Sharing with the Saints (Rom. 12:13)
The Deacons’ Newsletter Volume I, Number 1
Is your Diaconate being a good and faithful steward of God’s tithes and your offerings?
Answering this question is why Midway’s Diaconate has launched this quarterly newsletter, which we have called Sharing with the Saints after Romans 12:13.
We believe God has blessed our congregation and is operating through us to do important works. We want to share knowledge of those works with you so that you may be encouraged in your own stewardship and confident that your church is serving God wisely. Because this is the inaugural issue, we are playing “catch up” and covering more than just the previous quarter.
CREATION AND PURPOSE
God established the diaconal office in Chapter 6 of Acts. As the early Christian church grew in size, the need for a division of labor appeared. It had grown too large for the Apostles alone to manage everything (Acts 6:2-4). So that they wouldn’t have to give up preaching the Word, the Apostles called the Diaconate into existence to administer the church’s charitable resources.
The PCA Book of Church Order (BCO), part of our church Constitution, describes the diaconal office as “one of sympathy and service, after the example of the Lord Jesus; it expresses also the communion of saints, especially in their helping one another in time of need” (Chapter 9-1).
- The BCO places the Diaconate under the supervision and authority of the elders (the Session) and charges the deacons with:
- Ministering to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress
- Developing the grace of liberality in the members of the church
- Devising effective methods of collecting the gifts of the people
- Distributing those gifts
- Caring for the congregation’s property, both real and personal, and maintaining the church buildings
Midway’s Diaconate is headed by one Chairman (Cliff Miller) and currently consists of 15 active deacons who make up 8 committees. Each committee has its own chairman, and the Diaconate also provides representatives to three Session committees.
- You can find a list of our deacons in the Sunday bulletins. Each committee and its chair (noted in parentheses) are provided below. For the Session committees, the diaconal representatives are provided in parentheses:
- Finance (Chris Vincenzi)
- Risk Management (Ryan Zumbrum)
- Facility Use (Jimmy Cooper)
- Worship Service (Brady Pritchett)
- Mercy (Evanda Remington)
- Missions (Phil Schrock)
- Building and Grounds (Joe Hash)
- Technology (Patrick Rockholz)
- Midway Covenant Christian School, a Session committee (Phil Schrock)
- Christian Education, a Session committee (John Livingston)
- ACTS Board, a Session committee (Brian Washington)
In this first issue, I want to tell you about some of the major work several of our committees have undertaken in the last year or so. If you want to learn more, then please feel free to talk to any of the deacons or the committee chairs. There are many more details than what I was able to include here, so please feel free to approach these men and talk further about anything that interests you—especially if you have a good idea to share.
Finance – The Finance Committee is responsible for developing the annual church budget, which is then approved by the Session in July of each fiscal year (July to June). We also track monthly donations and expenditures and provide quarterly updates to the Session.
As of September, our donations are slightly up compared to our budget and expenditures are in line with our plan. Our contingency fund is stocked, and we continue to contribute to our maintenance fund each month to support our 10-year maintenance plan in development by our Building and Grounds committee. As Proverbs teaches, it is wise to gather during the harvest (Prov. 6:8) and store reserves for the future because “precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it” (Prov. 21:20).
Facility Use Committee – Some of Midway’s facilities are available for use by members upon request for fellowship, celebration, and more. In 2019, four Midway families have celebrated weddings so far, using both the 1905 & 2009 sanctuaries. The Fellowship Hall has held a variety of events including two family reunions, a special birthday party, and a game night hosted by the Women’s Ministry.
Additionally, the outdoor pavilion is a great place to host family gatherings and has been used by multiple Midway member families this year. Finally, the gymnasium has been used for a night of fellowship and a friendly basketball game. Please email Jimmy Cooper for any facility use inquiries at email@example.com.
Missions Committee – The purpose of the Missions Committee is to oversee the annual missions budget, plan for the annual Missions Conference, meet and correspond with missionaries that are supported by Midway, and seek out new missionaries to support.
