Diaconal Ministries Canada have many excellent resources and practical thinking for deacons and those engaged in diaconal ministries. Their latest E-Quip newsletter majors on how deacons can initiate ‘benevolent’ projects through building relationships without creating dependency: see ‘Facing the Giant’.
Here’s a tantalising taster!
DEACONS: partners in benevolence
Helping people make long-term, sustainable growth and change in their lives is a process which takes a long-term commitment. It is usually easier (and therefore tempting) to provide temporary relief rather than long-term relationships and assistance. But temporary relief often has the impact of creating dependency, whereas coming alongside someone in an encouraging relationship creates growth and change. The combination of being in a relationship with someone and encouraging that person to develop and accomplish a goal-oriented plan of action may have great benefits, even though it is a significant commitment.
The good news is that deacons do not have to do it alone! There are several partners who may also care about the families/individuals you are working with, and may assist the deacons in their work .