Ministry Overview: Diaconate

The Grace Of Liberality

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

Over the past few years, I have been so moved by the description of this community of believers. What an incredible witness this group of believers must have been, and Luke affirms that when he says, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.“ What would lead these people to give in such a radically generous way? This kind of living goes far beyond giving from our abundance and actively pushes against our human tendency to cling to what we have and desire more. How can one live in such a way? Only if “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.“ If our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave up the eternal glory He shared with the Father before the world began (John 17:5) to become flesh and dwell among us (John 1:14) and give himself for our sins (Galatians 1:4), how can we not respond to that with radical generosity?

Over the past few months, it has been a privilege to join the diaconate at GRC. Before joining the diaconate I was aware of some of the responsibilities of the diaconate, mainly ministering to those in need and overseeing the care of the church property. However, the Book of Church Order also lists developing the grace of liberality in our congregation as a duty of deacons. Liberality is defined as “the quality of giving or spending freely.”

As I have reflected on this calling over the past few months, I am leaning in on these 2 questions:

  1. How do we, as deacons, develop the grace of liberality within the body of Christ at GRC?
  2. How do we, as a body of believers, trust in God‘s promises and commands so that we can have a spirit of generosity and open-handedness with our time, treasure, and talents in order to glorify God and make Him known?
  • Please PRAY that the Lord will cultivate a spirit of generosity within the people of GRC. If you recognize, as I have, how tightly we hold on to our time, treasures, and talents (which belong to the Lord), will you join me in praying that instead we (as individuals and as a Church) would joyfully give in a radically generous way in order to glorify God and make Him known?

  • Please encourage yourself and others through the WORD of God that speaks to the grace of liberality. Pray that we, as individuals and a Church family, would respond with obedience to verses such as Matthew 5:42, 1 John 3:16-18, Romans 12:13, Deuteronomy 15:7-8, and Hebrews 6:10.

  • Please help build connections between the time, treasures, and talents of the people of GRC and the needs within and outside our congregation.

Here are three possible steps you might take:

Would you consider giving to the GRC Mercy Fund? The Mercy Fund allows the diaconate to provide for individuals and families in need both inside and outside our congregation as well as supporting our ministry partners.

May I encourage you to give generously toward brothers and sisters both locally and around the world who are giving their lives for Kingdom work?

Would you reach out to the GRC Diaconate (diaconate@graceredeemer.com) with both the needs you have as well as ways you would like to give to God’s people? You can offer your hospitality to those who are lonely, your skills to those in need, or your earthly treasures to those who lack what you have. God has given us all so much that we can use to bless each other and point others towards His goodness.

My family has been blessed to be on the receiving end of this kind of generosity from our church family. Most memorably, when our twins were born prematurely and we were trying to navigate two infants in the NICU and three big kids at home, our church poured love and care upon us in such notable ways (abundant food and meals, rides to NICU, monetary support, babysitting, etc.) that our family, both believers and non-believers, couldn’t stop talking about how much love they witnessed us receiving. The tangible love of our church family was a testimony to those who witnessed it. Praise God!

As David prays in 2 Chronicles 29:14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” May the radical generosity of our congregation encourage those within the body of Christ and serve as a witness to the amazingness of our great God! To God be the glory forever and ever!

 

Steven Bourque serves as a deacon and has been a member of GRC since 2013.