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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.

Deacons and Transitions

Posted by | Equipping Deacons, Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s that time of the year again. And it may feel like your diaconate is starting all over.

Here are some suggestions to ease the transition for your new deacons and for your diaconate as you move forward together.

10 Important Transitional Issues to Consider:

(follow the links for resources connected to each transitional issue)

  1. What deacons do: Re-read and discuss the “charge” to Deacons.
  2. How to start well: Check our website for devotions.
  3. Build Community and form a strong team: Click here for some suggestions.
  4. Gifts for Ministry: Examine what gifts you have around your “diaconal table.”
  5. Organizing your ministry plans: Develop a Diaconate workplan.
  6. Schedule a Diaconal Ministry Developer (DMD) visit: Who are they?
  7. Develop your ministry: Guidelines for setting an offering schedule, benevolence, etc.
  8. Diaconal Ministry Shares: Why do we pay them?
  9. Diaconal Ministries Canada: Interested in our Annual Report?
  10. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out the FAQs or contact the Diaconal Ministries Canada office (Madeline).

There is something for everyone at the Day of Encouragement!

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How can you become more effective as you volunteer in your church and community?

  • By meeting other people who are passionate for God’s Kingdom and their community.
  • By sharing stories, worship, and experiences with others.
  • By learning from experts in a workshop setting.
  • By asking questions and engaging in dialogue.
  • By enhancing current skills and developing new ones.

This is what the Day of Encouragement is all about!

No matter how and where you serve, come and be encouraged, inspired, and equipped!

After you interact, make connections, listen, learn and praise God, you will leave at the end of the day all fired up to go back to your church and community and serve God where He has placed you.

What to know more?

Click here for the Ancaster (Ontario) Day of Encouragement (October 18, 2014)

Click here for the Edmonton (Alberta) Day of Encouragement (November 8, 2014)

We will see you there!

Doing it Differently: Empowering Deacons to Serve

Posted by | Equipping Deacons | No Comments

Has your church found it difficult to get people to serve as Deacons and Elders?

Our church definitely has experienced this phenomenon in the past few years.  I think our record was more than 8 “no’s” before we got 1 “yes.”  Now that’s pretty sad.  One of the things we were discovering was that people agreed to serve in the role of Deacon or Elder and then, once they found out what it was like and what the expectations were, they found that it didn’t really fit with their gifts.  We also discovered that we didn’t really have adequate training to ensure that new office-bearers felt comfortable in their roles and were able to succeed in fulfilling the church’s expectations.   This left us in an awkward spot. And, yet, the church really needs people to serve in those roles to meet the needs of the community.

This year, we looked at how to improve -to create a more informed decision, and also to better equip those in service.  One of the first things we wanted to do was make the idea of serving less intimidating. So how did we do that?

Well, we invited God into the process.

First, we had people approach potential candidates and ask them to consider praying about the opportunity to serve.  Then we invited them to an information session. This was an amazing experience.

At this meeting, we gave each candidate a job description, highlighting some of the expectations.  Then the best part was hearing from current Deacons and Elders, who shared powerful, personal testimonies of how God really equipped them to fulfill these roles.  Many times they felt inadequate, but God showed up and they were blessed and able to do more than they possibly imagined.

At the end of the meeting, candidates were asked to go and continue to seek God’s will and pray for this opportunity.  They would also receive personal follow-up from a current Deacon or Elder to address any further concerns or fears.

Finally, we asked candidates to make a decision.  And we had an incredible turn-around!  This year, we have 3 new deacon positions available, and we actually have more candidates than positions for the first time since many of us can remember.  Soon, we will be letting God choose those who will be serving Him in the roles of Deacon and Elder.

Our next step is to work with the new leaders by equipping and encouraging them in their roles.  We plan to have some mentoring from more experienced Deacons and Elders.  To help newcomers understand their roles, we will also take advantage of denominational events, such as the Day of Encouragement, and resources like the Deacon and Elder handbooks.

It’s important to note that we did not develop this process ourselves.  It is a treasured best practice among other CRCs which ServiceLink learned about, has documented, and passed on to many other churches.

I pray this will be a blessing to your church as you continue to think about how to invite people into serving and leading in the church.

-written by Lesley Millar Toussaint, Diaconal Ministries Canada Board member, Classis Toronto

NEW! Second Devotion for Deacons

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Here is the second devotion for deacons in the latest set from Diaconal Ministries Canada.

In our conversations with deacons across the country, we often summarize 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 hope and pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your deacons will grow and deepen their relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download Devotion #2 with resources

Download Devotion #2 without resources

Visit the web page with the first devotion.

A Shared Vision

Posted by | Doing Justice | No Comments

It has often been said that a few of the church’s members do all of the work!  I began to ponder about how that unfolds.  I wondered:  Are we receptive and responsive for all to share their capacity and their gifts?  Is there a “welcome” for all to contribute?

Studies have shown that 1 in 5 people struggle with a kind of impairment which also could be called a disability or a special need.  This could vary from a mental diagnosis to a visual impairment to a chronic, long-term illness.

