Monday, January 19, 2009

Deacons - M.I.A.

It seems my ramblings have been the catalyst for the thoughts of a few of my readers. They, in turn, have given me some interesting ideas for use at SPC. I hope that this continues in future posts of mine, and the comments that those posts may generate.

Now, tonight was our monthly Session meeting, I've been asking questions about what our Deacons are supposed to do, and tonight I asked who takes care of the coffee hour. Turns out that the pastor does make the coffee, however, I also found out that its has not always been the case. It seems that it started when some of the Deacons a few years ago found out that the Pastor got to church early, so early that he could start the coffee pot (the usual 40 or 50 cup percolator) so that the coffee will be ready for the 'fellowship time'. Of course, there is no real fellowship time, nor is there any hospitality either.

Now that the Deacons don't have to worry about the coffee, all they need to do is pick up the donuts, put them out on a tray, and leave. There's a 'tip jar' that says all donations go to the Deacons Fund to help pay for the donuts. No staff, nobody to help the visitor, and so on. Now, the kids get to get a donut prior to Sunday School and, I have to say, I'm fond of the cinnamon buns they get. However, nobody's there during Sunday School (except a few parents waiting for the kids to get out of Sunday School so they can leave), no one there during Worship to direct people if needed, and no one there after worship, since most people leave to head home, lunch, or watch the local team play football.

While driving our Worship Elder home, she related something to me that didn't shock me, but did confirm what I already figured about our Board of Deacons. That Session is not exercising its oversight responsibility, and the Deacons really don't do all that much. The Worship Elder was telling me about the Christmas flowers that were supposed to be delivered to our shut-ins. Evidently there were 10 poinsettas that were available for use. The Elder personally took one to a shut-in, however, the rest of the flowers are still sitting at church. Obviously, they are not fit for any delivery, so they will become compost.

That said, there appeared in the monthly newsletter a self-congratulatory note on the Deacon's Page thanking those deacons who made deliveries. This is not sitting well with the Elder, as she's going to be looking for Deacons to serve Communion during Holy Week. I wasn't sure if it was on Holy Thursday, or Easter Sunday, but she's got her doubts that she'll get the number of Deacons necessary.

Something else came up, evidently the Deacon Moderator tried to get out of all flower delivery, by asking the Elder, "Isn't it your job on the Worship Commission to deliver the flowers?", evidently with 11 Deacons, they don't have enough people. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly what their duties are.

And so it goes ...

Aside to Mac: anxiously awaiting your next post over at the 'Scuttlebutt'.


  1. With sad, drooping eyes, he responds, "I've been sick."


    Graying Pres will be back tomorrow.

  2. Figured that ... hope you're feeling better.

  3. This is all very typical (unfortunately) this is why when we re-established the deacons we did so not as a board but as individuals with a calling to serve.

    Next we formed a ministry team with an Elder as chair, the Pastor as an ex officio member, and the Deacons are the members of the team.

    The purpose is not delivering flowers (although a nice idea sounds like it's turned into a burden) and into a team of people seeking to care for the whole congregation.

    It's still developmental but the call to the Deacons is not to fullfill programing of the church - but to "Deke" that is love on the congregation in Christ's name.

    Now the two ministries you mention sound like great ideas - but if nobody really cares to do them - why are they being done?

    As you describe it it is not fulfilling a purpose other than to fill people's tummies.

    May be a case of killing the programs, finding the right people, and then letting those people determine what the programs should be.

    Too harsh, uneducated, unsolicitated advice? Very likely but I hope it stirs some thoughts.

  4. I wish that there was a magic wand to waive and make this situation change-- but your congregation sounds like a swamped boat encountering a hurricane. Are there any folks who really "get it" in the congregation-- people who are in the Word, who pray, who are willing to sacrifice and serve?
    Is the pastor willing to gather them together, and help them grow? The only way I know to impact that kind of system is to seek out the people who are willing, no matter who they are or where they serve/don't serve, and to start there.
    If it's only you and your pastor, Jesus sets the bar low, and you pass it ("where two or more are gathered in my name..."). There are a lot of us out here in the weeds hacking away with you. Keep the faith!

  5. Bill,

    sounds like a great way to reconstitute the Deacons. Unfortunately, I don't believe the Session gets it.

    Clay, I think my answer above tells you about this church. Its more country club, than congregation.



I'm not one to moderate comments, as I try to moderate my own at other blogs. That said, I will remove offensive, defaming and otherwise inappropriate comments when needed.