Becoming a clergy deacon entails more than getting a title. Upon election into full membership, the deacon becomes an accountable member of an order, the community of deacons in your conference. Help people in candidacy learn about your order, its commitments, and its members. Create a kind of “novitiate” program for candidates.
A few ideas:
- Invite the candidates to certain gatherings of deacons (perhaps at annual conference).
- Introduce them to other deacons, so they can learn the breadth of deacons’ ministries, perhaps meet someone who is in a similar ministry, and develop a deeper understanding of the ordained diaconate. Although candidates have candidacy mentors, the more deacons the candidate meets, the broader the perspective the candidate will obtain. (Be careful to observe boundaries with deacons who are Board of Ordained Ministry or District Committee on Ministry members, so they will not have to recuse themselves from board/committee discussions of the candidate.)
- Share your order covenant with the candidates.
- Prepare a prayer calendar that includes praying for the candidates as they take steps through the process.
- Send a note of general encouragement to candidates every year when they return to school (or a DCom interview) in the fall.
- Keep them informed about deacon training events in your conference or across the connection.