Who is Thrive?

And is Diaconal Ministries Canada part of them now?

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Many deacons have been attending Classis Meetings over the past few weeks. One of the reports included was likely from Thrive, the newly-formed CRCNA agency representing nine (9) former ministries of the CRCNA. 

Thrive supports churches in the areas of faith formation, safer churches, disability access, racial justice and diversity, pastors and church support, chaplaincy, justice, and worship. They believe that combining these nine smaller congregational ministries into one umbrella agency will allow them to be more accessible, more integrated, and more responsive as they engage with Christian Reformed congregations and ministry leaders. Above all, it hopes to address the gaps and overlaps that were happening in these individual agencies.

Before we move on, we want to address the biggest question we have been getting lately: “Is Diaconal Ministries Canada part of Thrive now?” 

No, we are not!

Diaconal Ministries Canada was created by deacons, for deacons, and was formally constituted in 2001 when several regional diaconal conferences from across Canada merged. (Read our full history HERE.)

So what’s the issue?

Many of the ministries listed above that now make up Thrive were, and still are, bi-national so when information goes out to the churches, it will include things that don’t necessarily pertain to Canadian churches, but are helpful and relevant to our US neighbours. Therefore we know this may cause confusion for some of you.

For example, you will see that in their most recent Eastern Canada update (called “The Playlist”) they are looking for churches to ‘test’ their newly developed “Deacon Essentials” course. 

In this article, we hope to clarify for the Canadian churches and diaconates why and how this course was developed and who this course is for. 

Who is this new course for?

As most of you already know, our sister churches to the south don’t have an agency like Diaconal Ministries Canada. To date, there have been some regional diaconal conferences assisting deacons in their ministry and/or staff from World Renew US. The development of a training workshop hoped to address this ‘gap’.

Diaconal Ministries’ staff was aware of this new ‘curriculum’ coming down the pipe and we asked if we could assist in providing input during its development, based on our years of working alongside deacons in the CRCNA. Thrive did consult us and some of our initial input did get into the curriculum. We were also able to see the prototype of the training module and give our feedback. 

Because Diaconal Ministries has had a presence in Canada for over 20 years and because we believe we know and understand the Canadian context and how it relates to diaconal work, we were able to come to an understanding with Thrive that we would not be using this material when training and equipping Canadian deacons. Over the years, we have developed our own workshops and ways of training deacons, like our Deacon 101 workshop. Thrive also agreed to make us aware if anyone in Canada signs up for the course.

So, if this course/curriculum comes up at your next council or deacon’s meeting, we wanted to make mention of the above so we’re all ON THE SAME PAGE!

So what now then?

Once again, this course was primarily created for US deacons who don’t have a national diaconal agency. (See how blessed you all are!) This is also a good time to let you know that we would love to hear from you about the ways in which we can assist you in your ministry. Every Classis in Canada has access to a local Diaconal Coach and/or a Regional Ministry Developer who can lead workshops and trainings or just sit and visit with your team of deacons.

It’s important for us to note that we are encouraged by the ways in which our denomination strives to engage with its ministry leaders, offering support and promoting collaboration. 

We look forward to the ways in which we can work with Thrive here in Canada and pray God will bless this agency as they provide expertise, wisdom, and compassionate support to congregations across Canada and the USA!

Still Have Questions? 

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