Juleen Villis writes:
I have spent the last week attending the National Minister’s Conference 2011 - Adelaide. It was great to catch up with many of my deacon colleagues again; however most of the 100+ attendees were Ministers’ of the Word. On reflection I am struck by the profound diaconal nature of almost everything that was said throughout the week as we were encouraged to explore ways to engage those who are ‘ not yet members of any church’. Phrases such as ‘out there’, ‘taking the altar to the people, not bringing the people to the altar’, ‘incarnational mission’ that ‘encompasses God’s mission for the whole world’ made me feel right at home and an excitement in realising the unique opportunity deacons have to encourage all ministers in the quest to do ministry diaconally. This does not mean that all minister’s must be deacons, but that those of us who have a call and gifts for ministry to ‘those not yet members of any church’ can lead the way when, inevitably change becomes difficult. The conference made it clear that this move toward what is a more diaconal way of doing ministry is imperative if the church is to not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century.
I would be interested in the comments of other deacons who attended the conference.