For Deacons is a joint effort with Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC). DMC has a rich heritage of supporting deacons through its network of regionally based Diaconal Ministry Developers
The Deacon as a Leader
This month’s For Deacons is a compilation of topics that have been covered in earlier issues. It is worth reiterating and consolidating some of the resources in one issue for easy access. It is also important to keep reminding deacons that their role is critical to a church living out its full purpose. The deacon mandate is very focused on mercy and justice, two elements that are very much needed in our societies today, especially as the church seeks to be relevant to its context.
This issue begins with a short interview with Dr. Steve Timmermans, the Executive Director of the CRCNA, encouraging deacons in their leadership role. It also offers various resources for deacons as they plan and implement their mandate.
Here are some encouraging thoughts from Dr. Steve Timmermans.
“Just as the work of the diaconate is never done, neither is the work of supporting CRC congregations and their deacons at a denominational level. Often, an individual’s first experience holding an office in his or her congregation is as a deacon. Thus, congregations and the denomination must realize that we should always be attentive to the need for deacon orientation and development.”
The Role of Deacons
What Does a Leadership Agenda Look Like?
If we look at the mandate of deacons, the task of managing every function can seem overwhelming. By looking at the main functions of the deacon and then regularly looking at what needs to be tracked monthly, and what can be addressed on a rotating basis, the deacons can provide a valuable accounting of their responsibilities. Whether the deacons delegate these functions out to various committees or teams within the church, or maintain direct responsibility, it is important that these functions are well supervised so that they are sustained and accounted for within the vision and mission of the church. Click here for the link to the full article.
Articles 35 a, b, and c of the CRCNA Church Order establish the leadership function of both elders and deacons. Each leadership function is accountable for reporting on its leadership expectations and outcomes to the Council, where the full accountability around the vision and mission of the church rests (see the Summer 2018 issue of the For Deacons Newsletter for a fuller discussion of thinking through systems as part of leadership). Here is another article on the leadership role of deacons within the church system.
How does the deacon get appropriately oriented to the task?
For many deacons, actually taking on the role of deacon is their first experience of functioning in a leadership role where there is accountability for the church’s relevance to its members and community. That task can not only be overwhelming, but perhaps still locked in some traditional expectations from a time when deacons were considered more elders-in-training than part of the leadership team. Here are a couple of resources that can be helpful in orienting both the deacon and the church to the deacons living out their leadership function.
The Network is a great resource for helping deacons fulfill the tasks they have been asked to carry out, whether it is a role with more limited expectations or with a full church leadership mandate. Here is another Network resource to help deacons with the tools they need to lead well.
The deacon function can be summarized as holding the leadership expectation of accomplishing the mercy and justice function of the church. Last month the For Deacons Newsletter dealt with that. We need more stories on how your church is living this out. Will you take a few moments to share?
Got a question about diaconal work? Ask your fellow deacons!
Leadership and reporting on outcomes go hand in hand in most work environments. It should also happen in the church. An earlier post asked the question of how churches did this best. We are still eager for answers (see below).
- What Is Your Church’s Best Practice Around Tracking Ministry Outcomes?
- See all Q&As related to deacons and post your own.
Check out the following resources dedicated to your support.
- Diaconal Ministries Canada, e-Quip diaconal blog
- Holland Deacons Conference—Diaconal Ministry Resources
- Northern Alberta Diaconal Conference Newsletter
- Volunteers in Action—Resources for Deacons
- Volunteers In Service
Andrew Ryskamp is acting editor of this resource. Andrew is retired from World Renew after working as diaconal ministries director for 13 years and as executive co-director for 17 years. You can contact him with questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in viewing earlier issues of For Deacons? Simply click on For Deacons Archives