“In imitation of Christ’s mercy, deacons teach us to love God, our neighbours, and the creation with acts of generous sharing, joyful hospitality, thoughtful care, and wise stewardship of all of God’s gifts.”
CRCNA Form for the Installation of Elders and Deacons – 2016
Diaconal Ministries provides training and materials to foster an acute awareness among deacons and churches of the importance of stewardship in the Christian life.
Please explore the resources below.
Deacons are to encourage their congregations to live stewardly. More practically, to ask the question: “How can my whole life show that Jesus is my Lord?”
Stewardship is the faithful management of all that God has entrusted to us so that creation and all who live in it may flourish. It involves understanding that everything we have is a gift from God and we are called to 'steward' it in ways that please Him and bring Him glory.
For simplicity, we say the 4 T's of Stewardship are:
Stewardship Pilot Project
Do you struggle with how you can help your church to “excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7)?
We're here to help! In partnership with Christian Stewardship Services and the CRCNA in Canada, Diaconal Ministries launched a Stewardship Pilot Project in 2020 designed to help deacons increase their churches’ awareness of the Biblical principles of stewardship, and help them live those principles out in practical, measurable ways.
We have created several new resources and an online video course that churches can walk through is launching THIS SPRING!
“Each of the 5 sessions brought a follow-up e-mail from Karla [the leader], each with notes of encouragement and one or two online resources we can tap into for future use. I give this workshop a 10/10!” - Doug, Stewardship Bible Study participant
Diaconal Ministries Canada has been most helpful in providing leadership and resources especially in this Pandemic time. Thank you! - Margo, Stewardship Bible Study participant
I was part of the 5-week Stewardship Study, based on the book "What Do I Owe". I learned that stewardship is a lifestyle. I now have lots of ideas to take back to my congregation; in particular, starting a stewardship committee is a great idea to help disseminate the information. The book was excellent and so was this 5-week study! - Kathy, Stewardship Study participant
Karla was a great leader! She was well prepared and moved at a moderate steady pace. There was lots of time for everyone to speak whenever they wanted. The material was great as well. It was really nice to connect with other Deacons from across Canada. Zoom was a great way to do this 5 session/5 week workshop. -Mitzie, Stewardship Book Study Participant
Benevolence is closely tied to stewardship but more specifically to how we support the people around us. The Christian Reformed Church's charge to the deacons 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.
Creating a Stewardship Team
While stewardship falls under the mandate of the Deacons, a designated team will educate your congregation and facilitate action towards greater Biblical stewardship in ALL areas of life.
What EVERY Stewardship Team Should Do
So you've got a Stewardship Team... now what?!
We've put together the top 5 tasks your team should do to get off on the right foot!
Stewardship and discipleship go hand-in-hand. Incorporating consistent stewardship 'language' and themes into your worship gatherings will allow your congregation to grow in the grace of giving (2 Cor. 8:5-7).
Share this resource with your pastor and/or worship committee.
We've compiled a list of books and small group studies to help your diaconate get started in learning what biblical stewardship is.
SPARK stewardship in your congregation!
We've compiled quotes and bible verses for deacons to share - on social media channels, in your church's communications and to display during worship (powerpoint slides) and on bulletin boards.
We've also put some into graphics all ready to go! Click the link below to check it out.
Everything in God's good creation has been entrusted to our care.
What does that look like in our every day lives?
Community gardens are an excellent way for churches to steward their resources for the good of their neighbours. Here are some resources to help you get started:
Climate Witness Project
We believe that our world belongs to God and everything in it matters. How then can churches love their neighbours and be good stewards of creation?
Need some help?
Every single thing we have, from our hairbrush to our homes, belongs to God.
No matter how hard we have worked for it, God cares about how we use our 'stuff' and share it with others.
A ministry-focused budget can provide a snapshot to church members (and particularly new members) of how a church is living stewardly into the mission God has called them to. It will inspire your members to give faithfully and generously.
Here is one sample brochure - use this to create your own!
These can be shared in a variety of ways in your church - place them in the pews, give one to new members when they join your church or when someone does profession of faith, include with your monthly Stewardship Newsletters or other church communications - or whenever and however you wish!
What are Ministry Shares?
In 1862, Christian Reformed congregations covenanted to pool their resources in order to do more and greater ministry together. Today we call this Ministry Shares.
Check out the CRCNA's website for more information on where this money goes and why.
[*NOTE: These are different than Diaconal Ministry Shares that we collect to fund our work. Find out more HERE.]
