The Reformed Deacon: A Deacon’s Personal Library

In the July 1, 2023 episode, Shiloh OPC deacon and OPC CDM member, Tim Hopper and  Rev. C. N. Willborn, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, talk books—books specifically helpful for deacons to have in their personal libraries. From Bible reading plans to reader’s guides to books on prayer to counseling, Nick and Tim cover a wide range of their recommended favorites in their discussion.  There are even a few websites and videos they suggest checking out. Nick’s wide range of  insight and Tim’s thirst for reading and knowledge on the subject of deacons makes this episode invaluable!

Here’s the list of the books and resources they reference in the episode:

Resources on the office of deacon Rev. John L Girardeau

Notes on Ecclesiology by Thomas Peck

The Deaconship: A Treatise on the Biblical Office by John G.  Lorimer

The Deacon by Cornelis Van Dam 

Presbytery of the Southeast Diaconal Summit 2018 Videos

Chronological Bible reading plan—Greenville Seminary by Ben Shaw

The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms

Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith by Chad Van Dixhoorn

The Presbyterian Standards by Francis R. Beattie

Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards organized by Dr. Joseph Pipa, Jr.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church Book of Church Order

Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs 

With Reverance and Awe by D.G. Hart and John R. Muether

A Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry (updated)

If God Already Knows, Why Pray? by Doug Kelly

Knowing God by JI Packer

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray 

Heaven on Earth: Assurance in the Christian Life  by Thomas Brooks

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

The Attributes of God A.W. Pink

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

A Faith to Live By:Understanding Christian Doctrine by Donald Macleod

The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson

Not Home Yet: How the Renewal of the Earth Fits into God’s Plan for the World by Ian Smith

The Mercy Ministry of the Church by Peter DeYoung (not available online)

The Ruling Elder by Samuel Miller 

The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church by Tim Whitmer

How Jesus Runs the Church by Guy Prentiss Waters

The Reformed Deacon: Interview with Author Cornelis Van Dam

The Ruling Elder by Samuel Miller

How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp

Speaking the Truth in Love by Powelson

Side by Side Ed Welch

When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch 

Heath Lambert

Puritan Evangelism by Joel Beeke

The Letters of John Newton

The Broken Home; Lessons in Sorrow by Benjamin M. Palmer

CCEF: Christian Counseling and Education Foundation


ESL Evangelism

by Zecharias Weldeyesus, Pastor, Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Atlanta

People who have come to the United States as refugees with no ability to speak or write English would always tell you how much they appreciate believers in a local church who taught them English in their early days here in America. But more important, they would also tell you how grateful to the Lord they are for using those men and women to show them the love of Christ and point them to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to inherit eternal life by faith in Him alone. 

That’s why involvement of the local church in teaching ESL (English as a second language) is such an effective way of sharing Christ and His saving work with refugees whom the Lord brings to the church–although, of course, it is subordinate to the preaching of the word of God as the primary means that the Holy Spirit uses to convict and convert sinners. 

ESL classes offered by a gospel-saturated and witnessing church uses volunteer teachers in building up friendship and trust with refugees, not only by teaching them English, but also by showing them the love of Christ as refugees share their burdens, by praying for and with them during every class, by sharing the good news of salvation through Christ with them, and ultimately by drawing them into the worship of God and the ordinary means of grace in Christ’s church. ESL also serves as an efficient tool for the evangelist of the local church to use to advance Bible studies with refugees and to help build a foundation toward planting a sound and worshiping church of all nations. 

Please pray that our church’s ESL evangelism classes would bear much fruit for the Kingdom as our evangelist, Pastor Melaku, calls refugees to repentance and faith through the preaching and teaching of God’s word and as our volunteer ESL teachers show the love of Christ to the refugees under the care of Redeemer Mercy Ministry in Clarkston.     

This article was taken from Redeemer Mercy Ministry’s October 2022 newsletter, with permission. You can find their entire issue, including more about ESL, here. Photo: Dr. Martha Wright with prospective learners from Redeemer OPC. She met with them twice at Refuge Coffee Company in Clarkston to assess their needs, skill levels, and concerns.


