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Persuasive Listening

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.

Deacons
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Bringing Up the Hard Stuff

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 

Deacons
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Signs That God's At Work

God seems to be offering our congregation a remarkable set of exciting opportunities in the past year.  It's certainly not that we've been working so hard to cultivate this particular set of events!

Deacons
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8 Deacon Self Assessment Questions

Want a handy way to run a pre-flight check before serving as a deacon? Want to start a good discussion with fellow deacons? Want to have a discussion at deacons' meeting about "how we're doing"? Here are a few thought-provoking questions!

Deacons
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Deacons Who Tell Stories

When we relate the Jesus stories to our economic behavior, we do not find obvious and easy applications.  And so we act as a community of discernment - testing our answers and our applications together.   We need each other for this vital task.

Deacons
Q&A
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What guidelines should a church have for helping those in need?

Our church receives a lot of requests for assistance. We regularly make food dishes and food and gas vouchers available. We make funds available to help pay bills. The requests for assistance come for our members, friends/neighbours of our members and from those outside our church. As deacons, we sometimes struggle with regard to how to distribute the funds collected in ways that maintain our accountability to the congregation. We currently have some 'understood' guidelines in terms of funds distribution but nothing in writing. There must be churches that have written guidelines - we would...
Deacons
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The Moment Is Now! CARPE DEACON!

What if deacons across the denomination began to brainstorm and dialog together about how to strengthen the office of deacon?  What if we blew down the mail box of the deacon task force with great ideas, incisive questions, and vivid stories?  

Deacons
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The DEBT! The BUDGET! The POOR! The CHURCH!

I have Jesus-following friends who disagree – strongly – about what the national budget should look like.  I have conflicting convictions within myself! But does it have anything to do with deacons?

Deacons
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Top 6 Reasons Why It's Good to be a Deacon NOW

A need, a hunger, a challenge, a deadline....  what reasons would YOU add to this list of reasons why it's good to be a deacon NOW?   I've come up with only 6!   Who will see my six and raise me at least one?

Deacons
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Deacons Harnessing "God Gifts"

We deacons are in a leadership role and as such our job is to empower, prepare, nurture and disciple our congregation to go out into the world and do the real work of the church. How do we do this?  

Deacons
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A Listening Malfunction

Within minutes my guts started to knot up as he discounted what others were saying in order to push his ideas on the group. Leaders need to listen – nowhere more than in the Church 

Deacons
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The Church as Community Asset

With powerful stories and solid biblical exegesis, Amy Sherman unpacks what it means for the church to be a Preview of the coming Kingdom attraction!

Deacons
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Signs of Community Transformation

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.

Deacons
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Signs of the Kingdom - Signs of Change!

The church is the sign of the Kingdom, and part of its task is to set out more signs, showing what that Kingdom is like and pointing the way.   Read about some signs of transformation.

Deacons
Discussion Topic
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Responding to the CRWRC funding gap

GIven the recent news that CRWRC will experience a $1.1 million gap in funding this year due to loss of funding from CIDA, I was wondering if deacons/congregations are doing anything to address this particular need, beyond any normally scheduled offerings for CRWRC - scheduling additional offerings, making congregants aware of CRWRC's Harvest Hope campaign, etc. - or have any other ideas about supporting their excellent work during the challenging time.
Deacons
Discussion Topic
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Access of West MI survey

Saw this on Twitter and thought deacons would be the best group to participate - please fill out this short survey on social action in your church. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S26TQ9Q Thanks for your input! This information will help many West Michigan organizations engaged in justice work.
Deacons
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Feedback to Pastors

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"? Regularly, everywhere? Every church? Well, no, of course not every church. some places are too tense or too unsafe. But what about the dozens, maybe even hundreds of congregations where this could be pretty easily started, and would make a significant positive difference? Wouldn't you think.....? So, come on, deacons! Talk about this at a meeting...
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The Power of Story Telling

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!

Deacons
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The Stewardship Thing

Let's face it, a good chunk of what deacons traditionally deal with is finances. Whether it is promoting good giving, setting the budget, or overseeing ministries, in the great majority of churches in our denomination this falls squarely under the responsibility of the deacons. Deacons, we are told, are to promote good stewardship. But the leader's motivations for prompting stewardship are what makes the difference. I recently read this quote from Kennon Callahan: "Mission is more important than money. Some money is not worth raising. If raising it begets a maintenance mentality, it is not...
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Looking to Deacons to Lead

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. 

