Monday, March 16, 2009

The Ministry of Deacons

Although baptism is a sign of God’s calling of every believer into ministry, from among the baptized, Deacons are called to a lifetime of servant leadership, authorized by the church and ordained by the bishop.  Deacons are in servant ministry in the world and lead the Church in making the essential connection between our devotion to God expressed in our daily worship with the work God is doing in the world. 

Deacons give leadership in the church’s life in the teaching and proclaiming of the Word, in worship, in assisting the elders in administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in forming and nurturing disciples, in conducting marriages and burying the dead.  Deacons are ordained to serve in the church and the world in the United Methodist Church.

Deacons help the church hear the cries of those most needy, neglected and marginalized in our communities and respond.  Deacons are used of God to empower the church to see Jesus in their world and to respond in practical ways.  They help us see Jesus when he is hungry and show us ways to invite Jesus to our table.  Deacons can see Christ in need of adequate shelter and the basic necessities of life, and share with us a vision of change.  Deacons help the church find ways of touching those who are locked away from the world, by prisons, some physical, some emotional, and others spiritual.  Deacons hear God’s call for the church to learn a new language, to reach out in ways the stranger can understand and organize the church to make sure that it is done.  Deacons respond to God’s call to make the church “green,” lighting the way to transforming ways of being the Church of Jesus Christ in the world.  Deacons teach us the importance of play and sport, the need to organize and protest and resurrect communities from social and spiritual despair.  What is God’s call upon your life? Is God calling you to be a Deacon in the life of the church?  Pray about it.  Talk to your pastor. Deacons are an important part of the ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Bishop for this wonderful perspective. As one who came into ministry knowing that my calling was one of service and a yearning to connect the Church with the needs of the community, the Order of the Deacon has fulfilled my life in so many powerful ways. As a Deacon in Full Connection here in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, I am proud to join the diverse expressions of deacon ministries ranging from AIDS outreach to economic development and from communications to education. Rev. David W. Brown, Deacon