An online and/or downloadable presentation that serves as an orientation and training resource for deacons.
I was born in 1953 as the third and final child of John and Elizabeth Kooyman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My parents were Dutch immigrants who came to the U.S. shortly after World War II. I grew up in Grand Rapids attending both public and Christian schools--graduating from Grand Rapids (East) Christian High School in 1972. I began working full-time for Zondervan Publishing soon after graduating from high school--I had no interest in or plans to attend college at the time. I was laid off from this job early in 1973. After being unable to find "gainful" employment, I decided to attend Kuyper College (fka Reformed Bible College) and ended up staying, eventually graduating with a bachelor's degree in religous education (B.R.E.).
After college, my wife Debbie--whom I married during my Junior year of college--and I moved to Denver to live and work with adolescent boys who had been removed from their homes by the court. While in Denver, I began attending Denver Seminary—known then as Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary. After two years in Denver, we moved back to the Grand Rapids area where I served a local RCA Congregation as Director of Youth and Education for a year and a half. I then continued my seminary education enrolling as a part-time student at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) for the next five years. While attending CTS, I was hired as the first full-time Executive Director of Degage Ministries (a ministry with the homeless community in Grand Rapids, Michigan).
I eventually realized that I was not called to "full-time ministry" within the local church and left seminary. I came to discover that my gifts were more in the areas of administration and organizational leadership. As a result, I began graduate studies in management at Aquinas College in GR and then transferred to Western Michigan University where I completed a M.A. in Educaltional Leadership.
From 1987 - 1994 I served as an administrator at a small private college (Jordan College) which closed its doors in 1995.
After leaving the college, I was hired to serve as the first full-time Executive Director of Camp Tall Turf (aka Tall Turf Ministries), a Christian urban youth ministry with a mission focussed on racial reconciliation and youth leadership development. I served in this position from 1994 - 2013.
Fly fishing; Reading just about anything that is somehow edifying; Having conversations with friends over coffee/tea/chai, etc; Blogging and reading blogs of interest.
We need to shift from viewing community or diaconal ministry primarily as something done “to” or “for” others to more of one which does ministry “with” our neighbors, communities, businesses, and churches.
Instead of functioning largely as "lone rangers", the approved changes invite deacons to equip and provide opportunities for members of the congregation to participate in diaconal work.
Synod 2015 voted to include deacons at future Synods, along with expanding the role of the Office of Deacon.
If you're a deacon, elder, or pastor in the CRC, I encourage you to read the full report of the Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon. Additionally, I've shared other resources to dig deeper!
Here is an updated version of a job description for deacons in the CRC. Use it as a template and adapt it for the deacons from your congregation and to your setting.
76 years ago a humble deacon from Neerlandia, Alberta, clearly expressed his concerns and challenged his church to examine the importance of the role of deacons. Check out his letter...
This book is a useful resource for deacons, as well as anyone else engaged in mission and/or ministry with those on the margins of society. Check it out!
While simply sending deacons to meetings of Classis and Synod will not create change on its own, it is part of a new future.
World Renew is offering an online newsletter just for deacons known as Deacons Link to which you can subscribe for free. This issue of the Deacons Network is providing readers with a copy of the November issue as a sample of what you will receive when you sign up.
Thanks for sharing this information and making deacons and others aware of the resources already available to support them in their increasingly important work and responsibilities in today's...posted on: Orientation Resources for Deacon Leadership
Thank you, Shannon, for this important reminder that justice is something we do and pursue, not merely talk about. Your post made me think of Isaiah 58 where God seems to make pretty clear that...posted on: It’s Time to Stop Talking About Justice
Perhaps as troubling, if not even more so, are the excuses and explanations made by so many supporters of this president for not only his language, but also many if his views on and about...posted on: Recent Racism in Our Country
Here's an easy and shortened link to copy and share the 2016 Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons: bit.ly/ElderDeaconOrdination2016 (the link to to the form in the job descriptions...posted on: Job Descriptions for Elders and Deacons
Thank you, Danielle, for providing some helpful background and perspective on the Synod discussion about articles on Do Justice. Thanks too for encouraging us to listen, dialog with, and learn...posted on: Diversity and Discernment
Thanks so much for these resources and information about this year's Disability Week. Hopefully, pastors, worship planning teams, church educational leaders and others will use and share this so...posted on: CRC Resources for Disability Week
I highly recommend doing a search right here on The Network section for Deacons on the subject. There have been a relatively large number of posts, at least one webinar and resources--including...
A lot of good resources and suggestions have already been shared here. The Network site for deacons itself contains a wealth of information, ideas and resources. Simply type in what you're looking...
Thank you for sharing your perspectives and insights with us regarding the recommendations from the Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon. I also appreciate that you took time to...posted on: From Scripture to Elders and Deacons Today
Thanks for sharing this with our readers Bernita! I especially appreciate that you acknowledge that we are all equally broken and need to extend Christ's mercy to others just as Christ has shown...posted on: Grace or Disgrace