- We also help plan short term mission trips that get Midway members involved in teaching, preaching, encouraging, helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, and seeking new converts. Notable achievements so far this year are:
- Approving some short-term projects, including translation of Children’s Catechism booklets into Burmese and providing money to assist in feeding children in Chilca, Peru.
- Defraying the costs of short-term missions trips for congregation members.
- Supporting a team of 10 that traveled to Cajamarca, Peru to teach VBS lessons and English classes to local children and church members.
- Supporting a team of seven that traveled to Lima, Punta Hermosa, and Pampapacta, Peru to teach VBS lessons on the book of Esther for area children. We oversaw a trip to the Lima Zoo for local kids in Punta Hermosa and brought some basic needed toiletries and Bible material to kindergarten students in Pampapacta. We also distributed medical supplies collected from our VBS to locals.
- Collaborated with the deacons’ Technology Committee to upgrade the missions display outside the Fellowship Hall next to the coffee station (you may have noticed the new, large, high-def monitor!)
Mercy Committee – The Mercy Committee exists to show the compassion of Jesus in the form of physical assistance to those who urgently need it. Our work ranges from helping needy families with groceries and rent, to personally performing home repairs, to funding hurricane relief. It invariably involves prayer with and for people suffering in a world tainted by sin.
Although our first priority is Midway’s membership, then neighboring brothers and sisters after that, our congregation has been deeply blessed. Out of our abundance we are able to help the community who approach the church in desperation.
In the last year we have worked with individuals, couples, and families. We’ve assisted members of Midway, of neighboring churches, missionaries, widows, refugees, the working poor, the ill and utterly destitute, millennials, and seniors. We attempt to be a witness to those who need it and a comfort to those in need.
In the last 12 months the Mercy Committee has handled 32 individual cases. As you can see in this chart, we help most (green), turn away a few (red) where we feel we’d be enabling poor patterns, and have a few we’re debating at any given time (gray).
The committee occasionally needs broader assistance, like repairing railings, trimming bushes, giving rides to church for those who can’t get there themselves, providing counseling on various matters (financial, insurance, government benefits, legal), and taking people to grocery stores. If you’re interested in helping, please contact Evanda Remington (firstname.lastname@example.org / 678-421-4555).
Risk Management – The purpose of this committee is to ensure the health and safety of our congregation, while also making sure visitors feel welcome. This includes having policies in place to make sure the church and our missionaries are properly insured, especially when traveling out of the country. Because of work undertaken in cooperation with the Session, we are also better prepared to respond to an emergency event.
The committee has developed a Head Usher role with certain duties to better serve our congregation and visitors. We pray this will be an opportunity to develop future leaders in our church. If you would like to volunteer to be an usher, please contact any deacon!
- Building and Grounds – The B&G committee cares for and maintains the church property. They work closely with our facilities manager (George Taylor) to repair air-conditioning units, repair water leaks, replace lights, and schedule routine maintenance. Some notable activities this past year include:
- Installing new visitor parking signs in the parking lot, which is a good way to welcome visitors if you see someone parking there!
- Installing dehumidifiers in the downstairs school HVAC systems that our church children also use for Sunday School to improve air quality and comfort
- Cleaning concrete in the school entry way. (We will be doing all the concrete around the church grounds, so keep an eye out.)
If you notice any leaks or see something that needs repairing, please contact Joe at email@example.com
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The Apostle Paul teaches in Galatians that we are all called to serve each other. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
Here are some practical ways you can serve one another:
- Talk to your fellow church members about what is going on in their lives. Offer to help them in some way.
- Volunteer to serve in the Special Care ministry on a rotating basis. (Contact Bobbi Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Volunteer to give rides to church to fellow church members and visitors. This is a growing need we have. (Contact Evanda.)
- If you notice visitors parking at the visitor parking signs, then say hello and introduce yourself. Whether on Sundays or at Wednesday night suppers, take the initiative to approach visitors and be friendly, welcoming them to our church. Introduce them to an elder or deacon.
If you would like to help or volunteer in some way, then please also feel free to contact any of us. We know many of our members have God-given talents and a desire to serve God through our congregation, and we want to be able to help you fulfill your calling where possible.
Deacon John Livingston, Editor