The Reformed Deacon

PDS V: Overview of the PDC Mandate and the Role of the CDM

March 23, 2024 a Podcast from the OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries Season 3 Episode 8
The Reformed Deacon
PDS V: Overview of the PDC Mandate and the Role of the CDM
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, you'll hear a recording from the Presbytery Diaconal Committee's fifth Summit hosted by the OPC Committees on Diaconal Ministries and Ministerial Care entitled, "Overview of the PDC Mandate and the Role of the CDM".

You'll hear from OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries administrator, David Nakhla, who presents the long history of the CDM, which has now existed for 76 years, to demonstrate that a great emphasis of the OPC, even from the beginning, has been to recognize the importance of the ministry of mercy. Nakhla points out in this session that the OPC was born out of poverty, during the Great Depression, when only three out of 48 churches were able to keep their buildings after leaving the PCUSA.

He then re-introduces a working document of the CDM entitled, “Proposed Mandate for the Work of the PDC.” This document, compiled by the CDM in 2012, was built using the varied mandates of the seventeen PDCs and serves to suggest what a comprehensive scope of an active PDC could be. Although not yet adopted in full by all the presbyteries, the CDM has been encouraged to see the positive impact it has had in the ministry of the regional church in those presbyteries that have allowed it to shape its ministries of mercy.

Although the content of this PDS session is primarily focused toward those serving on Presbytery Diaconal Committees, we trust you'll find that many aspects of the talk will benefit local deacons with food for thought, even with inspiration that comes from thinking outside the box. We urge you to avail yourself of the resources you'll hear about in this episode and let us know if you want to know more about these topics or Presbytery Diaconal Committees.

We'll be releasing the last two sessions of PDS V on The Reformed Deacon podcast in the months to come, so be sure to look for them.

Referenced in this episode:
Proposed PDC Mandate
Sample PDC Meeting Agenda
Other PDC Resources

You can find all of our episodes at thereformeddeacon.org. Make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast player, so you don't miss an episode. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for giveaways and more information. Find other resources on OPCCDM.org. Make sure to send us some feedback on your podcast player or by going to OPCCDM.org.

Speaker 1:

The Presbytery of Philadelphia adopted the mandate into our bylaws and we actually structured our agenda after this. We say are there matters bubbling up to us from local diaconates, guys, anything you guys know, anything around the room? Nope, okay, boop. Next thing which of our churches don't have deacons? Let's list them, and we have them all listed in our agenda: with this church, anything coming out of that church, and who's the key point of contact there? Which deacons are overseeing them?

Speaker 1:

This is David Nakhla, administrator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries. We're thankful for the opportunity to have you listen in on this session from the fifth OPC Presbytery Diaconal Summit, co-hosted by the OPC's Committee on Diaconal Ministries as well as Committee on Ministerial Care, held in Chicago just this past November. Although the content is primarily focused toward those serving on Presbytery Diac onal Committees, I trust you'll find that many aspects of the talk will benefit local deacons with food for thought, even with inspiration that comes from thinking outside the box. We urge you to avail yourself and the resources you'll hear about in this episode. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback and we hope that your work is blessed by the content that you hear. Now let's get into this next episode. Good to be with you brothers, so glad to see all your faces, many of you are familiar to me over many years, others new to me but really appreciate gathering and the opportunity we have together. It's been a few years, as we'll see. So I'm going to talk about the overview of the Presbytery Diaconal Committee mandate, but I'm going to broaden the scope a little bit and give you a little bit of a more historical look as to how we got where we're at and even broader historical look at the history of diaconal ministries in the OPC. So I'd like you to all stand up and now stay standing if you're in this photo and this is our last summit in 2019. If you were that that last summit, please stay standing. And if I got my circles right, there's 15 out of the 34 men who were in Chicago in 2019 were here four years ago. Okay, you can stay standing if you were at the previous summit in 2016. And if I got my circles right, we've got 32% of those who are added. Actually, John, you might have missed one, but you'll be standing in a second. What I'm trying to represent is actually a little bit of the significant turnover that we've had with our Presbyterian Diaconal Committees and the effort to gain momentum in moving forward with reforming our Presbytery Diaconal Committees.

