Diaconate


Who We Are and What We Do

The Diaconate, a group of men and women nominated, trained, elected and appointed by Redeemer elders and members, exists to contribute to the building of a repentant and rejoicing community through loving, truth-telling relationships where practical, visible needs are being met while hearts are being changed through encounters with Jesus and one another. We express in practical ways Christ's command to all believers to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Diaconate is a ministry of mercy that reaches out to people in Redeemer's congregation who are in crisis or in challenging circumstances and offers help in assessing their needs and working together to find solutions. Unlike elders, who are responsible for teaching the Gospel, administering healing prayer, and overseeing the church, the Diaconate (deacons and deaconesses) focuses on extending mercy and compassion. God's mercy moves Him to relieve suffering and misery. 'Mercy' is the impulse that makes us sensitive to hurts and lacks in others and makes us desire to alleviate them. Our purpose is to show God's love and mercy by trying to help people out of difficult circumstances and to be facilitators of the work God is doing in their lives.

For more information, check out the Diaconate brochure here.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a deacon or deaconess or how to nominate someone for office, please visit our Nominations page.

What Do Deacons and Deaconesses Do?

Click on the images below to hear how the Diaconate ministers to our congregation.

 

  • Practically assist and encourage Redeemer members and regular attendees in challenging circumstances
  • Pray, answer questions and give counsel after all Redeemer services
  • Conduct church membership interviews
  • Various other administrative and operational tasks and roles

What Are Our Core Values and Beliefs?

Gospel

  • As Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37).
  • Because of God's great mercy to us, we offer mercy to our brothers and sisters (Matthew 5:7; 1 Timothy 1:12-14; James 2:12-18; Micah 6:8).

Community

  • We are to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 17:3-4; Matthew 18:15-20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 4:12-13).

Changed People

  • If there are any poor among the body, we are to respond generously with grace, mercy and truth to meet their needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Acts 2:44-45; 1 Thes. 4:11-12; 2 Thes. 3:6-10; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2 Peter 1:3-11).

How Do We Help?

Church members and regular attendees can receive help in many ways. Below are a few examples:

  • Financial assistance with bills (rent, utilities, medical, etc.)
  • Referrals in finding temporary or long-term housing
  • Subsidies for Redeemer Counseling Services
  • Assistance with personal budgeting
  • Prayer, spiritual guidance and accountability
  • Food gift certificates
  • Links to support services throughout the City

From the moment we first meet our clients, we are focused on helping someone who is undergoing hardship. We acknowledge that the only one we truly lean on in order to accomplish this is Jesus Christ and that we are unable to effectively help anyone without Him–spiritually or otherwise. We offer practical help in a number of ways, including helping the client get connected with available resources, assisting with counseling, helping with budgeting, providing emotional and spiritual support, and extending financial aid.

Our client work is temporary and short-term in nature; that is, our goal is to see a client's situation change over time until the client no longer requires our assistance. Deacons/esses generally work towards this end by guiding clients to manage their budgets responsibly, plan for the future, seek employment, resolve conflicts, mend relationships, seek God's community, and know and obey God in all areas of their lives. We hope that as clients grow closer to the Lord, they will find the strength, wisdom and grace to experience deeply changed lives.

The Diaconate is funded entirely by the donations of individuals at Redeemer. We are therefore accountable to the congregation to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us through His people. Because our funding is limited, we direct financial support to the neediest within the congregation.

How Do I Get In Touch With the Diaconate?

The Diaconate serves those in crisis or challenging situations within the Redeemer congregation only.

If you are in need of practical help please call the Diaconate Message Helpline listed below, and the deacon or deaconess on call will return your call within 36 hours. You will be asked some basic questions that we ask everyone who calls for assistance so that we can assess how to best help. The information you share with us will be kept confidential. Please keep in mind, due to limited resources, the Diaconate cannot take on all requests for assistance.

Diaconate Helpline: 917-719-0259

For other inquiries please contact:

Jenny Chang, Director
jenny@redeemer.com
917-206-1407

What Happens Next?

Once you have contacted and spoken with the Diaconate, the leadership team determines whether to accept you as a client based on a list of criteria (e.g. Redeemer affiliation, type of need, financial assets). You will be assigned a deacon/ness or a pair of deacons/esses depending on your needs once you have been accepted as a Diaconate client. Our goal is to partner with you and see your situation change over time until you no longer need our assistance. This partnership is a two-way street. We expect you to be honest with us and to make full disclosure of your financial situation. You can expect us to strive to understand you, encourage and love you in Christ, provide for your basic needs when appropriate and pray for and with you.

For clients seeking financial assistance, we will first ask to go over their budget. Requests will be considered based on a client's basic living needs. Each request for financial assistance goes through a review process sometimes involving several people. Clients may be asked to consider letting go of non-essential living expense before assistance is approved. Financial assistance may continue over time, however, with the intent of reducing and eventually discontinuing our financial assistance when appropriate. The Diaconate occasionally provides long-term financial assistance, but does not provide loans under any circumstances, nor does it compensate for individual business risks. Please understand that financial assistance is not guaranteed, and that the Diaconate is not always able to provide it.