OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries
 
 
 
Helping to Train, Encourage & Connect Deacons
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 The Latest

Are You Listening?

by Trish Duggan, Producer of The Reformed Deacon

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since the Committee on Diaconal Ministries started producing a podcast for deacons called, The Reformed Deacon. I really hope you’ve come to look forward to its release each first of the month. I have the privilege of being the podcast’s producer, (as well as an OP deacon’s wife) and it’s amazing for me to hear the breadth of wisdom within our denomination. We’ve got some incredible guys serving as the hands and feet of Christ, and I hope that is well represented in the podcast.

Also exciting is knowing who is listening! In addition to our North American following, we have listeners in Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia and South America. We currently have just about 150 subscribers. We, of course, hope that will grow, so share an episode with a deacon-friend. I think you’ll agree, there’s really nothing out there like it. I’ve even heard that some in other reformed denominations are listening, too!

The CDM launched the podcast in November 2021 with an interview of a local deacon from Shiloh OPC in Raleigh, NC, Tim Hopper. That podcast has nearly 900 downloads—our most popular to date (don’t tell Tim!) Following close behind is “Church Safety in the 21st Century” with nearly 750 downloads and “Disabilities and the Church” at 522 downloads. If you haven’t listened to those yet, I hope their popularity will encourage you to. I can remember distinctly while recording interviews with OP elder Matt Butler and Pastor Stephen Tracey, thinking, “everyone should know this stuff!”

The goal of this podcast is to encourage deacons in their service to the local church, and we sincerely hope we are accomplishing that. The Committee on Diaconal Ministry’s plan for 2023 is to focus in on four areas: encouragement, practice, resources and doctrine. By breaking it down like this, we hope to give you well-rounded content that is useful in all aspects of your ministry.

I’m particularly excited about January’s episode. It’s a little different than our usual interview-style. Three deacons, with a collective near-60 years of experience, spend time talking through two different fictitious and difficult case studies involving walk-ins. One of the cases included, “A woman named Jane comes to the church. You’re the only person at the church setting up for a meeting that people will arrive for in an hour. She tells you her boyfriend is abusing her and is after her right now and she needs your help to keep her safe. Her boyfriend is probably only a couple minutes behind her, and she needs a place to hide out.” Do you know what would you do? Each panelist, using policies developed in their own diaconates, was able to propose some steps in showing the love of Christ. You won’t want to miss this one. We plan to release more Real World Cases in 2023. 

We are always looking for new and creative content and love suggestions, so please, if you are a year-long listener or you’ve just discovered the podcast, contact us: mail@thereformeddeacon.org.

We truly hope the podcast has been an encouragement to you and we pray that the Lord continues to bless it as a resource to all!


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Meet Your Fellow Deacons: Tim Lee & Jonah Lay

by Allison Hill, CDM Administrative Assistant

It’s been said, “People won’t share their struggles with those who can’t remember their name.” In other words, if you want to serve someone, getting to know them is the best way to do so most effectively. Deacons Tim Lee and Jonah Lay are very sensitive to this fact and make every effort to work it out in their ministry as deacons of Sovereign Grace OPC in Redlands, California. 

From the very start, their method of diaconal ministry is one that embodies relational service. When asked how they, as a diaconate, determine how to minister to families and individuals in their church, Tim’s simple answer was, “We understand the needs of the congregation by spending time touching base with members and visitors before or after worship each Lord’s Day. Jonah is typically one of the last to leave.” To which Jonah added, “When you make a point to talk to people and hear their concerns and discouragements, not only do you pick up on ways you can serve them in ways not explicitly shared, but those individuals know who to come to when they do have an explicit need.”

In fact, Tim shared that his view of the Sabbath impacts how he serves: “As I’ve become more convicted about keeping the Sabbath fully before the Lord and not spending as much time on my own in between services, I’ve spent more time fellowshipping. I think that’s the main way we are made aware of the needs in our church.” This “organic process” transforms the diaconal model from “material actions meeting material needs” into “whole-life relationships meeting whole-life needs”. Service is elevated from providing surface aid to deeper involvement in the life of another.

Interestingly enough, Tim and Jonah are the first deacons to serve Sovereign Grace OPC, both ordained in early 2022. Yet their wisdom and service far outpace their short time holding this office. Jonah himself says, “Serving isn’t a sprint, it’s more of a marathon.” He believes that they will mature and grow over time, and are not disqualified from serving in the present as they learn and grow.

Even though they are somewhat new, Tim and Jonah both have gifts, talents and skills that have been developed over the course of their lives. Their respective careers are also of great benefit to the church. As a psychiatrist, Tim has a propensity for listening, caring, and supporting others with patience and understanding. Additionally, his familiarity with the medical field is a great benefit to the congregation particularly as aging members are faced with navigating hospitals, doctors, and medical procedures. According to Jonah, the most encouraging part of ministry is going with Tim to visit those in hospitals and sing hymns to and with them. He says, “It is very encouraging to minister to people even right before they enter glory—to see how the saint lives out his last hours on earth. You see what you hope will be your story one day.”

For Jonah, mercy ministry is appealing because of his appreciation for leadership by example and God-given abilities, from playing the piano to coordinating individuals for workdays. Of Jonah, Tim says, “Jonah serves out of joyful, sacrificial love for the Lord, not out of obligation.” This must be the very essence and foundation of diaconal service.

Both Tim and Jonah agree that being a deacon is a learning and growing process. Tim expresses it this way, “It has been a part of my own sanctification as I become more aware of my own sinful tendencies, and I try to relinquish those things to the Lord and mortify my flesh. The Lord is always showing me the extent of my sin.” Jonah agreed in saying, “Yet, it is the Spirit who does the work. We can’t change hearts—our own or others’. We must do what we are called to do and trust that the Spirit will work in us to make us willing servants and make those to whom we minister receptive to our message, love, and assistance.” May this be the desire and prayer of every deacon.


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Ukraine Awareness Month

Imagine an OPC Missionary with 100s and 1000s of people coming into contact with the church community as war causes them to relocate, find help, and search for answers to life’s most important questions. You don’t have to imagine it. This is OPC missionary Heero Hacquebord’s world and ministry right now in Ukraine.

People talk a lot about how technology makes the world smaller and allows us as Christians to be better connected as a global church, but actual, tangible opportunities for that rarely happen. The OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries has developed, with the help of the PCA’s Mission to the World, a rare video giving us an exclusive window into present-day Ukraine. This insightful video vividly depicts God at work through the OPC in war-torn Ukraine.

Through the use of this video, we hope you will join the entire OPC family in making December 2022 “Ukraine Awareness Month.” Here’s how you can do that:

  • we encourage every person in the OPC to watch the video. It will be worth the 16 minutes.
  • we encourage churches to use the video for a Sunday School or Prayer meeting.
  • we encourage families and individuals to watch the video during family worship, as a small group or on a Sunday afternoon. 

And then…

  • take the time to discuss the video using the suggested discussion questions below.

Watch the 16-minute video

Suggested Discussion Questions for Adults and Children

If you are watching as a family and 16 minutes is a bit long for the kids, we do have a shorter version that is six minutes. But we’d encourage you, if you are able, to take the extra 10 minutes and hear the whole story. 

Watch the six-minute video

As you take the time to enjoy this month of celebrating Christ’s birth, please remember to pray for Heero and all who are working tirelessly to minister to this battle-weary region. May you be blessed by joining us in making December 2022 “Ukraine Awareness Month.”

Feedback? Questions? Let us know. Email: diaconalministries@opc.org

Ukraine Awareness Month (Full Length) from OPC Diaconal Ministries on Vimeo.


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