Deacons
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Deacons in Leadership

What connection exists between leadership and deacons? Deacons are called to lead as they represent Jesus in the church and in the community, so here are a few examples from His ministry to remind us how serving and leading go hand in hand.

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How Many Deacons Does it Take To Change....?

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".  

Deacons
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How should a church distribute support to the denominational family and as well as to other causes?

In our congregation the deacons meet in November to set the offering schedule for the following year. Using the deacon's helper resource, sifting through the pile of offering requests received throughout the year and sensing the heart of God in the congregation, they prayerfully discern what causes to support. This year, a question was raised to our deacon team about the causes they had chosen to support. The question was this: when we as members are already contributing through denominational and classical shares to specific ministries, why are we also designating many of our weekly...
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Change Agents as Prophets - with Attitude

Every once in a while some angry prophet gets in my face, jerks me to attention, and pushes my nose into reality. I desperately want to get away. What I really need to do is trust and obey.

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 For those wanting a taste of When Helping Hurts, the webinar I'm doing on October 6 will provide an overview on some of the key principles.

posted in: Great Resource

 Hi Kathy!   You are welcome!   Thanks for writing it.   

 Thanks for posting this, Karl!  I hope it is helpful and encouraging to many deacons.

I guess when I think of mercy there seems to be an inward and an outward part of it.  The inward part is compassion, learning to feel as God does, being moved by the things that move his heart in terms of human brokenness.  The outward part is the action taken.  I think that it's important to have a a goal not just of relief but of restoration when being merciful, however.  I think that unifies some of the tasks of the deacon.  So for instance, "stewardship" is not something that you do inside the church and "benevolence" something for a different type of person...instead, all of our benevolent efforts should in the end be pointing towards stewardship, towards a place where the person being helped can claim their identity as a steward, using their own resources for the good of others and God's kingdom.  The goal in both is shalom.

In terms of the teaching, I guess I think of the adage, "the deacons are not there to do the work of the people, the deacons are there to put the people to work!"  A thread will not make it through a peice of fabric unless its attached to a needle.  In the same way, the deacons are often the people who draw others into works of benevolence, taking the lead but not taking over. 

posted in: mercy

"... all of our benevolent efforts should in the end be pointing towards stewardship, towards a place where the person being helped can claim their identity as a steward..."

I really like that, Jeff!  This is a wonderful way to think about the work of the deacon.... it's a ministry of "accompaniment", walking along side of people, building relationships of mutuality and reciprocity, enhancing the ability of both partners to live the lives God intended - restorers and stewards of SHALOM.   Sometimes the partnership is with church members, and sometimes with community folk.  sometimes with the rich, and sometimes with the poor.

This is beautiful, and also challenging!   Is this what deacons get to do, by God's grace?   What an honor we have.

posted in: mercy

 Thanks Terry!  Yes, I agree this looks like an excellent resource.  I appreciated the book SO much.

posted in: Great Resource

 The old book by Jay VanGroningen Changing Times, New Approaches talked about how to transition. Not sure if it's still available through Faith Alive as it looks like it's been replaced by The Deacon's Handbook.

I notice you're in Grand Rapids; you might check with Volunteers In Service to see if they have any resources that can help.

The "When Helping Hurts Ministry Training" Webinar Series at www.chalmers.org/when-helping-hurts/webinar/schedule.php also looks like a great resource. This is based on the "When Helping Hurts" book by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

posted in: Great Resource

 I guess I wasn't paying attention!

Now that we're (back) on the topic, I can't resist the temptation to say a little more about this new kind of leadership.

I'm wondering if (church) leaders are finding themselves in crisis mode more often because church leaders, perhaps more than most any other group, tend to be (self) selected for their ability to lead in situations of continuity.  Typically leaders are leading in one of three types of situations - growth, continuity, contraction.  I think the CRC and its congregations was for some decades a prime example of an institution experiencing continuity. In more recent decades the pace of change has picked up rapidly, and has become a threat in many areas.  Yet we have a predominance of leaders who are most gifted to lead continuity, AND we have a culture that makes it very difficult for leaders who are wired to lead in situations of growth.