Fat with Good Things

by Sarah Klazinga, Administrative Assistant for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries

 “When people are captured by the whole Word of God, it’s like a gentle rain that waters the earth; over time you see fruit.” That was Pastor Justin Rosser’s comment on how the faithful ministry of the preached Word has worked itself out into Word and Deed opportunities in the congregation. As one man has put it, “Your theology always comes out your fingertips.”

Rosser is the associate pastor at Resurrection OPC, located in Matthews, NC, which is part of the greater Charlotte area. Resurrection has had a faithful pulpit ministry since its founding in 1975, and has most recently been pastored by Nathan Trice since 1996. Trice also serves as the President of the CDM.

Resurrection is, by OPC standards, a large church with around 240 members and two pastors in the suburbs of a 1.5-million-person, southern city. Because of its proximity to such a large, diverse city in the Bible belt; its long-time faithfulness; and, the Lord’s abundant blessing in these circumstances, the congregation has become a lively bunch of people seeking out opportunities to put the Gospel into action.

For the last twenty years members of the congregation have done a weekly Bible study at a local nursing home; gathering the residents, visiting with them, and having a time of singing and Bible study together.

Some members have been involved in a once-a-month breakfast at Charlotte’s Rescue Mission, where they serve breakfast and the Good News of Jesus to men going through an intensive program for drug and alcohol abuse.

For years some of Resurrection’s members were involved in an inner-city outreach to refugee families. This ministry owns an apartment complex for refugee housing, where former members of the Charlotte Eagles (a Christian soccer team) coach and disciple the children simultaneously.  Each week the ministry gathers kids together in the complex, and area churches are invited to join them in playing soccer and talking about Jesus through small group Bible study.

Brookstone School is another area ministry that Resurrection has been heavily involved in. Brookstone is an inner-city Christian school in downtown Charlotte. They have a lunch-buddy program where men from area churches can sign up to be a lunch-buddy with a boy at the school. For many inner-city boys this is literally being “a father to the fatherless.” Resurrection also takes a regular diaconal offering designated to Brookstone School, and has historically hosted a VBS for them one week out of the summer.

Project 658 is another refugee ministry in the Charlotte area that some of the members of Resurrection are heavily involved in.

The greater Charlotte area has a very strong pro-life presence and local ministries actively seek out churches to partner with them in preaching and praying outside of the local abortion clinics. Charlotte is home to the largest abortion provider in the southeast, with women driving from as far as Florida and Maryland to terminate their pregnancies. Area churches can sign up to be a gospel presence outside these abortion clinics, praying, fasting, handing out resources to the women, and sharing the freedom found only in Christ. Some of Resurrection’s members are sidewalk counselors or volunteers with the local crisis pregnancy center, and a few of them are a regular, weekly presence outside the abortion clinic.

Rosser says that there are two main ways that churches seem to go about outreach ministries: either a church has “a thing” – they offer ESL classes, host a food pantry in their fellowship hall, sponsor a refugee family, etc.; or a church can attach themselves to someone else’s “thing.” There are pros and cons to both, but what Pastor Rosser has found is that being a part of ministries that are already going on allows the congregation to try things, and to invest where they feel burdened to serve. For some, that’s pro-life ministry, and they’ve been able to jump into what is already a well-established, Gospel-centered, pro-life presence in the Charlotte area. For others, they may feel the burden to serve refugee families, and there are several opportunities for Gospel-centered ministry already going on.

He concludes that when God’s people are “fat with good things” – full of the Word of God and the Spirit of God, it overflows in service for God.

Perhaps your congregation doesn’t seem so ideally situated, with a second pastor that can devote his time to things like this, in a city full of Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting opportunities. But as the Word of God is faithfully preached in our churches, and the people of God are stirred by His Spirit, our theology will begin to flow out of our fingertips, and perhaps this is an encouragement to each of you to see what’s going on in the places where you’ve been called to serve. God is at work in the places where we live. Let’s serve Him with our strength.