Meet Your Fellow Deacon: Greg Torres

by Allison Groot, Administrative Assistant for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries

For the two months of his son’s short yet precious life, Greg says the members and deacons of Christ OPC of Janesville, WI, where he now serves as a deacon, showered his family with the love of Jesus through thoughtful words, gifts, assistance, acts of service, and prayers.

Across the church, saints understand their service to one another as a reflection of the love, humility, and care our Savior displayed to us in our time of rebellion and desperation. The Committee on Diaconal Ministries expresses this in “Principles for the Ministry of Mercy”: 

Following the example of our Savior, who though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that we by His poverty might become rich, it is the duty of all saints to be hospitable and to come to the aid of one another in material things, according to their various abilities and necessities.

Greg Torres is particularly aware of this pattern and considers himself privileged to take part in it. He was the husband and father of a family painfully affected by the loss of a child. He was ministered to in the name of Christ. He was comforted by God’s people in a time of inconsolable grief and hardship. And in that time of mourning and desperation, the church’s service to him and his family kindled in him a new desire to devote himself to the ministry of mercy.

Greg writes, “It was through this experience that I not only grew in my faith and matured as a Christian, but I truly realized the importance of the work of deacons in being able to share the love of Christ by providing comfort and providing for other needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ as they face challenging or difficult times.”

With that realization still fresh on his mind and heart, he was ordained and installed as a deacon of Christ OPC in May 2019—less than a year after the loss of his newborn son.  

Now, Greg serves alongside four other deacons to minister to those in trying circumstances both in and outside the church community. He admits that though the Lord has sovereignly placed him in many roles that developed his abilities to lead and serve others, such as holding a local elected office, it was his experience enduring difficult circumstances and receiving care from the church that prepared him most to care for others as a deacon.

Though, Greg confesses that having the desire to serve is, in some ways, only half the battle. He shares that sometimes the hardest aspect of diaconal ministry is discerning the needs of those within your own congregation. On the other hand, he shares that ministry to those outside the church seems to scarcely bear observable fruit. He writes, “So much of what we do can feel fruitless. We help people financially or in other ways, we share the gospel, and so often it seems the folks appreciate the financial help but fail to appreciate the gospel.”

Yet, in both circumstances, whether it’s ministry to those inside or outside the church, Greg knows that the ministry of mercy is always worthwhile. This conviction is encouraged and strengthened when the Lord is pleased to build his church through such ministry. Greg recalls, “One individual who had attended services off and on for some time, having found themselves in the midst of multiple bad situations. The deacons helped with life skills, set expectations, and provided financial help. Most importantly we shared the gospel and showed them Christ’s love and our willingness to help and care for them. Today this person and their family are doing much better and are members of our church.” 

Though many acts of diaconal service are done with very little tangible fruit, the Lord is faithful to his people and assures them that service in the name of Christ is never in vain. Indeed, this is one of the many ways God blesses his people. Greg reflects, “Seeing the faces of those at church, for whom we have had the privilege of helping and caring, is all the encouragement I could ever ask for. I do my best to remember this when I have doubts about the work we do.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.