Meet Your Fellow Deacon: Jack Frahm

Meet Jack Frahm, Deacon, Covenant OPC, San Jose, CA

Jack Frahm admits that some aspects of being a deacon are a struggle for him. Sitting down to talk to people is outside of his comfort zone. “I’ve really had to grow as a deacon by taking the time to build relationships with people—to actively listen. It’s so much easier for me to ask, ‘what’s the problem and how do I fix it? Let’s do it.’ And sometimes that’s not what’s called for. It’s more of a need for a shoulder to cry on.”

Jack has lived within 30 minutes of the same place for over 30 years—somewhat ironic, since in his teens he couldn’t wait to move away and explore! “I grew up in Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church on Leigh Avenue and lived a block away from the church. My parents’ house was just down the street so we would often walk to, church, and functions at the church and I remember thinking as a kid how I just couldn’t wait to get out of the Bay Area. I wanted to travel!” Obviously, God had other ideas.

Growing up, Jack admittedly gave his parents a run for their money; adopted when he was five years old, he pushed the limits of his parents’ Christian, loving, guidance and at 18, Jack found himself in serious trouble with law enforcement. His father reassured him, “You’re my son, and we’re not going to abandon you.” That was a turning point in Jack’s life—a pivotal moment. Soon after, Jack made a public profession of faith at 20 years old. Jack married his wife, Michelle, 25 years ago and they have three children, Caleb, Ethan and Grace; the boys in college and Grace, a senior in high school.

Jack has been serving as a deacon for nearly ten years at Covenant OPC, San Jose, California. Even before officially being ordained as a deacon, he felt drawn to helping, “[Going] to the church workdays, helping to clean up after committee meetings, ushering, doing all the different little things that you can [to] help at church and then an elder comes along and taps you on the shoulder, ‘have you ever considered being a deacon?’ And so it kind of just seems like a natural outflow of how I feel, that all church members should be relatively active with their local church. Doing things, helping in any way they can. I’m kind of a handyman; ‘Jack of all trades’. I often get teased because I’m mechanically inclined and if something is broken, I’d rather fix it, rather than throw it away. I think the gift that God has given me is wanting to fix things and a willingness to just jump in and figure it out.” 

Covenant OPC is no stranger to outreach in their community. For several years, the deacons at Covenant led the church in ministry to the downtown homeless community until lack of participation made it impossible to continue. Since then, the deacons then began leading the church toward working with a faith-based ministry called, CityTeam

Through CityTeam, Covenant OPC has adopted a low-income housing community in an apartment complex. Covenant supplies all the food for a year and the congregation hands out food in the hopes of creating some relationships. Jack and his diaconate is encouraged, “We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve had to turn some church folks away that want to help. We get 20 or so folks from our congregation who want to participate in the program. This ministry began during the pandemic, and like many other things, has been a challenge. The model for the program is a sort of marketplace where folks come down from their apartments, come through and pick things up from the table, offering an opportunity to interact and share the gospel. With the pandemic, we’ve had to alter and deliver boxes of food to apartments; ring a doorbell and wait the few minutes hoping that someone will come to the door while we’re there so that we can talk.” 

“The challenge has been in how to take it to that next level of making sure that the gospel is presented. Please pray that the opportunities continue to grow and continue to be fruitful. There are now other churches that want to partner with us to help at this food pantry, and if it gets to the point where we have 30 or so people, we may be able to open another pantry. We could possibly serve two different locations!”

Covenant’s four-man diaconate is made up of diverse backgrounds, which lends itself to healthy conversation and decision-making—even as meetings have been restricted to meeting virtually. Jack, Miguel Alvarado, Steve Trigero and Juan Valle don’t always agree, but Jack says they work well together and he’s thankful for them.

Jack has been encouraged in his diaconal service at the generosity of the congregation and their willingness to try to help folks. But Jack also admits, from time to time, he is more discouraged than encouraged, giving him an opportunity to pray for wisdom in how to better serve.


