The Diaconate is a ministry of mercy that reaches out to people in Downtown'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 focuses on deed ministry by 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.
Deacons and deaconesses:
- Practically assist and encourage Redeemer members and regular attenders who are in challenging circumstances.
- Pray, answer questions and give counsel after all Redeemer services.
- Conduct church membership interviews.
- Conduct various other administrative and operational tasks and roles.
The Diaconate — a group of men (deacons) and women (deaconesses) who are nominated, trained, elected and appointed by Redeemer Downtown 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.
Our core values and beliefs
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).
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).
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 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2 Peter 1:3-11).
Church members and regular attenders can receive help in many ways. Below are a few examples:
- Financial assistance for basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities, medical, etc.)
- Subsidies for Redeemer Counseling Services
- Job search coaching
- Care groups for difficult life events such as divorce and aging
- Prayer, spiritual guidance and accountability
- Prepared meals for congregants with special circumstances
- Biblical stewardship and budgeting guidance
- Links to support services throughout the city
From the moment we first meet our clients (we call them clients but they are our sisters and brothers in Christ), 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 spiritually or otherwise without him. 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 and deaconesses 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 Downtown. 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.
The Diaconate serves those in crisis or in challenging situations within the Redeemer Downtown congregation only.
If you are in need of practical help, please call the Diaconate 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: 917-206-1452
For more information on how to get started, see getting Diaconate care.