So what kind of leadership is needed in this emerging denominational scene?  Perhaps it could go without saying that it's going to require a passionate commitment to follow Jesus.  Then  I'm theorizing it's going to be people who are first of all characterized by competence and integrity.  They are going to have to know what to do and they are going to have to be willing to do it.  Their behavior will be marked by deep love and rich wisdom.  They will be willing to take responsibility - in humility and strength.   They'll be people who are trustworthy and who build a safe and trusting place around them.

This kind of behavior will be characterized by high reciprocity and exchange of gifts to achieve shared ends, and it'll be patient with opposition without being paralyzed by it.  This kind of behavior will be attractive; it'll be invitational; it'll be Gospelized behavior.  and it will influence others.

That's what I imagine organic and non-hierarchical leadership to look like.   

Disclaimer: I work for The Network, and these views represent no one but me.

 

posted in: Spider Deacons

 Hi Karl:

You just finished describing it in Spider Deacons and had  "I saw “organic” instead of hierarchical." I simply rearranged your own words.

 

posted in: Spider Deacons

 What does it look like?  Can you describe that a bit more so we can catch a glimpse?   It sounds really attractive, and I am trying to picture it in a council room.   

posted in: Spider Deacons

 Don't you mean, "Reformation is so last millennium?" ;)

Count me in as noticing the first sign and watching for further info. I hope you'll continue to use this space to keep us posted on this task force. Thanks!

 I like "non hierarchical organic leadership"

posted in: Spider Deacons

Here's a question that I'm wondering about as a result of reading Peter Block's book COMMUNITY, and reading Synod 2010 decision on Overture 16:

What behaviors will I engage in today that contribute to the changes in the deaconate that I long for?

Sign me up!

Your question reminds me of my own wrestling with Micah 6:8. Just what is justice, and what is mercy and how in the world do they relate? Some days I really get it; most days not so much.
How does this sound? Taking care of people who are hurt by the ways things are - that's mercy. Setting things right so people aren't getting hurt - that's justice.
How to teach this? I have a few ideas, but nothing that's fresh and wonderful! I think the more people get to really know and spend time with hurting people, the more their passion for mercy and justice is kindled. But there also have to be some support systems, places to process feelings and new insights, opportunities to engage, connect, relate.... Safe places to confess.... skills and information.... practice new behavior.... Does this sound right? I have the feeling I'm still not quite in tune with your question.

posted in: mercy

I wonder if you've put your finger on a "polarity" in our culture.... seems to me that we are very good at building organizations and institutions that embody our values. And maybe we are less adept at the personal relationship building that expresses those same values. Peter Block, in his book Community, talks about how institutions tend to be very efficient and good for providing "service", but for caring and compassion, not so good. For that he talks about "associations" which are much more relational, less heirarchical, and totally voluntary in their most basic DNA. It is (only) thru associations, he claims, that true and lasting change happens in people and communities. What tools do we have to help us better manage this "polarity"? I think that at the personal level we need to improve our "personal discipling" capacities and at the neighbor/ community level we need to moderate our passion for programs and increase our capacity for being "Kingdom community change agents". There are lots of resources in both these categories, but we often don't think of them in connection with "deaconing". Am I on your wave length? am I in your same garden patch?

posted in: A Deacon Reflects

Karl,
The picture your story painted in my head is; sad, wonderful, inspiring and powerful. The responses to your story sheds some light on the difficulties for the "church" to be that joy filled, standing on your tip toes in celebration and praise kind of church.
The question your picture raises to me is how to make it different? When a person becomes a deacon they need to or are expected to complete the tasks set before them. In order to do that they need to continually be seeking to be fed in their own life by the Holy Spirit. The deacons are now committing their time and resources to many people in and out of the church.
Now they are expected to go to seminars, workshops and small groups to learn how to be a better deacon. Talk about overload.
What about training potential deacons? Training on top of an already huge commitment seems too much, the straw perhaps, which can and often does create a negative atmosphere.
If the churches looked ahead to their young adults or new members and started with a serious educating process focused for potential deacons this might help to build a solid frontline of Deacons who are ready and equipped to serve.
The military sends all of it's new soldiers to "Boot Camp" for training, then they send them to the battlefield. Can you imagine dropping a person into the battlefield without teaching them how to use their weapons for defense or attack?

