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.


Read more...

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.


Read more...

$500,000 for Ukraine Winter Help!

by David Nakhla

For months we have asked you to pray that the Lord would guide us to the best avenues by which the over $700,000 in Ukraine Crisis Funds could be used.  Your faithful prayers have led to many productive discussions and hopeful decisions. You might recall the trip I took through five countries in Eastern Europe, meeting 10 times in nine days, back in May.  While in Krakow, Poland, I met over coffee with Jon Eide, the MTW Country Director for Ukraine.

Since that time, I have met with Jon five or six times, asking him to recommend the best ways that the OPC Ukraine Crisis Fund could be used in the ministry to those suffering from the war in Ukraine.  In November we received the answer entitled: “Winter Help!”  And subsequently, the Refugee Ministry Subcommittee of the Committee on Diaconal Ministries determined to send $500,000 of your gifts to MTW. This money is to be used to assist the congregations of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPCU), the denomination with whom MTW and OPC Missionary Heero Hacquebord serves in planting a congregation in L’viv, in the following three ways:

1.)     $150,000 for the one-time provision of generators and other winter costs to equip Ukrainians for the cold, dark winter that is upon them 

2.)     $300,000 for six months of operating expenses donated to 17 congregations and ministries to enable the diaconal ministries of the congregations to continue 

3.)     $50,000 for other diaconal and humanitarian aid opportunities carried out by MTW and the EPCU congregations

Thank you for your contributions that have made this possible. Pray with us that the Lord would use this ministry of mercy for the good of the saints and to bring glory to Christ amid extremely difficult circumstances.


Read more...
^