Not sure if I mentioned this at any point, but I’ve been serving as Head Deaconess at our church for the last few years. I’d only been a Deaconess for a few months when I was elected (partly because there were a lot of interpersonal issues between deaconesses before I got there and partly because I was new and naive and had no idea what the position entailed.
More background: I started off by immediately having a one on one time with each last so that I could get their take on the team, the problems, and the hopes of each person. It was invaluable!
Following those responses, the first year I spent getting the basics down (starting on time, cutting the prayer request time out so we just did ‘popcorn prayer,’ making sure we had a devotion at every meeting, and getting the team to share a bit about each other for bonding. The following year I tightened up problems and started regulating things – standardizing memorials, seeing up a prayer chain email address (Target than a private person’s email), coordinating with Deacons (super easy since my husband is Head Deacon), and detailing how major events (like vision dinner) should proceed. This helped us clarify our jobs as a team.
Finally, the last year I’ve spent having deaconesses write out their job descriptions and compiling then together into a Deaconess handbook. The last time this has been done was more than 20 years ago, and many things had changed since then. As we clarified or roles, we were able to pinpoint problems and confusions and hone our tasks.
At this point, I got burned out. Since I’d been working hard coordinating the Deaconess team for a few years, I’ve become more adept at praying for them, and during one of my prayer times, I (thankfully) was told it was my time to leave one day while praying. Honestly, I’m extremely glad because I am not sure what else I can contribute other than maintaining the status quo. And since I’m a doer/fixer, that’s not my style. So I was upfront with my team – I told them I’d be leaving the deaconesses the next year and was looking for an assistant for this year so I could train them and they wouldn’t be as woefully unprepared as I was. It took six months before I got a taker – and that included taking a vote and putting two ladies in the spot, neither of whom felt called to the job. So I’m incredibly thankful for my new assistant/future head!