The intent of For Deacons is to be a resource to diaconates desiring to live out the vision and mandate of what they affirmed at their installation to this vital role. In a context where change is constant and needs are often urgent, we want deacons to have all the resources possible at their fingertips.*
Finding time for the normal activities around deacon tasks is hard enough. How do we find time to coordinate with other churches? Perhaps designating that connecting responsibility as the function of one of the deacons will lessen the pressure on the others. The benefits of collaborating with other churches and their resources and connecting with regional resources to benefit local ministry is a well-recognized benefit of collaboration. It does mean being intentional about it.
There is a long history of diaconal collaboration in the CRCNA and RCA. Read more about the encouragement these denominations envision around this collaboration for local impact.
Living Out Regional Cooperation
In the greater Grand Rapids area collaboration amongst deacons has a long history. While the structure may have evolved, Volunteers In Service serves as a model for regional diaconal cooperation and resourcing. Read more of their story and ministry impact below.
- Deacons Organizing Regionally: VIS in Greater Grand Rapids
- Ministry Through Volunteers In Service (VIS)
Different cultures, generations, personalities and contextualized needs in a world of growing diversity call us away from prescribing models and toward the naming of underlying principles which describe how the mission of Jesus Christ can be advanced. Of course, models will emerge from various settings that have transferability in great measure to other contexts, which might be of some assistance to those starting new missional enterprises. Models then, emerge out of the stories we tell of how God has and continues to use these underlying principles toward fulfillment of His ends.
The following six principles appear and reappear in Scripture, in the history of the church and pockets of current missional practices:
Imagine an ongoing learning and training system in which the difference between participant and leader is minimal; where the difference between knowledge and praxis is nearly non-existent; and there is a spirit of unity and growth in which persons at every level and stage of leadership within a cluster are multi-dimensionally co-mentored and multi-directionally mentored on an ongoing basis.
Let’s flesh this idea out a little bit by building on some of Senge’s key ideas about learning organizations followed by a few ideas of how to deliver this within ministry clusters in the CRCNA.
Got a question about diaconal work? Ask your fellow deacons!
Here are some recent questions and discussions:
Remember to check out these resources dedicated to your support.
- Diaconal Ministries Canada, e-Quip diaconal blog
- Volunteers in Service
- Holland Deacons Conference—Diaconal Ministry Resources
- Volunteers in Action—Resources for Deacons
- Northern Alberta Diaconal Conference Newsletter
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.
Want to read earlier issues of For Deacons? Just go to View Past Issues
*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.
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