How do we offer respect, dignity and value to a percentage of people who might not be engaged in church life as they might like because of the myths, misunderstandings and barriers surrounding their circumstances?  One of the primary calls of the deacons is to extend mercy to those in need.  It may be obvious when a walker or wheelchair is visible, but more often the challenges related to disabilities happen behind closed doors.

This morning’s breakfast brought these thoughts to mind. A mother shared her experiences of isolation even though her son’s mental health struggles are well-known throughout their community. The seat next to her on the bleachers at the baseball diamond remains vacant!  She experiences being alone in her journey because no one seems sure that it is helpful to be “with” her.  She needs presence and acceptance.  Pat answers, unreal assurances, pious platitudes, suggested fixes and reasons for the suffering of mental illness are not necessary!

In that spirit, Diaconal Ministries Canada, through its network of deacons, partners with Disability Concerns by connecting with Disability Advocates in congregations. Together, deacons and advocates might seek out those who need support and invite everybody to contribute their gifts, passions and abilities to the church’s ministries, mission and leadership.  When a church engages in “asking and listening” with people who have disabilities, that church will help to cultivate dignity, inclusion and involvement.

How valuable for the different organizations of the body of Christ to encourage and support each other’s missions and values!!  As our churches become active and visible places of inclusion, they will also become attractive and welcoming for any neighbor seeking community.

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

Click here for DMC’s justice resources related to those with disabilities.

Click here to be re-directed to Disability Concerns website.

National Aboriginal Day: June 21

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Join with churches across Canada to respond to the call for reconciliation with indigenous peoples. There are many resources available to help you learn about what reconciliation might look like, and there are opportunities  to act, advocate and be involved individually and as a church.

  • For background information on Aboriginal justice in Canada, and more information, opportunities and resources, navigate through the justice pages of the Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC) website.
  • Learn about the resources available for Aboriginal Sunday from the Canadian Aboriginal Committee of the Christian Reformed Church.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of and response to God’s call to let justice flow like  a river personally and communally through DMC’s partner, The Office of Social Justice.
  • Join the conversation about social justice in the CRC through the do justice blog. Read the recent piece written by Shannon Perez (Canadian Ministries’ Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer) on the “courageous act of being vulnerable at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Pray that God will continue to prompt and equip the church to respond in love to our Aboriginal neighbours.

NEW! Devotions for Deacons

Posted by | Equipping Deacons | No Comments

Since the last release of a set of devotions specific to deacons and written specifically for use in deacons meetings, there have been requests for another set.

Today Diaconal Ministries Canada is publishing the first devotion in a new set.

In our conversations with deacons across the country, we often summarize the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This new set will include 3 devotions on each of these areas.

A new devotion will be posted each month on the blog for the next 12 months. Each devotion will be available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions. Alternatively, you may choose to simply download the devotion without the accompanying material.

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

Download Devotion #1 with resources

Download Devotion #1 without resources

Operation Manna Partner: Mosaic Centre in Edmonton, Alberta

Posted by | Engaging Community | No Comments

Mosaic Centre has been a recipient of Operation Manna (OM) funding for the past 4 years. In addition to the financial seed money that OM has gifted us, we have also been blessed by excellent mentoring from Diaconal Ministries Canada.

During this time, we have grown from a “green” start-up ministry into a valuable and healthy community resource. We serve over 500 homeless and impoverished individuals from northeast Edmonton, and receive referrals of people in need from local businesses, police, social agencies, and residents. The people who use our services have developed a respect for the area and have move into healthier lifestyles. In the area directly around Mosaic Centre, the crime rate has even dropped by 20%. Every day we witness lives impacted and changed as we build relationships with our community members and offer Christian hospitality.

Throughout the past winter and with the help of staff and volunteers, community members gathered around a wholesome meal on Sunday evenings to hear God’s Word and openly share their thoughts and questions. At the end of April, the community expressed disappointment in losing the extended winter hours. They requested, however, that “Mosaic church” continue to meet -something that has always been a part of Mosaic’s vision. Once again, volunteers have stepped up to host this weekly gathering for the community.

For more than 5 years now, Mosaic Centre has also been included in the curriculum of some of the area high schools. As a result of stories shared in one school, a student was moved to sleep outside for 6 months through the bitter Alberta winter in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the homeless and Mosaic Centre. Collin Messelink’s story was shared by the media, and many people learned about, and donated to Mosaic. People who had never considered the lives of a homeless individual were moved to view them as neighbours.

Every day at Mosaic Centre is a gift as we open our doors and meet new people. The community comes to trust and confide in staff and volunteers who help them to make positive life changes. We are grateful to Operation Manna for walking with us during these past 4 years, and we look forward to what new adventures God will bring through the doors of Mosaic Centre.

-written by Linda Deveau, from Mosaic Centre

There is more information about the Operation Manna program on the Diaconal Ministries website.

Go to the Mosaic Centre’s website for more information on Mosaic and the story about Collin Messelink.

Updated Resources

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Be sure to check out the following resources for deacons, updated and reformatted.

Guidelines for Benevolence sm

 

Guidelines for BenevolenceThis resource offers suggestions to help deacons develop priorities and set boundaries as they reach out in love to their neighbours.

 

 

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Growing as a Community of DeaconsThis resource provides practical ideas to help deacons capitalize on opportunities for growth and development in their meetings.