WHO WE ARE
Meet Our Deacons
The deacons lead our ministry of mercy by reaching out to people in Hope Church who are in crisis or experiencing difficulties. These difficulties could be social, emotional, physical and/or financial in nature. Our purpose is to show God’s love by helping those in difficult circumstances and being facilitators of the work that God is doing in their lives. We hope to see people’s situations change over time until they no longer need our help.
In Acts 6:1-7, the early church was wrestling with the tension between two equally necessary, but distinct priorities: The ministry of the word via preaching and the ministry of deed via serving the practical needs of the believers. The Greek verb translated as “serve” in verse 3 is “diakoneo”, from which the English word “deacon” is derived. It is widely believed that the office of deacons had its origins in this passage. Just as the elders were instituted to coordinate and administer the church’s word ministry to the spiritual needs of the church, deacons were instituted to coordinate and administer the church’s deed ministry to the practical needs of the church.
Rosie has been with our church since the start as a part of our core group. She has served joyfully and sacrificially in our welcome team, women’s and compassion ministries. Rosie has a heart for ministering to people, is a wonderful example to us all and has been an amazing blessing to our church.
Brian has been attending Hope Church with his family for about 3 years. He has served faithfully with his family in our compassion and outreach events. Brian is a man of integrity who leads his family well as a loving father and husband.
John has been attending Hope Church for about 4 years. He has served faithfully on our first response team, financial coaching, outreach and other ministries. John is a humble, faithful and willing servant with a compassionate heart for people.
WHAT WE DO
The Ministry of Word & Deed
Deacons receive and review all requests for help from individuals in our Church. Practical help includes connecting individuals with available resources, assisting with counselling, helping with budgeting, providing emotional and spiritual support, and extending financial aid. The Deacon assigned to the request will follow up with the individual and perform an intake. Which is an in-person assessment to understand the severity of the situation and provide any emergency help if required.
Next, the deacon will propose a care plan. A care plan is a short-term plan that includes both care from the Church and goals for the individual in need. The care plan is to ensure that our Church is administering mercy in a loving and holistic way, but also to ensure we are mercifully pointing the individual towards maturity in Christ. All care plans are approved by the Elders, and deacons will follow up regularly to ensure the plan is followed through and those in need, receive care.
HOW DO I GET HELP?
Call Us Today
The Deacons only serves those, in crisis or in challenging situations, who attend Hope Church. If you attend Hope Church and are in need of practical help you can call us at 416 521 9292. Requests for help can be made Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 3pm.
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
1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the Qualifications of a Deacon?
This is by far the most important category. While no leader is perfect, deacon candidates are to be exemplars of the Christian faith, modeling the character of Jesus Christ. Specifically, they must be in the character traits found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13:
“Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
Deacon candidates are to feel a deep calling and conviction to serve the practical needs of believers in the church, particularly in administration of basic needs. This should be readily recognizable by fellow church family.
Furthermore, deacon candidates are to sweetly submit to Harvest Toronto West’s doctrinal convictions and elder-led church government structure. Finally, deacon candidates are to abide by and fit into Harvest Toronto West’s ministry philosophy and expression.
Deacon candidates should demonstrate a humble and tender-hearted spirit in meeting practical needs. They are to joyously serve under the authority of the elders and free them to devote themselves “to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
This calls for competence in one or more of the diverse deed ministry activities (e.g. coordinating and administering the provision meals/clothing for congregants with special circumstances, providing care and advocacy in difficult life situations, providing biblical stewardship and budgeting guidance, etc…).
What is the Process for raising up Deacons?
PHASE 1: NOMINATION
STEP 1: Every two years Deacons are nominated by members in our Church.
STEP 2: All nominees are initially screened by our elders for Christian experience requirements. If the nominees qualify, they will be sent an invitation package that would include the following:
• Confirmation that they have been nominated
• An invitation to an orientation briefing
• An invitation to the Deacon training course held
• A short questionnaire (to be completed if they accept the invitation to the Deacon training course)
During this period, nominees take time to pray and consider the next step of Deacon training. Deacon training invitations are accepted or declined by nominees. Nominees who accept Deacon training invitations are considered “Deacon Candidates”.
PHASE 2: TRAINING
Deacon candidates attend bi-weekly Deacon training sessions taught by our elders and Director of Outreach.
• The necessity of mercy and deed ministry
• Christ’s kingship and deed ministry
• The gospel motivation of deed ministry
• The balance of giving: sacrificially generous and wisely stewarded
• The role of conditions in giving mercy
PHASE 3: INSTALLATION
STEP 1: Concurrent with the final month of training, the elders interview deacon candidates for alignment in character and convictions (both doctrinal and ministry-expression convictions).
STEP 2: The names of remaining deacon candidates will be posted at the church for a period of 30 days (as per our by-laws). During this period, members are encouraged to speak personally with the deacon candidate and/or any of the elders if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics or interpersonal issues needing resolution.
STEP 3: Elders install remaining deacon candidates
Will Deacons serve on a term basis?
Deacons shall serve a term of two years and be eligible for additional terms upon approval by our Elders. The ministry of the Deacon is not easy, and requires tremendous discernment and thought in appropriating finance, but also considerable time and energy to care for those in need.
Truly it is a call to serve as a Deacon, a call from God, who will supply the strength and grace required in this work. Our hope is that Deacons will serve multiple terms, as the Lord allows, to not only serve needs but also raise up more deacons and multiply the work of the ministry for years to come.
Do you have to be a Member to receive help?
No, but you do have to attend the Church, and Hope Church should be your “home church.”
Do you have to be a Christian to receive help?
No. You may be struggling with Christianity when you approach us. We will help you become familiar with the gospel (salvation by Christ) because the core of our ministry is to rely on God’s provision for you.
How many people will know about my Situation?
You can expect that what you share remains confidential among the Deacons and the Elders of Hope Church Toronto West. Depending on the need or issue, with your consent, we may seek advice and involve other members of the church to provide assistance to the situation.
Confidentiality may be broken in the event that we are worried that an individual may become harmful towards themselves or others, particularly when a child’s safety may be at risk.
How often will I meet with my Deacons or Deaconesses?
The frequency of meeting depends on various factors such as the nature of your situation and your financial, emotional or spiritual needs. It can range from once a week to once a month or even once a quarter. There will be phone and email contact as well.
2. Still have questions?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 416-521-9292 and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.