Equipping Deacons

Developing Spiritual Gifts: mentoring deacons and more

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, resources, Uncategorized | No Comments

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The Taskforce report on Elders and Deacons roles in ministry has presented opportunities for teaching and unpacking how leaders in the church can integrate word and deed ministry practically. DMC staff has spent time reflecting and building on our Ephesians 4 vision for diaconal leadership. These insights have sparked innovative development of resources for churches to identify spiritual gifts in members of the congregations and how to mentor others in developing those gifts.

To this end, DMC staff has designed new resources and a workshop to support churches in discovering the gifts within the Body of Christ. Please consider if these resources would interest your local church:

  1. Discovering Spiritual Gifts – this workshop includes a personal gifts questionnaire, teaching surrounding spiritual gifts in general, the specific gifts and how to implement them. It concludes with a component called “Releasing Ourselves and Others for Ministry” that teaches engagement and interdependence within the community of believers.
  1. Asset Mapping in the Congregation – this resource uses the principles of ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) to discover the gifts of a faith community and its resources. This tool works well in conjunction with the Community Opportunity Scan in bringing to light areas where the gifts within a neighbourhood can connect with the gifts of a local church.
  1. Mentoring Planthis resource includes teaching around mentoring – what it is, biblical basis, and what it could look like. We have also developed a general plan for more experienced deacons wishing to mentor new deacons. DMC staff can collaborate with a deacon team to customize a mentoring strategy.

Holding the Ephesians 4 vision for diaconal leadership can transform the way we look at calling people to the offices of elder and deacon. The challenge of equipping and preparing lay leaders in the church is also our opportunity. From there, the task of leadership includes equipping others for works of service. We hope that these further workshop and resource offerings from DMC can assist churches in raising up leaders, mentoring young people in discovering their gifts, and using the assets of a faith community for God’s kingdom work.

Looking for more resources for deacons? Click here!

Connecting with Our Muslim Neighbours

Posted by | Doing Justice, Engaging Community, Equipping Deacons | No Comments

Disability Concerns, the refugee office of World Renew, the Office of Social Justice and Race Relations are a number of CRC agencies which partner with Diaconal Ministries Canada in the work of justice.

Partnerships with other networks, programs and agencies continue to strengthen the possibilities and the ways that the church engages in a spirit of mercy and justice with its diverse neighbours.  Noted recently by a prominent and respected sociologist, Reginald Bibby, one of the primary means of growth in the Canadian church will likely be immigrants.

Along with new immigrants adding to our population’s ethnic diversity, our country also experiences increased diversity in religions.  Muslims are settling into many of the neighbourhoods of our Christian Reformed Churches.  Currently one quarter of all immigrants to Canada follow the Islamic faith.  In fact, Muslims in Canada are currently 3.5% of our total population.  Within 15 years, this is projected to double.

The Christian Reformed Church desires to equip its members to confidently and intentionally engage with their Muslim neighbours.  This is evident in the re-commitment to The Salaam Project,” a ministry of Christian Reformed World Missions and other partners.

Four areas of focus will better equip CRC congregations in Canada to engage with Muslims.

  • Dialogue– proactively seeking to develop relationships with Muslim brothers and sisters
  • Witness– living lives of joy as examples of Christ’s love
  • PeacemakingSalaam will provide a voice for peace between Muslim and Christian in Canada and around the world.
  • Hospitality Salaam will help to bring down barriers to hospitality.

According to the recent Salaam proposal, CRC congregations may begin, with assistance, to understand barriers that Muslims have to hearing the Gospel.  With God’s help, these barriers will be brought down and our engagement with Muslims will be enhanced and blessed.

The potential to re-engage Muslim ministry in Canada is promising!  Muslims in our community provide an opportunity not to be lamented or ignored. Engaging with our Muslim neighbours is an opportunity to share life with its joys and challenges!!  Most of all, it is our significant and urgent opportunity to share the Gospel in both word and deed!!

The current Muslim ministry leader is Greg Sinclair who may be reached through the CRC Burlington office at gsinclair@crcna.org.  He will welcome your learnings and your questions as he seeks to give leadership to this significant project.  To explore through a host of resources, follow this link.

The above photo is courtesy of Mission Montreal (a partnership of various CRC agencies)

NEW! Next Devotion in the series

Posted by | Doing Justice, Equipping Deacons, resources | No Comments

Follow the link below to download the eighth devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship.

This devotion is the second of three which will focus on deacons and justice.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion 8

Visit the devotion webpage for the earlier devotions in this set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.

Deacons Challenge Congregation to Participate in Reverse Offerings

Posted by | Engaging Community, Equipping Deacons | No Comments

When Rachel Vroege (Regional Ministries Developer -West) from Diaconal Ministries Canada visited the Deacons of Bethel CRC in Saskatoon last year, one idea she presented to us was that of a Reverse Offering.  We were immediately taken with the idea, and went about trying to make it work for our local Rosthern Food Bank.  We explained to our congregation what a reverse offering was, and how it worked.

On March 8th our offering bags were passed around and everyone pulled out slips of paper which had items listed on them as suggested needs for the Food Bank.  The results were amazing and the large amount of items that we took to Rosthern on March 27, 2015 speak to the many blessings we as individuals and as congregation feel we wanted to share. There was excitement in the air!

The Rosthern Food Bank people were slightly overwhelmed by our gift.  They had been running short of stock and as one of the ladies quietly said to me, “The Lord supplies.”  They asked how we had raised this amount of items.  When we told them about the “reverse offering,” the word and explanation quickly spread from one helper to the next.  I can just imagine that there will be a series of Reverse Offerings in the surrounding churches.  Great idea Rachel, and Thank You Lord!

