The following resources are intended to help you in developing the ministry of your diaconate. They are helpful to gain a deeper understanding of your mandate as Deacons.

The Deacons' Mandate

What better place to start than by first re-reading your mandate! When you were installed into the Office of Deacon, this is what you agreed to do in order to lead and equip your congregation.

Guidelines for Preparing an Offering Schedule

The offering in church is much more than a “collection.” It is an act of worship! When deacons are “weighing the needs of causes,” they are thinking about how to help people excel in the grace of giving. These guidelines will provide some biblical perspective on giving, direction on how best to promote the offering, guidelines for preparing the offering schedule and discerning between ministries to support.

Offerings as Part of Worship

Giving is an essential act of worship, integral to the very message of the gospel – the gift of God, His Son’s life, to His people. In this respect, the offering time becomes most meaningful when it is an integrated part of the worship service. An inspiring, informed introduction, which may include a verse or two from Scripture, can highlight this activity as one that represents and enhances our relationship with God. Note the suggested Scriptures related to themes of Christian living. Offerings, as tangible expressions of trust in God, may also be accompanied by prayer. Guidelines and samples of different offertory prayers are available.

Help with Benevolence

In the charge to the deacons, it states that “benevolence is a quality of our life in Christ, and not merely a matter of financial assistance.” Benevolence involves a lifestyle of love, respect and compassion. To that end, this document provides some very useful ideas to help deacons develop “guidelines for benevolence,” use a plan of action when providing long term help, and identify people who will be able to partner with people in the ministry of mercy. It also addresses attitudes and behaviors that are needed to help deacons relate to people in need.

Below is an example of a Deacon Fund Benevolence Policy and financial forms developed and used by a CRC diaconate in Western Canada.

Leading an Effective Diaconate

Diaconal ministry is primarily about growing in love for God, and growing in our relationships with others. Deacons’ meetings can be the place where we “practice” what it means to minister to others as well as being ministered to ourselves! The diaconate can develop its ‘meeting’ to becoming a community, or a small group. These guidelines will be helpful to develop new practices and an enhanced agenda that will result in better relationships in your group.

Devotions in Your Diaconate

Do you wish devotions were more than a dutiful exercise at the beginning of a meeting? Here are some suggestions on how to build sharing time and discernment for the ways in which God is working in and through your diaconate’s meetings. Prayer for one another, sharing and a devotional reading will help the deacons “reach in” to the Word before they reach out to others.

Crafting Better Meetings

Skills to provide leadership in your diaconate’s meetings may be developed by these guidelines. Discover how to shape an agenda, involve others and serve by example as your diaconate sets priorities and goals for their ministry. Note the practical tips to lead an effective meeting which includes a sample agenda, guidelines for a secretary and how to work successfully with different people. These guidelines assist deacons in their meetings to: develop community; develop awareness and skills in diaconal ministry; meet goals in ministry; intercede in prayer for others; and develop ongoing encouragement and accountability.

Fundamentals of Recruitment

Many churches and councils find recruitment to be their most challenging task! As we all know, potential council members aren’t likely to magically appear at your doorstep imploring you to commit them to service, even if you did compose a fun and catchy bulletin announcement. Having a well thought-out Recruitment Strategy is a must before you begin searching for new council members. Here are some resources to get you on your way!

Making Visits

Deacons are able to build relationships with people when they minister with the compassion of Christ. Here’s a great overall view of how to care for your congregation:

As listed above in the Ten Ways, compassion is made visible through visits to people in the church and in the community. The visit may be to a shut-in with crippling arthritis, a family without adequate housing or a young adult whose mental agonies seem endless. Every visit will have its own unique circumstances; these guidelines will help you set the practical framework for any visit. They provide you with relevant Scripture for many different circumstances, open-ended questions to initiate meaningful conversations and creative suggestions to show others you care.

Stewardship Resources

Diaconal Ministries Canada is partnering with Christian Stewardship Services and other agencies to equip deacons and churches in stewardship living, which involves the 4 T’s: Time, Talents (skills), Treasures ($) & Trees (Creation Care). Through this partnership and in conversation with churches, we have identified a number of resources that may be a good starting point for churches and diaconates.

Work Plans & Handbooks

These resources provide encouragement and clarity to the work of the diaconate. They are the result of many years of “field testing” and have helped deacons excel in their commitment to ministry.

Workplan for Deacons: 

  • Use this TEMPLATE to help your diaconate develop a plan for the year.

Deacons on the Move, by Katie Karsten

This downloadable diaconal resource was developed with 4 parts. Through exercises, it equips and empowers deacons by kindling and invigorating their diaconal gifts to be used in a genuine, mutually transforming love of neighbour.

  • Part 1 unpacks the biblical heart of a deacon. It looks at the charge accepted by the deacon as it relates to varied activities. To maximize the time and capacity of deacons together, a goal-setting exercise with delegation of responsibilities is suggested.
  • Part 2 focuses on the importance of each deacon serving out of his/her unique passions and gifts. Church members need to be inspired to be helpful partners in diaconal ministry. Involve and value their participation so the ministry of mercy is multiplied.
  • Part 3 provides varied venues/opportunities for deacons to use to love their communities. To assist the church to connect with their neighbours, discover the “Community Opportunity Scan”: how a church experiences God at work in the community and discovers how it might join him.
  • Part 4 looks at partners that the deacon/the church has in diaconal ministry. Discover the value of partners and the varied partners that are available: World Renew, Christian Stewardship Services and the Office of Social Justice. Through partnerships, diaconal work is strengthened and enlarged.

The Deacon’s Handbook, by Lori Wiersma and Connie Kuiper VanDyke

Deacons serve God’s people and God’s church in so many ways. They assess needs, promote stewardship and hospitality, collect and distribute resources, confront injustice, and develop programs of assistance. While this task is vitally important, it can feel overwhelming at times.

Whether you’re a seasoned deacon or someone who’s new to church leadership, this handbook will help you perform your duties with efficiency and compassion as you share God’s love with those around you.