With the Churchwide Assembly voting to create a new unified roster of Ministers of Word and Service, it may be helpful to clarify what that means. Word and Service Ministry finds its biblical roots in the prophets who delivered God’s call for social justice, in the life and servant ministry of Jesus who proclaimed that the last shall be first, and in the witness of those in the early church who followed the call to care for people who are poor, lonely and marginalized. Word and Service ministers serve in specialized areas such as social work, chaplaincy, education, congregational ministry, healthcare agencies, community organizing, outreach development, youth ministry, community non-profits and advocacy. In addition to their specialized calls of service, Word and Service ministers are called and accountable as public leaders to serve with Word and Sacrament ministers in equipping the church to meet the needs of the world.
Word and Service ministers have a unique diaconal identity focused on service. It is an inner attitude formed from Christ-centered spirituality, shaped by the study of Scriptures and other Christian texts, and informed by the theological and practical knowledge particularly necessary for servant ministry.
The Deaconess Community understands the core of Diaconal Identity as:
- A distinct perspective of justice and mercy that is informed by Lutheran theological understanding of justice, an articulated understanding of compassionate servant leadership, a well-developed ability to see clearly human need or signs of injustice, and the courage to advocate on behalf of the powerless and vulnerable
- A perspective of bridge-building that promotes innovation and practices accompaniment with others in mission, acknowledges interdependence as God’s intention for all creation, honors diversity in all its forms, manages conflict, practices reconciliation, and embodies a spirit of humility in all relationships
- A public witness in and to the church as well as in and to the world which proclaims and furthers the reign of God, attends to what God is doing in the world, and demonstrates a willingness and ability to speak the truth of the Gospel
This new unified roster of Word and Service enhances the church’s ability to train, equip, and call leaders into both this identity and ministry in the world.
The Deaconess Community is committed to continuing to provide a unique opportunity for women called to Word and Service ministry to live out that call in community.
To find out more click here to learn more about the unique Deaconess Identity.