posted in: A Deacon Reflects

Hi Karl,
You know that posting comments to others' observations are not my cup of tea, but I want to make a remark on the previous. From my observation more and more deacons are willing to step into a helping relationship with people in need. They are indeed getting better at developing holistic "institutional responses" - and by doing so find themselves face-to-face and heartbeat-to-heartbeat with people they can help. Many deacons I know are active in a personal way. By walking along with people in need, assisting in basic needs, advocating for just solutions, they often find their actions are of mutual benefit. Whether sitting down with folks to share a community meal, or finding congregational partners to provide free tax preparation, or finding an apartment for a hard-to-house immigrant family, or mentoring a refugee family, or weeping with a family who lost a loved one, I am so very grateful for the deacons who serve with love and integrity. Up here north of the 49th, we spend a considerable amount of time encouraging and equipping our deacons. There's lots of good written materials, electronic and otherwise, for deacons to equip themselves.
Henry

posted in: A Deacon Reflects

Karl, your poetic and flowery verbiage obviously didn't register well with the first respondent.
Since I know you well (we are out of the same green house/flower bed) I worked through it, and you have a point. Here is mine:

For quite some time I've had the feeling that our deacons - and here I have to say that the focus is Classis Holland - are good at starting and maintaining institutional type responses
to specific needs (example, My Brothers/Sisters houses) but less so at equipping themselves for the very concrete one to one needs around, both in and outside the congregations.

What does deaconal leadership at the denom level have to help overcome that?

posted in: A Deacon Reflects

Ho Hum

posted in: A Deacon Reflects

How does one make the transition to a more interactive diaconal ministry? "By example" is a start. Any resources you recommend?
Henry

Thanks, Jeff, for mentioning When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  (Moody, 2009)   Its subtitle is "How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself".   I mention that because it's amazing how often our best intentions have "unintended negative side effects", and this book addresses that problem about as well as any I've read.

This book is readable, biblical, developmental, and comprehensive, and did I mention readable?   You don't need to be a scholar to get it.  It'll introduce you to basic understanding of what poverty is, and how the church can respond to it....   and it opens with one of the best stories I've ever read about wonderful good intentions and their surprisingly dismaying effects.

This book will also introduce you to ABCD - Asset Based Community Development.  ABCD is a tool that will sharpen all the other tools in your box.

If you've not read it, I recommend it.   And parts of it could be used to make great deacons' discussions!

Great news! Thanks for letting us know!

I was trying to listen to the synod feeds last week to see what was going to be decided about this...but you only have so much time to do that...so I'm glad that other people were watching to see what happened.

The potential of a committee like this is immense. I'm glad it was passed.

posted in: What Does It Take?

Yes. Terry W, you are the first to post the good news - Synod said Yes to the request to set up a task force to study the office of deacon. According to the denominational staff, suggestions are already beginning to come in for persons to serve on that task force. Along with many other important decisions on justice-related matters, this decision is another reason to thank God for the work of Synod 2010.

posted in: What Does It Take?

Today I heard from one of the delegates who attended Synod that this overture was approved by Synod.

posted in: What Does It Take?

I was wondering about that, too.

posted in: What Does It Take?

Does anyone know what Synod did with the overture on deacons? It was not reported on in the daily e-mail updates from CRC Communications.

posted in: What Does It Take?

At the Northern Alberta Diaconal Conference, Deacons are asked to share stories. Here they are!

