“The church does not simply have deacons but is by its very nature and calling a diaconate—that is, a community created by the triune God to be a servant people in the world.” (Diakonia Remixed report to Synod 2013)
According to Christian Reformed Church Order, Deacons are responsible for much more than collecting offerings and overseeing the benevolence fund (See 2016 Form for Ordination). Changes made to CRC Church Order at Synod 2015 include, among other things, an emphasis on two areas in particular: 1.) preparing and equipping members of the local congregation to engage in deaconing or diaconal ministry(“diakonia” frequently translated “service” or “ministry” in Eph. 4:12 ) along with 2.) identifying, getting to know, and partnering with church neighbors and stakeholders from the community with whom and where God is already present and working. This is a move away from simply doing ministry to or for the community, to one of doing ministry with the community*.
So, where can deacons and others engaged in diaconal types of ministry go for resources and information to assist them in their work? I’m glad you asked!
Supporting deacons and others engaged in diaconal and community ministry is what HDC is about. Our recently revised (2015) Statement of Purpose puts it this way: HDC exists to encourage, support and equip deacons, church members, and partners to collaborate in Christ-like acts of mercy, justice, and compassion that transform lives and communities, reflecting and advancing God’s reign.
One of the ways we support deacons and others is by providing resources and information such as articles, practical “how to” materials, handbooks, websites, organizations, and more right here on HDC’s website. In addition to maintaining an up-to-date Diaconal Resources page, we also publish regular posts with relevant news and information–which we send to our website subscribers–related to diaconal matters and concerns.
Additionally, HDC is working with several other diaconal leaders from the U.S. and Canada to develop and gather strategies and models in our work with local diaconates. We are excited about this important partnership and look forward to sharing what we learn as we meet and work with deacons.
Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for HDC.
- Learn more about the differences between doing ministry in, to/for and with your church neighbors and community by clicking on the link to the brochure, Ministry In, To & With Community.