Offering As Part of Worship
The Offering time is so much more than simply drawing attention to the monies needed to ‘meet the church budget’ (for programs, building maintenance, salaries, etc). It is our response of gratitude for blessings we receive from God, our Heavenly Father.
The Offering should be an integrated part of the worship service. Here are some ways to do that.
Choosing Which Ministries to Support
With so many worthy and worthwhile causes, how can deacons decide which ones to support?
Here are some guidelines to help your diaconate (team of deacons) discern and decide.
CRCNA Offering Calendar & Deacon's Worksheet
Check out the CRCNA's Church Year Resources page to find The Offering Calendar, Deacons' Helper Worksheet, and other helpful resources.
Offering Schedule Guidelines
An offering schedule must reflect the vision and direction of the congregation in its ministry.
Perhaps time is one of our greatest commodities: it's free, yet priceless. How can followers of Jesus use their time wisely to accomplish what God has called them to do?
Spending Time with God
We become more like God's children as we spend time with Him (see Romans 8:29). Set aside time at your meetings to do devotions together, listening and learning and letting God lead you.
Look over our Recommended Reading and Resources list. It includes book studies, devotions, websites, and more.
God has made each one of us to serve a purpose in His Kingdom, using the gifts and abilities He has blessed us with.
Discover Your Gifts
We thank God for the wonderful diversity He created within the body of Christ (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12)! Each person can benefit another as you each use your gifts to glorify God!
Take the online survey now to discover your spiritual gifts.
Need more help?
Not sure where to start? Our Diaconal Coaches are here to help.
Are you having trouble downloading or viewing any of our resources?
Contact us today and we'll lend a hand!
Deacons are called to minister with compassion, aka mercy. Compassion is made visible through visits to people in the church and in the community.
[Sample] Application/Intake Form for Financial Assistance
A first step when someone is requesting help is having a clear and simple intake/application form. Here is one deacons may use when working with someone seeking assistance.
[Sample] Financial Information Statement
This more detailed financial form can be used when someone is seeking financial assistance from your church/diaconate. This is only a sample and can be adjusted to fit your church's policies.
Guidelines for Benevolence
This valuable resource is intended to help deacons establish a framework for responding to people who request help.
[Sample] Benevolence Policy
Every church needs a Benevolence Policy! Here is an example of a Church Benevolence Policy from New Life CRC (Guelph, ON).
Financial Life Coaching
Deacons: Would you like to get off the treadmill of providing short-term financial help that doesn't seem to really change lives?
Deacons are now able to offer a more sustainable solution to their church and broader community through Financial Life Coaching.
We've partnered with Ms. Anja Attema who will work directly with your church/diaconate. Anja can provide sustainable solutions and her coaching is accessible and affordable for everyone.
Find out more HERE.
Need more help?
Want to go deeper? Not sure where to start?
Our Diaconal Coaches and Regional Field Staff are here to help!
Developing Benevolence Guidelines Workshop
Veteran or new deacons can both struggle to find helpful ways to address complicated situations. The context in which we are now living is constantly changing and so we also need to adapt and adjust the way we do things as we serve in God’s Kingdom. Having clearly defined Guidelines will help you know when to spend a significant amount of time with a request, who to give to (or not) or when to refer to other community agencies.
This workshop will help you and your team of deacons know how best to respond to various situations in your church and/or community, as well as receive some effective criteria to help develop (or revisit) a workable policy.
Contact us to host your own workshop.
Helping Without Harming in Church Benevolence
“I wish our church could do more to truly help those in financial need among us.”
Have you ever thought that? Building on the teachings of "Helping Without Harming," this workshop will guide your church and deacons to implement a wise approach to your benevolence work.
Discover how food banks, deacon funds, and other benevolent activities can be more meaningful and have a greater impact.
Contact one of our Regional Ministry Developers to learn more and/or to schedule a workshop today!
"Helping Without Harming" Workshop
“When relief is merely a bandaid that alleviates the symptoms of poverty but fails to address the root causes, then it is illegitimate. Such assistance merely helps people to manage their poverty rather than to escape from it.”
(Establishing a Church-based Welfare-to-Work Mentoring Ministry, by Amy Sherman)
Deacons want to help - but what if our help could actually be doing harm? What if our programs and resources aren't addressing the root causes of poverty, food insecurity and other injustices?
This workshop trains and equips churches and organizations to address poverty and injustice both locally and globally in good, helpful, wholesome ways.
Visit our Events page regularly to find a workshop near you. Or click below to contact us to host your own workshop! We'll help you with all of the promotion and planning.