what is contributed to project costs.

17.   SHARING & CARING:  A time  of round table sharing was enjoyed by all. Details of the concerns, joys, happenings will be published in the next Network News.

18.   CLOSING: pastoral Advisor closed the meeting with prayer.

Next Board Meeting: 7:30 on Thursday, May 6, 2010 in Ebenezer CRC, Leduc 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway.            ~Mary C. Crowley                 

great idea! I know friends who are expecting would love this, so I'm not sure this really fits under "deacons."

Karl or aguilla1,

Would you have examples of Diaconal Conference agendas, speakers, topics, etc...that would be helpful in setting up a conference?  I think that one existed in our classis back in the 80s but ceased operating some time ago.  No idea where the information would even be found.  Do you meet monthly or quarterly?

the Diaconal Conference for Alberta North Classis meets just outside Edmonton Alberta and deacons within a two hour drive usually makes the meetings. That does exclude a few churches to the north of us within 6 hours drive.  Having both city and rural based deacons at the same meeting is very helpful. We can learn from each other!

I would tend to agree with these three.  We as deacons are striving this year to become more connected with our congregation though direct contact, being available and being visible.  This is something that we have identified as being very important in plugging into our role as leaders in all facets of stewardship.

Also, I am very glad to see the comment on an "eye for gifts".  There are so many resources other than financial available in the church.  Its nice to provide benevolent funds to a widow that has a flooded basement, but how much better is it to connect that person with a church member who is an electrician or contractor, and a youth small group willing to do cleanup, and an organized member to help with planning.  What a vibrant church we could have if we all worked together and made these connections in this way!  So we are striving to identify not only the needs in our congregation and community, but the resources available to help meet those needs.  Especially during times of economic difficulty.

Finally, enough cannot be said about prayer.  None of these good or great deacon attributes are effective without His support. 

Thanks Karl!

 

-matt bulthuis, deacon

Faith CRC

Jeff, your comment is right on ....  yes, diaconal work is SO contextual (or should be)!  That's a key point, and yes, the variety of communities and congregational settings makes it hard to get on the same page.  I wonder how others have handled this.

I wish so hard that congregations could support each other more in diaconal work, learn together, and even when appropriate develop cooperative ministry.   Yet sometimes it's even hard to get folks from the same congregation on the same page!

This is a great opportunity for me to say that there is another dimension of The Network being developed - networks of regional resources IN REGIONS where CRC congregations are present.   This dimension is intended to complement and further expand the networking that is online.  We are experimenting in a half dozen regions, to see if we can instigate some inter-congregational networking where that is not happening and where it would be helpful.   Your comment on how diversity in congregational settings makes that hard reminds me that sometimes what we might need is "affinity" networks, not just geographical ones.  How might your congregation, for example, find others who are in similar circumstances and have similar challenges and opportunities?  And how might you get in touch for encouragement, learning, intercession, and the like?   What do you think?   Could I be helpful in that, wearing my Network Developer hat?

But wouldn't you say that diaconal conferences work best in a classis where the churches are in pretty close proximity to each other?  My classis encompasses an entire state.  Other classes are even larger, stretching over more than one state.  And since diaconal work is so contextual, it's hard to get people together on the same page, harder when some work in urban and some in rural areas. 

I cannot imagine your loss or spiritual battles you would  be requred to fight. I see Jesus has provided you divine perspective about who Sarah is and her inspired wonderful approach to life and death. You will be with her again.

God Bless you for honoring me with Your story. It speaks like any sermon and blesses us who can relate. Thanks Karl

kelib, you DID give me a hug with your note!  Thanks!   Humble loving actions are at the heart of the Christian life, and you nailed it.  LOVE is the greatest of these!!   

One year ago on November 1 my 38 year old daughter went to be with Jesus in heaven.  She had leukemia.  Oh how we miss her.  She was beautiful inside and out with a loving nature.  She had a sharp tongue too, but always admitted it and asked for forgiveness.   sometimes the sharpness was both painful and funny.

Why do I share this here?  Because when I think of her life, I see so clearly that her daily walk was a humble one, a loving one.  Not dramatic, not spectacular, not outstanding in any way.  She used to say, "I love my life."   And it was a simple life.  She learned, especially in her 21 month journey with leukemia, to love the blessings she experienced in every day ways.  She loved looking out of the hospital window at fall colors.  She arranged her room to be "homey".  She took great joy in her cats whenever she got to be at home with them.  And she loved her husband and her friends and her parents.

I celebrate Sarah's life.  I celebrate the presence of God's grace in her - her faith, her dignity, her unshakable steadiness, her trust that her life was in God's hands.  These are the "eternal verities" , kelib, and she "got it"; you get it too. My wife has a great gift of contentment.  I'm learning it - slowly.   I pray that the daily reminders of God's goodness that we experience in the "dailiness" of our lives will become more and more visible to us, and that we will continue to bless each other by our faithful testimony to his steadfast love, which endures forever!