Speaker 1:

Twenty-Fourteen was our second Presbytery Diaconal Summit. If you're in that photo, stand up. Some misssed year, a couple missed a year and got a few of you. There were six guys out of 24, 25%. Okay, let's go to the first summit. We called them the D17 summits at that time, and this is in 2012.

Speaker 1:

Stand up, if you're in that photo, that was in San Diego. Okay, actually I was going to go back to the previous one. The previous one, that was one not to miss. If you were there. If somebody was there, you can ask them why that was one not to miss, but this one, san Diego, was a great spot. We should think about San Diego again. That was nice. I'm not in the photo. I actually was behind the camera, so actually I was there, but actually it's interesting, that was a little more than 10 years ago and we have none of those guys back here.

Speaker 1:

Just to give you a sense of the significant turnover again, lot of wonderful guys in this picture. Some of them were with the Lord, so actually here's a little you know my little engineering background coming out. I got a graph something. So this is the attendance over the years and I think it's very encouraging to see that at this summit we have 12 out of our 17 Presbyterian Diaclet chairman are here at this summit, which is awesome. I think that first year we really were targeting chairman because we really actually invited, you know, each Presbyterian to send a guy and so, and some of them sent a couple guys I think New Jersey had a couple guys there, but we had mainly chairman. But it's great to see that we even have more of those and we've got a greater total number.

Speaker 1:

One of the things that we've, in the early years, became convinced of was that if guys came, they would get this great vision of oh wow, there's great stuff we could be doing in our Presbytery, and then they would get all this all fired up and then they'd go back and now they got to try to sell it to their committee and try to sell it to the Presbytery and there's a huge attrition and you basically end up with maybe 10% of you know what the zeal of what you could do.

Speaker 1:

So anyways, we just see great, we see a lot of value in having a lot of your committee here, and so we're thankful to see the numbers continue, and maybe next time we'll see that number continue to go up. Okay, so definitely glad that each of you are here, and so I wanted to open it up a little bit, interact with you to know what did you come for, what do you hope, and to learn and I think not only would I be interested in your answer to this, but maybe some of the other speakers might be interested in what is it you were hoping to learn? So, any bold soul to share what you were hoping to come and learn, or pick up, besides, you know, a good meal or whatever. Oh no, not Cornette. That's a tough start.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm here because I got all these emails saying, are you coming are you coming, you coming.

Speaker 3:

But other than that.

Speaker 2:

On the real side of things I'm here with one of my deacons and I've been a chair for a while and it's bothered me deep inside that of all the churches on our presbytery my own congregation we didn't have anyone on the committee. I was excited to come with a deacon from my church, but I'm also wrestling with PDC chair. What is our exact role? And? But I have a 10 minutes to our night, some jokes ready and also share what I mean by that.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, reverend Cornette. Alex paddocks up here.

Speaker 2:

I'm in the Presbytery of Southern California and one of the thin gs I'm interested to learn is what other presbyteries do in their meeting. We have three stated meetings it would be interesting to know what work that you guys do and those needs are beyond just trying to support your own..

Speaker 1:

Yeah, good, good, can you. Could you guys hear that? No, yeah, so he was interested. He's interested in hearing what other presbyteries do with their stated meetings, as they think about the work and exercise the work. Yes, benjamin.

Speaker 2:

PCA.

Speaker 1:

Oh no, How'd you get in? Special invitation!

Speaker 2:

We have the only Presbyterian PCA with a diaconal committee, so we want to know how the pros do it. So I'm excited to learn how you guys do it.