-Jean de Beer, Diaconal Ministry Developer for Saskatchewan

(in the above photo: Bethel CRC Deacons l-r: Karen Jacobi, Liz McLean, Calvin Vaandrager, and Henk Vandenbrink)

IMG_3259_edited

A New Year: setting goals as deacons

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, resources | No Comments

The beginning of 2015 may feel like a new start after the break for Christmas. Of course there is some continuation of existing ministry patterns and activities; however, some of those activities may follow the established agendas of past leaders or they may cause your diaconate to lose focus because of old dilemmas and diverse passions.

Consider the beginning of a new year as a gift, an opportunity to review, reconsider and resurrect energy and focus!

Set some goals in your diaconate for the next 6 months, but also for the long-term (goals which might take 2 – 3 years to realize and implement).

Why set goals?  They will…

  • provide a focus for ministry.  Meetings can be repetitious and reactionary or, alternatively, they can be places to develop meaningful, just-filled ministry.  Decide next steps to meet your goals.
  • give you, as a team, a common purpose based on your charge.  Time can then be set aside each meeting to note the steps taken to achieve the goals.
  • help you to be accountable to each other as each person with unique gifts works to contribute toward the goals.
  • assist you in evaluating time and efforts together as a diaconate.  Are your time and gifts in diaconal ministry being used to love God and your neighbour?
  • serve to offer the experience of accomplishment. Take time to celebrate positive outcomes!

At your next meeting, re-consider your ministry goals and focus on those that will also engage your church members:

Diakonia, as the work of service that restores shalom, is not confined to any particular office but belongs to the church as a whole. The calling of deacons is not to perform that service on behalf of the church but to equip, empower and enable the church to live out its own diaconal calling.”  (Diakonia Remixed Report to Synod, 2012)

The multiplication of ministry will happen with the pursuit of shared goals.  The division of the workload will follow as congregational members are invited to be involved!!

–written by Katie Karsten, Justice Mobilizer for Diaconal Ministries Canada

Need some help? Click here to find a workplan template from Diaconal Ministries Canada (under Workplans & Handbooks).

NEW! Devotions for Deacons #5

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, resources, Uncategorized | No Comments

Here is the fifth devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This devotion is the second of 3 to focus on deacons and compassion.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion #5

Visit the devotion webpage for the earlier devotions inthis set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.

Beyond a Bed: tools for deacons who want to walk alongside

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, resources | No Comments

A deacon is in the waiting room of a community walk-in clinic. There is a woman beside her, slumped in her seat. She is dozing lightly; she looks exhausted. After a number of minutes, the woman seems to abandon hope of a nap. She stretches, sighs and sits up. The deacon beside her begins a conversation. It doesn’t take long until the woman shares how tired she is. She doesn’t have a bed and is having difficulty sleeping on the floor. Not to mention the nagging cough that has plagued her for months. As the deacon’s name is called and she rises to go and see the doctor, she tells the woman she wants to help and asks her for her phone number.

On Sunday at the deacon’s church there is a notice in the bulletin, asking for the donation of a bed and mattress. There is prompt response and the deacon calls the woman from the clinic to arrange a time to bring over the bed. The woman tearfully accepts the gift and begins to share more of her story. It is a story of broken relationships, untapped potential, and a lack of opportunities. There is so much behind the story and the deacon is sure the church can continue to help.

This is now more than a bulletin announcement, more than the donation of a bed. It has become about Carol. About her life. Her future, her gifts and her needs. Hopefully it will become a long-term relationship. There is beautiful potential here, which will only be fully realized by a church prepared to walk alongside and a diaconate which has discussed and decided how they are able to help.

Although this story is only loosely based on an account told by a CRC deacon, the usefulness of guidelines for helping and benevolence is real. Who will we help? How often? What boundaries might be needed? Where can we refer those whom we cannot help? Guidelines are intended to help deacons establish a framework for responding to people who request help.

Does your diaconate have something in place?

If not, check out these tools developed by Diaconal Ministries Canada staff.

Focus on Stewardship: Hope CRC in Thunder Bay

Posted by | Equipping Deacons | No Comments

Hope CRC in Thunder Bay, Ontario recently shared how they weave the theme of stewardship throughout their month of worship in September.

Deacons actively encouraged and challenged different leaders and groups to be intentional about stewardship:

1. Council was asked to think of ways to incorporate stewardship discussions into their visits in September.

2. The praise team was encouraged to find songs on stewardship for worship during the Sunday services.

3. Each year, the pastor would be challenged to preach on different types of stewardship; however, because Hope CRC is currently vacant, those leading the reading services were encouraged to find sermons about stewardship online (where there were many good ones from which to choose).

4. Each week during the month of September, little “blurbs” on stewardship were printed in the bulletin.

5. The deacons scheduled stewardship-related offerings during the month of September.

How does your church incorporate stewardship into the worship and life of your church? Leave a comment and let us know.

Looking for resources on stewardship? Click here to find a few that Diaconal Ministries Canada has compiled to get you started.

(the 5 ideas above were adapted from a piece written by Susan Otto, Chair of Deacons, Hope CRC)

NEW! Devotion for Deacons #4

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, Uncategorized | No Comments

Here is the fourth devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This devotion is the first of 3 to focus on deacons and compassion.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions. Alternatively, you may choose to simply download the devotion without the accompanying material.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion 4

Download devotion 4 without resources

Visit the devotion webpage for the first 2 devotions in the second set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.

NEW: Third Devotion for Deacons

Posted by | Equipping Deacons | No Comments

Here is the third devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. The first 3 devotions focus on deacons and community ministry.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions. Alternatively, you may choose to simply download the devotion without the accompanying material.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion 3

Download devotion 3 without resources

Visit the devotion webpage for the first 2 devotions in the second set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.