Thanks!  Yes and Amen.  The kind of Deacons Conference you describe is wonderful for training,encouragement, spiritual growth, and collaboration.  I also agree that deacons belong at classis and synod.  I'm very hopeful that the newly named deacons' task force will address this issue.  I'll have more news about that as soon as its membership is all confirmed and the news is public.   The assignment from synod gives us all a great opportunity to think in fresh ways about the office and role of the deacon.  

A few observations:

Some classis have "Diaconal Conferences where deacons get together 3 or 4 times a year to share their work and to network, discussing common areas and at times develop projects shared among many churches. Training for new deacons is also an ongoing task.

At the same time, deaconal concerns are rarely dealt with at classis/synod with many deacons present. Discussions can easily go off track. 

In order to balance discussions and deliberations, many people are trying to figure out how to increase deaconal representation at Classis and Synod without increasing delegate count by 33% which would make decision making even more cumbersome and frustrating.

If deacons feel isolated, unappreciated and untrained, perhaps the first attempt to correct this is to establish a local Diaconal Conference.

 

Thanks Karl, You are so correct. I'm totolly broken, sick, lonely and totally reliant on Jesus and his promises. God prodded me to become  humble and open so he can use me. It's been exciting and heartbreaking to be in God's service. Karl You are the first person to read between my poorly chosen words and dubious methods to see what God has placed on my heart. I could hug you! This isn't about me per se but about what the Jesus told us to due and how you can accomplish this with being humble and acting out of Love.  My christian brothers, we so easily trust knowledge at the expense of God's wisdom as explained by Jesus, Love God above all else(including religiousness) and Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus made this summary of law distinctly simple. 

Thanks Karl, I have a favor to ask. Could you please continue push these obervations here. I'm to ill equiped to represent God the way He should be. God has told me that his grace is  a enough for any of us and there are no small parts in his Kingdom building!   God bless you

Dear kelib,

You are certainly right that people are not living for the BOT decision!  I know that there is pain that makes BOT decisions seem silly and irrelevant.   I know it's a time of joblessness, and loneliness, and illness, and being without insurance,and wondering whether anyone cares.  I know that there are plenty of people in our world who couldn't care less what the decision makers in the CRC do or don't do.

You, kelib, know about pain.   I read between the lines and I hear your heart.   You are hurting and the BOT decisions seem useless.   Where is comfort ?  Where is real mercy?

kelib, when you open your heart just a little bit, and let the hurting show, you take a big risk.  You  know that.  You risk being misunderstood, and you risk rejection.  You risk more pain.   I'm sorry that is true.   At the same time, I don't know how you can find mercy and friendship and healing unless you DO take the risk.  God's people are called to be a healing community, a community of love and grace and mercy.  I pray that may be your experience, and I pray that you won't pull back when the pain is great.  May you find the kind of deacons who will come around you with arms of love in the name of Jesus.   No one deserves less than that, and everyone has a need for that, no matter how much it may look like we have our lives all  together.

Amen

posted in: mercy

Have them talk to the members one on one with humble hearts and a open minds. You will be busy for years. I'm being serious!

Maybe not the BOT decision specifically, but I do hear from many in diaconal work who are wondering what will happen, how we can transform the office of deacon to be more effective and seen as more than a precursor to becoming an elder someday. How can we make deacons of everyone in the church, not just those with the official title? We are all called to such ministry.

I hear what you're saying, kelib.

But that's the wonderful thing about God.  He uses ordinary people in the process.   From Nathan saying "You are the man", to a tired old shepherd crying "Let my people go!" to a Samaritan walking by,  he brings us into the story and gives us the incredible dignity of being used as his instruments.  Ordinary people.  Extraordinary God.  Amen?

posted in: mercy

I know you guys mean well, but restoration is in Gods hands and timing. The other thing about mercy. I think of mercy as empathy to the piont of action.

posted in: mercy

I sorry, but I think most people's lives consist of more than thinking about "The Bot Decision ".

Hi, Kelib, I think your question refers to Jeff's comments about  mercy having a goal of not just relief but of restoration.  I'm sure Jeff will want to respond to you, but in the mean time I wanted to say something as well.   Our world is broken by sin, and the effects of that are deep.  The breaks are bad.   Sometimes restoration can be only partial, or even totally impossible.  What to do?

I think that showing mercy can sometimes be a healing practice even though restoration as we hoped and prayed doesn't happen.   God's mercy, as shown by and through his people, can accomplish surprising things - that is a matter of trust!  So it's a sign of the Kingdom, and those to whom it is shown can read it whether or not it accomplishes "restoration" as we envisioned it.

posted in: mercy

What would you do if restoation is not likely?

posted in: mercy

The previous post on the operationsharing foodbank was by John KleinGeltink.    I posted it for him, but I neglected to include his name.  Very sorry, John!

Good thoughts.  I will forward this to my fellow deacons.

Excellent book.  Stops the enabling approach - gets at the problem approach and stops the "give" just because we think that is the answer to poverty and problems.

Judy De Wit

posted in: Great Resource

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