Speaker 1:

So that is, this is super special. He is the one presbytery out of the 88 PCA presbyteries that they know of that has a Presbytery Diaconal Committee, and they're eager to not only do well but they're eager to start a wave in the Presbyteries. But don't take Presbytery Diaconal Committees for granted. I mean, I had no idea. I've just assumed that's how we operate. We're so glad you're here, Benjamin. By the way, Benjamin is a deacon who is licensed to preach. He is a chaplain in the prisons. Another cool thing, Bob Keys don't need mic .

Speaker 3:

I think we're struggling with how to get more involved with all of our churches in the things that we do, and we're ready for listening to the other people here to determine how we can get everyone involved in learning, growing as demons, and we've done many, many things, but there are some things that are just hard to overcome. And leadership the other thing is developing leadership. How do you do that? Are there other ideas of how to get and build leadership in our churches and then finally, in our PDCs?

Speaker 2:

I think one of the things that's been on my mind is sorry, jim, for the request. Nope, thank you. Yep, I think a lot of our work has been kind of on the reactive side as the issues have come to us and even having that been the model in our local church, to kind of see how to be more on the reactive side as a president, as a PDC, so they're making and having current churches that are like my own, women have been on the reactive side. So moving from reactive to proactive, Things.

Speaker 1:

You came to learn A few more. Jeremy Brandenburg, presbyteria of Central Pennsylvania.

Speaker 3:

So the microphone's got to come in now. I've been going in my fourth year as pastor for a while, and I became the chair of our Presbyterian Diagnostic Committee and I'm excited to do it, but what do you do, or? How to move it back on the committee, because it's been not totally exacted, but it's not.

Speaker 1:

Why not do it as much as you could? Jeremy, those are good. Any others, any other spirit movers? Okay, good, good, that's great.

Speaker 1:

A focus of the Presbyterian Diagonal Summit, I would say over the years, has been to reform the Presbyterian Diagonal Committees of the OPC. This language that I'll adopt from Nathan from the 2014 summit, I believe, is where we talked about the reform, and we'll get to that in a minute. But first let's talk about how we got here and we're going to open that to the broader context of looking at the OPC more historically. So we'll go all the way to the beginning. This new church is born in 1936 and within 11 years, in 1947, this committee on general benevolence is established, 11 years old. It establishes essentially what's going to become the committee on diagonal ministry. I find this very intriguing. I'm still really trying to figure out what was it. What was the catalyst? We don't just erect denominational committees because it's someone who had a wise idea, but usually there's some sort of catalyst for it and I don't really know exactly what that is, although I'm still I'm interacting, trying to figure it out. I'm very interested in it because actually very few, if any, of our Napark sister churches actually, and who are many of them way older than the OPC, don't have a denominational committee on diagonal ministries and here 11 year old OPC establishes this committee. The committee was given the task to study the needs of Christians who would not normally come under the purview of the deacons of local churches. Study the needs of Christians who would not normally come under the purview of the deacons of local churches. That's a concern for those who are in need, who are Christians, specifically Christians here. But they're beyond the scope of what a local church will interact with. And in a lot of ways the committee on diagonal ministries continues to serve in that way, as we serve kind of in a sense that, as the deacons of the OPC as it pertains to sister churches around the world. Church in Kenya is going through a drought. They ask the OPC for help. It's the committee on diagonal ministries who carries out that diagonal ministry to them through the gifts of God's people that comes from the local church but that need out of Kenya is beyond the purview of the local church and this committee was given the authority to solicit funds and distribute those gifts to the needy Christians.

Speaker 1:

Again, as I've contemplated one of the things I think about, could it be that this committee was established because the OPC itself was actually born out of poverty? You think back to the beginning of the OPC and I fact-checked these with Danny Olinger this afternoon. But of the 48 original OPC churches, only three were able to take their building with them when they left this, the PCUSA, all the other churches all 45, if they had buildings they had to hand the keys over. So all these churches walked away from their buildings. Also, all these ministers and he's guessing about 105 ministers if they had a pension they walked away from that pension, he said. Interestingly enough, the average age of ministers of the OPC was 32, because most of the older gentlemen just couldn't walk away from their pension, particularly because this is during the Great Depression.

