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As we continue the process of developing deacons, our most recent meeting focused on The Practice of Deacons. A previous post lists resources for A Theology of Deacons, the focus of our first meeting. In attempting to work out the practice of deacons, we found it helpful to make a distinction between two areas of service—community and mission-focused deacons.

There are two main areas of service—community-focused and mission-focused service. Mission-focused deacons serve in ways that change over time. For example, the Early Church probably didn’t have Media or Arts Deacons but they did have deacons that served widows and orphans. As the church expands and contracts throughout history, moving from continent to continent, culture to culture, the expression of the church varies. As a result, there are some areas of service that remain the same and others that change. Consequently, the cultural and historical expression of the church requires deacons that serve the mission of the church and deacons that serve a church of mission.

There are deacon ministries that are pretty standard, transcultural and transhistorical such as: mission/social justice, community/benevolence, financial. These ministries have historical and biblical precedent, focusing not so much on outward mission but more on inward ministry to the community of faith. In summary, there are community-focused and mission-focused areas of ministry for deacons, ministries that serve the mission of the church and ministries that serve the church of mission.