Word and Service
By Nichole Lyons, Diaconal Intern at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Omaha
For 13 years I have been discerning a call to rostered ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). And for about 11 of those years, I was consistently told I should be a pastor, even thought I knew in my heart that my passion and calling was in youth and family ministry.
One semester into my journey at Wartburg Theological Seminary, I met a deacon candidate, Kelli Lisi Davis, who broadened my scope of what it means to be a rostered leader in the ELCA. Kelli passionately spoke of the Word and service roster, telling of the many gifts the roster brings to the church. The gifts range from youth and family ministry, to food ministry, education, nursing, advocacy, music ministry, and so much more. When I heard her describe the roster, I knew in my heart that my true calling was to the Word and service roster.
As you can see above, being a deacon has many different ‘job descriptions’ where no two deacons are exactly alike. The process of becoming a deacon is very similar to how a pastor is rostered, however, as a deacon candidate, one has more freedom in their internship site and ministry context. Each deacon has their own ministry specialization that helps to bridge the church to the outside world.
As the youth and young adult ministry director intern at Saint Michael Lutheran Church in Omaha, I am specializing in ministry with ages 12-30. During my time with this congregation I will be working alongside the members and staff to build relationships, have difficult conversations, and help the youth and young adults figure out how their faith plays a role in their everyday lives.
Moving forward, my hopes for the Word and service roster are centered around strong leadership. It is my hope that more churches and pastors in the ELCA recognize the many gifts a deacon can bring to a congregation. Pastors, deacons, and congregations can all work together to provide caring ministry to both the church and the world around them.