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Paul - I can imagine that this is a sensitive discussion in your congregation.  At the church I attend we have chosen to have only grape juice served.  This decision was made before I was attending there - and I can't be speak as to whether that decision was made because we have an AA group that meets in our building - or because alcoholism can exist in our pews - but I like to assume the decision was made so that the Lord's Supper was inclusive of as many people as possible.  I'm under the opinion that we should not create barriers for others to participate in the Lord's Supper - nor needless temptations.  We've recently changed our bread so that it's gluten free, again so that everyone can participate. This month there is an article in the Banner which adds some food for thought to this discussion.  

Adam - I love that you are asking this question.  I've heard it said that in a 3-year deacon term - the first year, you will probably feel overwhelmed trying to orient yourself and understand what the role is, the second year you will start to find a groove, and the third year you'll be in the groove, and then, it's over.  

The two points Amy and J made are great ways to help a smooth transition.  We have a binder at our church which gets passed from deacon to deacon.  It's definitely helpful - though it can send some new deacons into a panic!  I love the 3 extra months idea that J's congregation does.

Another thing that can be helpful is to have mentors (previous deacons) for new deacons, people who will answer the early questions, but then also continue to lend support as the term continues.

I think it's important to ensure that new deacons know that they have been called and chosen, ordained for this position - and to remind them that God has given them exactly what they need to serve in this way.  Build their confidence, give room for their voice, allow space for questions, and point them to resources that will help them understand the role. I believe affirming deacons (particularly new ones) in this way will create a strong deacon team.

Hi Grace. I haven't actually seen a gift survey, or been part of one, but I'm curious what information you'd be trying to get, and how you'd plan on using the results.

Rebecca, thanks for your comment. That sounds like a healthy response and it's helpful in regards to what we as a deacon team have been asked to look at. :)

Wow, what a great question!  I love that you're engaging with the charge to deacons and have a desire to faithfully live into that calling! 

A good starting place may be found in a resource created by Diaconal Ministries of Canada, it's called  Guidelines for Benevolence.  It's a helpful tool to work through as a deacon team, to get a sense about who you feel called to serve, what your community may need, and how you as a team are equipped to serve.  Having a good idea about who/what God is calling your team to, is part of the discernment process, and may provide you with a starting point as you "weigh the needs".

I'd love to hear thoughts from other deacons on how their deacon boards/teams handle this!

I usually think of "causes" as anything that we can give support to... so, yes, I would consider people as causes for the purpose of understanding the charge to deacons- though I too don't like the word choice - perhaps we can blame it on outdated language!

I agree with Rebecca, I like that list Karl. :D

To add to that list our deacon team has also done the following:

a. Gather food offerings from the congregation monthly for a local ministry we are in relationship with and our food bank, and then distribute that.

b. Host a budgeting session, to teach interested persons about biblical financial principles and actually teach them how to create a budget that works.

c. Count the offerings, informing the congregation monthly about how much has been received, and managing the financial resources for benevolence [which has been used for groceries, rent, medications, tuition, simple gifts]

d. Write notes to people in our congregation, either those ill for whom we have been in prayer, or thank yous to people who have helped us in serving.

e. Create the offering schedule and promote an offering at least once a month.

f. Increase congregational awareness of various deacon "things". For instance: items that may be confusing on the budget, benevolence,  tithing and stewardship, or the PAR program. 

g. Utilize DMC [] resources, both online and in person, to enhance our understanding of our roles and generate new ideas.

h. Intentially be present in the community [both in and around the church] developing relationships [new and old] and engaging in conversations so that we know those we are serving.

i. Met with members of our Missions Committee to discuss and develop ways that would allow us to build deeper relational contacts with the organizations we support through our church offerings.

j. The chair of the deacons has connected with each deacon for a 1-1 check in, asking about how they are doing, addressing any concerns, and offering affirmation and encouragement.

k. Regular visiting with a diverse group of individuals/families, sometimes because they have particular needs, sometimes just to say "hello". 

l. We attempted to organize rides to church on Sundays  for those who needed them, however, at the time no one seemed to be in need of one. [We are continually aware of this being a potential need].


The deacon role is so diverse, it's often hard to know what to do or where to start... but we've just been praying,  trying to pay attention to the community we're part of and be proactive in our service... knowing that God is moving and we've been invited to partner with Him.  

I love gathering ideas, sharing thoughts, and celebrating the collective wisdom we're surrounded by... so I'm looking forward to more responses :D

We adopt the church budget at a congregational meeting in December for the following Jan-Dec.  A committee is put in charge of creating the budget, and the congregation is welcome to ask any questions they'd like before they affirm the work of the committee and take ownership of the budget.  

At a spring congregational meeting we review the audited financial statements and previous years budget results.

Posted in: A Needed Gift

This sounds like it was a wonderful time together, however, it has left me wondering about those pastor's spouses who are husbands - is there a place for them at this type of event?  Are there events like this which welcome all the spouses - male or female?

Hi Wendy,  We still have 2 offerings at our Sunday morning service.  One for the budget and one for a designated cause, previously set up by the deacons.  Sometimes when there is a special need (ie. World Renew disaster relief) we'll let the congregation know that they can use the pew envelopes to donate, by writing the name of the offering on the front.

Posted in: Deacon People

Melissa Van Dyk on November 3, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

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

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