Speaker 1:

But again, the OPC was born out of poverty. You know the stories right. I mean they were meeting in chicken coops and taverns and all sorts of crazy places because in an effort to be faithful but they knew poverty directly, he was actually gave me an example. He said there was a Robert Marsden was itinerating to raise funds and some of the families he would stay with one family stayed with. They served him potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner Because that's all they had. That's kind of a poverty that we don't even have any sense of in today's, in America today. But that was what the OPC was dealing with and I think that that's where I wonder if that significantly contributed to this committee establishment of the Committee on General Benevolence.

Speaker 1:

I'm very thankful for the rich history of diacritical ministries that the OPC has and that's exhibited in some different ways. And this is despite being known as the little church with the big mouth. You heard that the OPC described as the little church with the big mouth. They love their doctrine, they love their theology, they like to argue over the finer points. So we have a church that does not just care about the word but we care about deed. We don't just care about the spiritual but we care about the physical. And this is exhibited in these ways.

Speaker 1:

If you look at the OPC foreign missions, since the 40s medical mission has been a part of our foreign missions program. A medical component to a foreign missions program is not a cheap thing to do. It is at significant cost, and yet it started with Clarence Duff bandaging up wounds in Eritrea out of the back of his little truck or whatever he had, and then that had eventually turned into a hospital in Eritrea in the 60s and then that shifted to the hospital in Kenya in the 70s and 80s and then it shifted back in the 90s to the hospital in Eritrea and now for the last 20-some years it's been in Uganda, always called the compassion of Jesus Clinic Pisaona Jesu in Uganda and Tewa Jesu in Kenya. That's a beautiful testimony with regards to our mission fields. Secondly, we've become interested in the last decade or so with refugee ministry and I was wondering, you know, is this something new? And so I kind of did a study and I actually found that the first record that I could see of refugee ministry actually was in 1941. In Philadelphia they were ministering to Jewish refugees who were probably running from Hitler. That's where it began, but you know, it kind of goes around the world. There's a long history of refugee ministry throughout the world through OPC foreign missions, but through even our churches in the 80s, where a lot of our churches were adopting what they called the Bokeh people from Cambodia and Vietnam and Laos during those awful times.

Speaker 1:

In 1953, the GA established a fund called the Aged and Infirmed Ministers, Widows and Orphans Fund. Now again, I don't know the history of that, I don't know the circumstances, I don't know a lot about it, but I think the name says a lot about it Infirmed, aged and inferred ministers, widows and orphans. What a testimony. In the 70s the General Assembly itself actually directed one of our Presbyterians, presbyterians of Philadelphia, to provide funds for inner city school scholarships and that actually went on through my early days on the Camino de Acá ministries into the late 2000s where CDM Camino de Acá ministries was providing some of those scholarships because we had been directed to provide those to this Presbyterian, to these inner city situations. So a rich history of diaconal ministry.

Speaker 1:

This Committee on General Benevolence in 1972 was given a new purpose, and consider this pushing diaconal ministry into the local church. Listen to this wording. Its purpose was to coordinate, stimulate and promote the diaconal ministries of the congregations of the OPC in those areas which are beyond the province and our capacity of the local deacons. In other words, figure out ways to get our local deacons engaged in these ministries that were once beyond their capacity. That interesting, and I think that's a local church being where diaconal ministry predominantly happens. I think the more that we can have the diaconal ministry focused in and under local deacons the better. The next year was given a new name, and that's where it became the Committee on Diaconal Ministries in 1973.