~At Centrepointe, they now have 2 deacons, and hope to get a couple more soon. They have started to help people with moving, house reno’s, etc. They now make those services available for anyone in the community, including those who can pay, to help raise funds.
~Some members of The River have gone to meet with people in Zambia to get to know them & love them. They have seen huge results and changes in people who have been there, and the Zambians are getting comfortable now to ask for help with their projects. The River’s annual Serve fundraiser enables them to respond to local needs quickly, and to help people with unique, expensive needs. For example they were able to help someone with $10,000 in medical expenses.
~Woodynook is looking forward to celebrating its 75th anniversary in November, and they are in building mode. They are almost at the $1.5 million needed to start, so preliminary work has begun. Woodynook is evaluating their evening service, and ask for prayers for guidance in this matter. They have two new refugees coming as their current refugee family is asking them to support two additional family members. Woodynook is active in Neighbourlink in their community. There are three greenhouse operations which employ 15 Thai people. Deacons are very excited that they have found a person who can speak Thai, and are now offering Alpha in their language so that these Thai people can come to know Jesus.
~Joe asked for support for Diaconal Ministries Canada, as the support via denominational ministry shares doesn’t always come in. Joe mentioned that at the DMC meetings he has attended he has been so impressed with the commitment of the staff.
~Wolf Creek is searching for a pastor. Their young people went to Vancouver on an inner-city mission trip, and Wolf Creek is also very involved with Neighbourlink.
At Maranatha, they have an election for deacons coming up soon. The Karen refugees, with whom Maranatha has been involved for a long time now, are planning to rent a Baptist church, as they have outgrown the space in Maranatha. However, they still plan to worship at Maranatha in the mornings.
~Ottewell is involved in a visioning process whereby they have adopted core values leading to core practices, generating commitment from the congregation. They are planning an outdoor community worship service on June 13, starting with a pancake breakfast, and ending with a community information fair. As part of their year-round giving schedule, they are focusing on The Pregnancy Care Centre for May and June, involving the youth in the Walk for Life, and collecting baby items, as well as offerings. In July and August the focus will be Habitat for Humanity, with offerings as well as serving up several lunches to volunteers.
~Bethel-Lacombe is doing intentional giving over 5 Sundays. They started a big expansion to the church kitchen. Circle of friends has been very positive for them. The have been busy with the overture to Classis regarding seating deacons at Classis. They have not been made aware of many financial or other needs recently.
~At St. Albert, they are losing three deacons. Please pray that they get replacements. They had a SERVE team go to Vancouver, and will be starting a community garden. They also have a refugee sponsorship in progress. A year ago, the church was asked by Community Services to help with people who fall between the cracks. They, along with 5 other churches, joined “The Bridge” and are a centre through which community requests are funneled. They work out of the Food Bank. Bert mentioned that it would be really beneficial for all churches to be involved in this type of arrangement.
~At Covenant, they now have a second pastor, Ken Vis, who focuses on youth and education. They had a SERVE team go to El Paso, and a HANDS team going somewhere next year. Their programs are winding down, but find Vacation Bible School to be a good outreach tool. They are looking forward to church camp and have a community garden. They will be starting Compass 21 in the fall and are working on developing their Safe Church policy.. They find they have lots of families who need help, but still found time to have a senior’s supper.
~Bethel-Edmonton has a small diaconate. Their refugee family of 8 is doing well and is almost at the end of its year of support. There is some hesitancy in applying for jobs. If anyone has any leads on entry level jobs or house, please contact Linda Hofstede. Bethel will continue to support them until they can get on their feet. One of their refugees was to support a family member and has asked the church for help. Interesting calls for help come into the church, and the deacons are thankful for helpful connections. They are delighted that some of the folks they helped with Tax Time are now coming to church, and relationships are developing.
~First-Red Deer has an outreach program, and offered babysitting services at Christmas and help with spring clean up. They have lots of young people, and have Vacation Bible School (VBS) coming up, and are specializing on soccer after VBS.
- At Sonrise, they were sad to see their pastor Harry Zantingh leave, and are now searching for a new pastor. In the interim they are being served by Maurice Boonstra who has filled in for many pastoral vacancies. They are grateful for his ministry. Their programs are running well, and they are looking forward to a 25th anniversary.
~Hope had a neat evening last month when their missionaries to China, the Ten Harmsels, were in town. They sold tickets and raised an additional $400 by auctioning off great desserts!
~New Life Fellowship has a couple of girls who were in Haiti helping at an orphanage before the earthquake hit. They were asked to gather up clothes and other items which they did. Their youth did a Mexico trip and also had a bottle drive to raise funds for YC, but were gracious to give some of their bottles to a senior’s bottle collection. A disabled person who has been coming to church moved to a group home, and has invited his fellow residents and their care workers to come to church!
~First-Edmonton is still looking for a senior pastor. They hope to celebrate their 100th anniversary this fall. They had church campout at the end of May. The deacons are helping a family adopt two kids from Africa. The church has purchased the home next door and is soliciting ministry ideas for the property.
~At Ebenezer, plans are underway for a new church building. The stewardship team is endorsing Stewardship Initiatives, and had a “stewardship circle of chairs” meeting at Ottewell on May 20th with a hope to have more of the same in the future. Ebenezer is hosting a SERVE project.
~At Trinity, they now have a senior pastor and a pastor for the seniors in place, and are making plans for youth ministry. They are fundraising for the church building renovations. They have been asked to aid with refugees. Their pastor asked an elder and deacon to come to a profession of faith class to talk about being a church member. Several members are closely involved with the Mosaic Center outreach.
~In Neerlandia, they do “cross training” - their time of youth and adult education - at 10:00 on Sundays with worship service after that. They are in the process of setting up administrative and pastoral elders. They have a refugee family from Ethiopia. They support anyone who needs counseling.
~Terrence asked for prayerful thought to let your name stand for NADC executive, or if you know anyone with a diaconal heart who might stand, please let Henry or an Executive member know.
~Fellowship has a pastoral committee that provides the leadership and mercy ministry. Since they don’t have a full time pastor or a church building, those resources can be applied elsewhere. They try to support members in what they get involved with, for example refugee involvement. They get lots of participation from lay persons, and have been having 25-30 TKUC students attending, whom they are challenged to integrate. They have “Mobile Feet Sundays” with various groups doing service projects. They received a Worship Renewal grant and published the book Words for Worship, with liturgies written by some of their members. They have several families who have chronic financial issues.

