This monthly e-newsletter is a ministry of Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America Deacon ministries.
The work of the deacon is often associated with administering benevolence. While this is an important function, a deeper theological reflection on diakonia sees the task of the deacon as equipping church members for works of service (diakonia). Synod 2015, in fact, used Ephesians 4:12 (leadership as equipping) as part of the basis for important updates to the Church Order of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). Dr. Mariano Avila, professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, spelled this out beautifully in a background paper about the 2015 CRCNA Church Order changes:
“In summary, service is the foundational vocation of humanity and must be expressed in all areas of life. Service is the search for the well-being of creation, of our fellow human beings, and the glory of God. We are called, in a fallen world, to model with our life and in all of our relationships a central value of God’s upside-down kingdom: diakonia. We must aim for the deaconship of all believers.”
Since deacons often act as the benevolence committee of the church, this issue of For Deacons will focus on benevolence from various angles. In the future, though, we want to consider how benevolence should be just one of the functions to which deacons give oversight. To read more of Dr. Avila’s paper, Click here »