Most women serving as deaconesses are asked, "What is a deaconess?" on a fairly regular basis. In the Lutheran Church, the formal definition of such a servant of Christ has changed over the decades. All too often, the definition is dictated by what a deaconess DOES, rather than WHO or WHOSE she is. What needs to be remembered is that regardless of changing roles in the workplace, certain things are not altered. In particular, I mean that the expected attitude of the heart and mind - of consecration and servanthood - does not change. Having said this, I suppose those who have no personal knowledge of a deaconess still feel that they are in the dark as to her role in the church. If you are one of those people, it's probably time for you to read In the Footsteps of Phoebe.
Be knowledgeable about this profession (vocation) and how a deaconess might benefit YOUR own parish or institution. The downturn in our economy has caused many Lutheran congregations and institutions to forfeit the acquisition of more staff. Hence there are trained deaconesses who are waiting for first-time placements or who are hoping to move to a new position and are not able to do so. I challenge you today to take a creative look at your own ministry model, to see if it might be possible to put one of these waiting women to work with YOUR team, sooner than later!