Speaker 1:

In the 80s, mid-80s and I don't know the circumstances behind all these, but the GA General Assembly urged the CDM, the Nomination Committee, to consult with the appropriate local court prior to proceeding and ministering to those within that court. I like to call this Presbyterianism in action, and we still talk about this. We you know the way we do things with a need bubbles up from the local church to the Presbytery. A local church cannot bring a need to the Committee on Diaconal Ministries. It needs to go through the Presbytery, because you could have a local church who's going rogue, who the Presbytery is interacting with and they're not listening. And they're not listening and they're saying, oh, I'll just go directly to the Committee on Diacomistries, they'll help me out. And what have you just done? You just undermined the authority of the Presbytery, and so we are very careful to not bypass the courts. We apply Presbyterianism to how we do Diaconal Ministries and you know what it has avoided us from getting bit time after time when you think that oh, those guys don't got figured out, we'll take care of it for you, and then you get the real story of really what's going on and you get bit, and so that's the protections that are there because we have these different courts. You need to. We need to trust one another to carry out the work that happens at the different courts in the church. And again, I don't know the circumstances of this, but I think this is a very interesting historical note of a kind of a corrective thing that the General Assembly was doing there. So I talked about the Presbytery Diaconal Committee or the Presbytery Diaconal Summit being. A big purpose of it is to help the Presbytery Diaconal Committee to grow.

Speaker 1:

Reform and the CDM Committee on Diacomistries had kind of its own reformation and I would say a big catalyst to that was actually in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. What happened is we all remember it couldn't believe. It couldn't believe what we're seeing or hearing like this coast was just gone. We don't even have churches in that area, but the people in the pews said we want to go help and money started pouring in. But what happened was the CDM at that point was just not poised to head up the response effort and so, thankfully, the Home Missions Committee and David Haney took the lead, and I actually remember being somebody who was in the pews a little bit surprised that the Committee on Diacomistries was not able to be involved was like home missions. I mean, I'm glad Home Missions was doing it, but if anything is diagonal, disaster response is diagonal, but it was just a circumstantially, that's just where we were as a committee. It just was not able to head up that and part of it was didn't have any staffing and that's part of what led to bringing on an administrator in the coming years to be able to bring that responsibility back to the Committee on Diacomistries. So this began a reformation of the CDM to move from really a reactive committee to a much more proactive stance.

Speaker 1:

And here's some of that kind of history in 2004 actually, in God's providence, this is wrong. Actually it was 2005. It was the year of Katrina that David Haney had just been elected to the Committee on Diacomistries. They probably hadn't even met yet. He hadn't even met with the Committee and all of a sudden Hurricane Katrina hits in August and so he's kind of barely on this Committee. So it's 2005. And then, of course, hurricane Katrina hits the next year.

Speaker 1:

Lendell Smith is elected to the Committee and Lendell, in God's providence. He was available, willing to serve and there was a great need at that point for a godly, well-known, trusted entity. And Lendell Smith was God's gift at that time and he had incredible leadership. He's so amazing, so thankful for him and the role he served in helping the Committee begin to develop over those coming years. And so then in 2007, there was a lot of foundational work, principles, policies they were looking at.

Speaker 1:

That's actually when I kind of got involved. I remember going to, I went to my first General Assembly in 2007 and I was reading the report and I was like this is exciting, after being disappointed in 2005 with the Katrina and then, reading the reports, they were looking at their policies and revamping things and how do we do things. And actually I came to the Assembly and I'm like, hey, it's exciting, what's going on? They're like you want to serve on the Committee and my name was the only name elected or name put forward. And so I got elected by Acclimatean and I was I mean, I wasn't any known entity, it was just God's providence. Really there was an opening for ruling elder. At that time the Committee was a Committee of Seven. Now it's Committee of Nine. We've added.

Speaker 1:

A couple of years later we added two more Deacon slots, which has been a really beautiful thing. In 2010, we had our first National Diagonal Summit and that was the first first ever for the OPC to have a summit for Deacons and we had over 200 Deacons totally blessing, I'd like to say, about the summits. People, deacons got to travel to Chicago to meet the Deacon 20 miles down the road and that continues to be true, although deacons are starting to have connections with each other, aren't we Deacons? But it's really. You know, elders go to Presbyteria on a regular basis. They get to know each other, but deacons is predominantly isolated to the local church and we just see great value in deacons establishing connections beyond just local. And at that time we began to talk about what we call now the network of deacons.

