Deacons Ministry

Who are the Deacons?

Fourth Presbyterian Church has 36 Deacons. We are members of the congregation–women and men. Elected by the congregation, Deacons come from all walks of life and all sorts of professions. You may not be aware of everything Fourth’s Board of Deacons does, and in some ways that is by design. The Board carries out its responsibilities behind the scenes, in strictest confidence. The Deacons Ministry is not supported by the church budget; every penny we spend is raised through generous quarterly offerings from the congregation. Each Deacon’s activity is bathed with prayer, always with trust that the beauty of Jesus will be evident in all of our contacts.

The Office of Deacons has a biblical basis. For example, Paul refers to it twice: in Philippians 1:1 and in Timothy 3:8-13. In Romans 16:1, Paul extols the work of Phoebe of the church at Cenchreae. Some translators say he calls her a deaconess while others say the Greek word he uses is best translated servant. That aptly describes the work of the deacons. Today we have both women and men as deacons.

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church Book of Order describes the office of deacon as “one of compassion, concern for needs, and serving others.”

What do we do?

One very important role of the deacons is praying. We pray for specific needs of the congregation. We will come together as a body praying for specific issues. We pray for each other as we undertake our ministry, and we pray for Fourth Church and its work.

We provide care as needed. Sometimes that is just being available and being a good listener. It may mean pointing someone to sources who can help solve his or her problems. For example, they may need financial counseling on preparing and managing a budget.

It may mean physically standing beside someone or a family who has suffered the loss of a loved one or who is facing major medical problems. Deacons are assigned Persons Under Care– individuals who need long-term friendship and assistance.

In these difficult economic times, it often means providing financial help in crisis situations. The Deacon budget—almost entirely for assistance to those in need–comes directly from gifts from the congregation of Fourth Church. This is manifested through the quarterly Deacons Offerings and occasional receipt of separately tendered checks. We receive no funds from Fourth Church itself. The Deacons of Fourth are most grateful to the congregation for the financial help it has provided over the years. That is who has made our ministry possible.

Why are we doing what we do?

Jesus lays the foundation for our ministry with his discussion of the final judgment in Matthew 25:35-36. He says:

For I was hungry, and you gave me food.
I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
I was naked and you clothed me.
I was sick and you visited me.
I was in prison and you came to me.

When questioned further, he added: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

If you’d like more information on our Deacon Ministry, please contact Rev. Ron Meyer or call the Deacons at 301-320-3600, x 223.