Read more...

A New Podcast: The Reformed Deacon

By Trish Duggan

In November 2021, the Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM) launched a podcast focused on the office of deacon, called The Reformed Deacon. It was developed with the local Reformed deacon in mind: to help train him, to encourage camaraderie with other deacons, and to educate a greater audience on the role of the deacon. Episodes will include interviews of local deacons, elders, pastors, authors, and others with relevant experience. The podcast will also share case studies and dig into topics often complex or misunderstood. 

The Office of Deacon 

Perhaps you have heard one or more of the following in your church: I can’t hear the preacher—I’m not sure his mic is even on! I’m sure one of the deacons will get to it. Or, I know that family isn’t really making ends meet. I’ll be sure to mention it to one of the deacons. Or, We don’t have enough chairs set up for Sunday school. I’ll let the deacons know. Or, We’re moving next week. I’ll ask the deacons for help. 

The local deacon’s role can sometimes seem to be a kind of catch-all for many of the physical needs of the church, from managing church facilities to aiding a needy family to everything in between. Further complicating their work can be its sensitive nature, along with complex family situations, distrust from those both inside and outside the church, and even dishonest requests for help. This office requires great wisdom! 

In addition, many OPC deacons may be serving their congregation alone, without the benefit of a colleague to commit to regular times of counsel and prayer. Some diaconates are small and spread thin, with somewhat unclear tasks. So what exactly is a deacon’s job, and how can he be better supported in it? 

Supporting Deacons through a Podcast 

The CDM continues to recognize the need to support the local deacon in his God-appointed work, and it prayerfully strives to meet that need. A unique aspect of the CDM’s approach is its great desire to see local deacons supported not only by the committee, but also by one another. There are, after all, nearly one thousand deacons in the OPC, representing hundreds of years of experience! 

Over the years, the CDM has organized gatherings primarily for deacons (three national summits to date and another one in June 2022) and developed training materials, a resource website (OPCCDM.org), a newsletter (The Mercy Minute), and a deacon check-in program (where deacons are partnered in order to take intentional time to talk one on one and are given counsel and financial support). 

And now, there is a podcast, too. 

In its first episode, Tim Hopper, a deacon at Shiloh OPC in Raleigh, North Carolina, said that he reminds himself often that deacons, too, need to sit at Jesus’s feet. “It’s easy for me to be doing things and staying busy,” he said, “and I’m good at making my lists and getting things done, but that’s what Martha was doing, and our Lord told her she needs to sit at his feet . . . My wife often asks, ‘Are you getting to hear the sermon?’” 

In another episode, Dr. Cornelis Van Dam explained that he wrote his book The Deacon: Biblical Foundations for Today’s Ministry of Mercy because, when he was a pastor, newly ordained deacons would ask for resources on the diaconate. “That question always kind of bugged me,” Van Dam said, “because I didn’t think there was a good holistic treatment of the office.” 

Deacons, this podcast is for you, and the CDM hopes you will benefit by listening. For those who are not deacons, the podcast may allow you to better understand and support your local deacons in their work. When you are able, remember to pray for the deacons and elders in your church as they fulfill their calling. They are likely doing more than what you see on Sunday! 

Look for The Reformed Deacon wherever you listen to podcasts. We’d love to hear from you. What topics would you like to hear on this podcast? Go to: opccdm.org/podcast-feedback or email us at mail@thereformeddeacon.org. Find show notes and links at thereformeddeacon.org. 

The author is communications coordinator for the CDM. 


Read more...

Administrator David Nakhla Interviewed on “Christ the Center” Podcast

David Nakhla was interviewed by Rev. Camden Bucey on his podcast, “Christ the Center”, released September 24. Joined by Rev. Adam York, the three talked about the diaconate, refugee ministry, disaster response, short-term missions and the upcoming diaconal summit. Check it out on the Reformed Forum website or on your favorite podcast provider.


Read more...
^