Speaker 1:

And if you've seen any of my presentations, which you probably have, you probably recognize this slide. I'm not going to walk you through it but the whole concept of needs starting in a local church and they can be bubbled up. And this is obviously very, very relevant to you because you guys are the middle of the chain there. And actually I'm going to quote Lendl Smith here. He says that the Presbyterian Diagonal Committee is the lynchpin. You know what the lynchpin is right? It's that little pin that holds the hub onto the axle and if that lynchpin comes loose, the whole axle falls, the wheel falls off and the lint and the whole thing falls apart. And that's where we, as a Committee on Diagonal Ministries, we just saw that the Presbyterian Diagonal Committee was so important for the network of deacons to be effective. And again, pca Brother, they're starting to see that and they pray. They pray for a denominational committee on diacons. That'll be the next step for them to really be able to be connected.

Speaker 1:

But we had work to do in our own house. The Presbyterian Diagonal Committees were pretty weak, if I may say, not all of them, but predominantly and so that was where the CDM began to ask who are the Presbyterian Diagonal Committees? We had a lot of assumptions about them. We would talk about it in our meetings, we would talk about well, the Presbyterian Diagonal Committee does that, or refer that to the Presbyterian Diagonal Committee, and we talked about them as if they were homogenous, as if they were all one entity. We didn't really know them, we didn't really have interactions with them, and so we actually started to study them. We found that they actually were far from homogenous. They were varying structures, mandates, purposes, and they're all serving Presbyteries. The question is, why are they all so different? And I think the answer is they don't need to all be different, but they all developed independently in different Presbyteries of their own, and so we actually said, okay, let's get these representatives together, and we held our first in 2012,.

Speaker 1:

We had the first what we called the D17 Summit Diagonal Representatives from the 17 Presbyteries I still think it's cuter names than PDS, but anyways and what we did is we gathered all the bylaws of all 17 Presbyteries and we said we want to know what is, what's the description for your committee. And you saw the picture that was up there. Those guys who were there A lot of those guys came to that meeting and had no idea. I don't know a lot, but I know of at least one, and I'm sure he wasn't alone had no idea what the bylaws said was his mandate of his committee, and so we were actually informing them. This is what your Presbyteries says you're actually supposed to be doing. He was like, oh wow, we didn't even know that we should be doing XYZ. And so we put together the PDC mandate, which is actually pH 23 in your booklet there If you're not familiar with this document.

Speaker 1:

This document was established. Basically it really was. Let's see what all the bylaws are. What's the common denominator between all the Presbyteries? What's a comprehensive set of what all the various Presbyteries think that a Presbyteried Diagonal Committee should be doing? And that became the proposed PDC mandate. So my question for you this is a little bit of a test of how well you know your bylaws but how many of your Presbyteries actually have, since that point in time, actually adopted a part of this into your bylaws, a part of the PDC mandate, and there should be more than three hands up.

Speaker 1:

A lot of your Presbyteries have adopted all or most of the PDC mandate. Not all of your Presbyteries, but a lot of them. I would say there's probably. I would guess that there's about eight different Presbyteries that I know of that have adopted this document or parts of it. And you know, and that's great. It doesn't have to be all of it, but generally it's a pretty helpful, helpful document. Okay, so I'm not going to actually talk us through every part of it. Hopefully you're anybody seeing this document for the first time, not to put you on the spot. I'm going to put you on the spot First time ever seeing this document proposed PDC mandate. Okay. So, again, I just told you what it was.

Speaker 1:

We kind of organized it. We said, well, what are the things that have to do with local congregations? Stand ready to assist local diaconists with matters that exceed their local resources? Okay, good, but you know, stand ready to assist congregations and mission works that have no local deacons. Oh, that's a good one. What if, by the way, you guys who are asking about proactive, how to be proactive, here's a whole set of categories. As a matter of fact, I have copies of the agenda that the Presbyterian Philadelphia's committee uses and we actually we adopted these, the Presbyterian Philadelphia adopted these, the mandate, into our bylaws and we actually structured our agenda.