William Heyns, writing in 1910 about the concerns and limitations of diaconal conferences, said this "without a doubt, the ideal solution is the delegation of deacons to the major assemblies with the power to deal with all matters brought before them that concern the ministry of mercy."

Synod 2010 is only a week away, and one of the issues that they will take up is the overture mentioned earlier. I wonder what the result will be.

In 1982, Prof. De Moor wrote in his "The Office of Deacon at the Crossroads", that "the proportion of representation (to major assemblies) soon proves to be an issue that uncovers one's deepest convictions concerning ecclesiastical office." He also wrote "somewhere along the way this denomination must do what Calvin couldn't--grant it's dedicated diaconate an appropriate place in all assemblies of office--bearers that rule and equip the body in Christ's name. It certainly must not reverse whatever has already grown in that direction. *This* is the lesson of history."

I'm excited about the opportunity before this Synod to reflect on the truth of these words.

Rebecca, you are right, and thanks for finding the reference. Sorry I neglected to include that!

posted in: What Does It Take?

I was interested to read this article, but had no knowledge of the referenced overture on deacons.

For reference, I believe this author is referring to Overture 16: Appoint a Task Force to Revise the Church Order Articles Related to the Office of Deacon which may be found beginning on page 678 of the Agenda for Synod 2010, a copy of which can be accessed from this page:
http://www.crcna.org/pages/synod_front.cfm

Please update if that is not the correct reference.

posted in: What Does It Take?

Deacons - Priests or Kings? I have a somewhat different take on this question about deacons that relates more to their ministry roles than their authority. In my experience, a diaconate functions best when different deacons are able to execute all three roles - prophets, priests and kings. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these three roles ought to determine what gifts need to complement the diaconate each time there are elections.

There are times when you need kings - deacons who are strong in administration, care about order, and deliberately chose structures that best serve ministry. There are times when you need prophets - deacons who are able to discern the Spirit's leading and boldly challenge complacency - both within the church and the neighbourhood. And, there are times, when you need priests - not only to build "bridges" between kings and prophets who will often be at loggerheads, but also to model a ministry of mercy and hospitality to those in the church and the community.

The whole report is on pp. 232-255 of the Acts of Synod, 1967. Its interesting that even though the recommendation was not followed, there was a long string of re-applications and requests in the 70s and 80s by those who were convinced of the larger role of deacon.

