Skip to main content

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purpose of understanding the charge to deacons- though I too don't like the word choice - perhaps we can blame it on outdated language!

Melissa Van Dyk on February 5, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Leon - it seems like that could be a great resource for other churches to use!  Thanks for sharing!

Melissa Van Dyk on February 6, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I agree!  Giving to the budget is never inspiring, and giving out of guilt is not in line with a spirit of generosity!  I've also found that pastors avoid the financial stewardship discussion because their salaries are part of that and it can feel awkward.  I'm hoping that this will be a forum where we can start these conversations going.  Are there any resources in particular that you would recommend?

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

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?

I love intergenerational ministry!! I totally agree that it's an important aspect of our faith, both in building deeper community and for spiritual growth.  I have checked out the WE curriculum, and as church staff we have been talking about using it this Fall.  It looks like a great way to connect all ages!

Melissa Van Dyk on September 4, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You're right - we don't always see things as injust - but perhaps we need to be challenged to!  There are systemic issues that perpetually keep people marginalized.  How can we better love and serve our refugee, aboriginal or immigrant friends?  What does it look like for us to stand with those who have disabilities, mental illness, are homeless or in a state of poverty?  It's important to see needs - but it's also important to see the injustice that creates the need.  And call a spade a spade (or injustice, injustice). :)

Sam,  Thanks for the great post!  I have to admit, I cringed just a wee bit when I read #5, and the last sentence about trusting a wide variety of sources "except the voice within me".  I understand the need for caution and absolutely agree that we should look for/expect affirmation and confirmation that comes from the Spirit in many ways.  However, I also know that we can learn to recognize God's voice in our lives, and grow in our discernment of his voice, among the others in our lives.  Even prophets, elders, mentors and sermons can be sinful, or off the mark.  Life in the Spirit is deep and mysterious, and I wouldn't want to put any box around how the Spirit moves, including saying "never through the voice in myself".  The evidence of a Spirit-filled life is always in the fruit.

Check out this new issue of Partners (a diaconal newsletter from Diaconal Ministries of Canada) which spells out a few of the changes recommended to Synod by the Diakonia Remixed Task Force

I've really come to appreciate the way we do worship planning at First Vancouver.  We have a number of worship teams (which is fun because different people get to contribute with their unique gifts) who are responsible for planning the service.  Whoever is preaching will give the text and a paragraph about what the focus/theme/message will be.  The whole service is inputted on ServiceBuilder ( where the bulletin editor can then get all the information.  It's been working out really well for us!  It's definitely more work to be intentional in this way, but it is also much more meaningful.

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post