While district superintendents supervise clergy, including deacons, they tend to get pulled to emergencies and urgent tasks. Sometimes they don’t find time to meet with the clergy who do not pose a problem!
Given that district superintendents are the “chief missional strategists” of the conference (¶419.1), assist them by helping them think about how they can make use of deacons in their strategy. Demonstrate how you and other deacons in your conference connect people outside the church to the church’s ministry. This is one way to keep the ministry of deacons before the cabinet.
Here are some ways some deacons are taking initiative:
Initiate meetings: Contact your district superintendent and ask to meet with them quarterly or semi-annually for a lunch or other convenient time.
Group meetings: If your district has three or more deacons, consider group rather than individual meetings with the district superintendent.
Agenda: Take initiative on preparing what you’d like to discuss with the DS. Possibilities:
- An update on your ministry, particularly how you are equipping the baptized to address the needs of the world.
- An update on what your order is doing to lead the conference’s ministry to equip the baptized and lead the church’s mission to the marginalized.
- Suggestions on how you and/or the order would like to assist the district or conference in meeting the UMC mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Examples: Lead the conference in a hands-on mission project at annual conference session; create and train churches in using a curriculum to address poverty in your region; design a training for churches in developing discipleship systems; consult in your area of expertise, etc.
- Information refreshers: The Disciplinary description that the deacon assists in worship and what that looks like; appointment and severance processes for deacons; Disciplinary paragraphs on compensation and benefits for deacons; appropriate deacon appointments; how deacon ministries enhance a congregation’s ministry to the community; helping Staff-Parish Relations Committees understand their responsibilities related to deacons; etc.
- Ask how you can hold the DS in your prayers