Also interesting are the other sources that they quote for the delegation of deacons to broader assemblies...like Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper, who said in 1884 that the diaconal office "ought to be interwoven in the ruling organism of the Churches (that is, of Classes and Synods)", William Heyns who in 1928 had an entire chapter in his Handbook on Elders and Deacons called "The Unsatisfactory Condition of the Diaconate", and others.

We've been talking about this issue in our denomination for a long, long time.

What a great opportunity this motion could be, to look back as well as look forwards, and see what God might be calling us towards.

Hmmmm.... let's see. 1967. How prophetic was THAT?! 43 years ago. I was, ummm, a student at CTS. It's hard to imagine that this paragraph you quote comes from that long ago. Could it be a prohetic utterance spoken also to the church in 2010?

Karl,

Yes! Once more into the breach!

I've been thinking about deacons with my thesis for the last couple of years with this...did you know that already almost 100 years ago William Heyns thought that they should be delegated to the broader assemblies? People have been convinced of the wisdom of delegating deacons for decades...since 1967 this has been brought up in overture after overture, but has been voted down because it was not in line with "traditional" understandings of the diaconate. But I'm convinced that taking a fresh look at the office of deacon is critical in our emerging missional era. Hopefully others will be as well.

Thanks for pointing it out!

Karl,
Such good questions to ask ourselves as deacons. Thank you for the article and the challenges you put out there for us all.
We should concentrate on the exchange of the gifts idea you presented.
As a new deacon the time we share together is a time of helping each other learn of the gifts God has given all of us to use.

When we help each other grow our gifts and the gifts of our members we can better serve our entire community, the entire world! How exciting.
When we find the talents, and life challenges and spiritual paths that our members have going on now and of the past we show care and action.
As deacons we are learning how peoples values, emotions, dreams and visions take the form of Christ. Hopefully when people look at us they see Jesus.
I guess I can say I don't really know either but cant wait for the next month to come. Not for counting the money there is so much more. We will be one step closer to knowing a life of good stewardship in a way that glorifies God.

This is some fresh exegesis! I like it. It really helps undermine that sort of "second class citizen" syndrome so often associated with being a deacon!

posted in: Looking at Acts 6

I was also going to provide the videoplayer URL. You have to look to see the length. Some of them are appropriate to offertory. Others are adult class length. This area needs strengthening, which I am working on. Steve

posted in: Video Resources

Hi JT,

There are a lot of powerpoints on the CRCNA website:
http://www.crcna.org/pages/2min_ppoint.cfm but looks like they are sort of outdated.

This link will take you to more up to date resources:
http://www.crcna.org/pages/videoplayer.cfm

Here is a link to the current CRWRC DVDs:
http://www.crwrc.org/pages/crwrc_videos.cfm

One of our dilemmas as agencies is that video is more costly to produce than powerpoint, but churches seem to want videos. Any ideas? Any certain types of videos or powerpoints that are more helpful than others?

posted in: Video Resources

Paul, How about something like this --
What if the revitalization of the CRC depends like never before on deacons to show us how to answer the urgent needs in our communities? What if now is the moment to mobilize the denomination to do the deeds which will provoke the questions to which the Gospel is the answer? Is this the time for pastors, elders and deacons to SHARE leadership together, gathering the specific gifts and callings, and shaping the leadership team to respond to opportunities. Deacons would have a high profile in this mix these days I think. I'd go so far as to say it might be a kairos moment for deacons.

JT, Steve VS (works for WM) who hosts the missions page, and Wendy Hammond at CRWRC, and then the offices of BTGMI and Home Missions.... there are folks who would be happy to send you exactly what you are looking for. I'll mention this to them too.

posted in: Video Resources

Paul- I am sorry that Karl has been unable to respond to your inquiry. He is currently away from the office and will be able to respond when he returns (if not sooner).

Karl do you have any resources available such as a short paragraph to encourage members to consider being nominated as a Deacon?

There is no such thing as a "missional disciple". Disciples ARE missional. -- Ed Stetzer.

One great way to get started in planning an effective community ministry is the Communities First Association (www.communitiesfirstassociation.org)

They have helped so many CRC churches be salt and light in their own communities.

Hi Karl,
I just read this article (the church admin guide) and loved it! Thanks for sharing your great passion for deaconal ministry. Sheri Laninga

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