Speaker 1:

After this. We say are there matters bubbling up to us from local diaconists? Guys, anything, you guys know, anything around the room? Nope, okay. But next thing, which of our churches don't have deacons? Let's list them and we have them all listed in our agenda With this church, anything coming out of that church, and who's the key point of contact there, which deacons are overseeing them.

Speaker 1:

It makes you all of a sudden look at your churches and say which ones don't got deacons. And I'll tell you what. If a church doesn't have deacons, I know what our Book of Church order says, right? What does it say? If a church doesn't have deacons, then who's doing it? Yeah, and who's actually doing it? Probably nobody. Or it's getting second or third place, right? I mean, that's why there was an Act VI, division of labor, because when you burden the same guy with the two things, one of them is going to suffer and it's not going to be the ministry of the Word. And so we need to be looking at congregations and mission works that don't have deacons. We have a whole talk dedicated to that, about thinking about how to help mission works.

Speaker 1:

Think about diacral ministry, promoting and encouraging a coordinating diacral work within the Presbytery, communicating and promoting diacral ministry opportunities within the Presbytery. Is it a refugee ministry? Is it grace for Ukraine? Wonderful thing to do together, right? A lot of our Presbyteries embrace that as a thing we can do together, draws us together, unites our hearts and our minds. In those ways, educate and encourage the Presbytery to carry out diacral responsibilities in response to various needs.

Speaker 1:

What about regarding the CDM? And, by the way, this proposed mandate needs to be tweaked a little bit, john Fickert, we're still a lot of like behind the A-ball on a lot of things of incorporating CMC into things because this was written before there was a Committee on Ministerial Care. But ministerial care doesn't currently appear in this. But it should, because actually and one of the reasons why we are now co-hosting this summit with the Committee on Ministerial Care because I think that the Committee on Ministerial Care has almost more interest in a functioning Presbytery Diacral Committee than the Committee on Diacral Ministries. Why? Because the Committee on Ministerial Care is concerned for the care of ministers and brothers. Presbytery Diacral Committees you guys are the deacons to ministers. The Presbytery that does that the most actually has that baked into the name of their Presbytery. That's the Presbytery in New Jersey, which is called what, chris? What's your Presbytery Committee's name?

Speaker 2:

Yes, there are two. There are many Ministerial care, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Ministerial care and diacral committee. Oh, you guys added to it Diacral needs. So they, even before there was ministerial care, they had a very much ministerial focus. And actually the next section, yeah, promote work. The CDM and the CMC within the Presbytery would be good. Serve as a liaison to the CDM and CMC, which is what happens. We'll get to the ministers in a second. We're going to disaster relief. Promote the work of disaster relief among the churches, coordinate with the CDM and the broader church in general.

Speaker 1:

Regarding ministers, inquire and act to ensure that every retired minister of the Presbytery and every minister's widow and his dependent family have adequate resource to meet their needs. This is one of the things I think our Presbyteries do the best. But you know why. That is Because there was a member of the OPC who gave a large gift to the Committee on Diacrimestries in 2005. It started called the Obadiah Fund and that gift is now that oversight of that and responsibility of that is now under the Committee on Ministerial Care. But it's because the Committee on Diacrimestries and now the Committee on Ministerial Care annually says have you talked to your retired ministers and widows? And you go oh, we better get on phone. Who's calling them? Who's talking to them Right, that big nudge.

Speaker 1:

But as Presbyterian Diagonal Committees you can become more proactive. In that it doesn't have to be purely reactive. Oh, somebody asked me I need to ask, but it can be part of your regular agenda. You're meeting regularly. It's on your agenda so and so and so and so and so and so. And when you come to that, who works to meetings? Who gets their work done because it's on an agenda than meetings? So now I'm going to get this stuff done. I work to meetings. I got a presentation here because I had to meet with you and talk to you guys today. We all pretty much do work to meetings. If you don't have an agenda and if you're not meeting regularly, you will always be a reactive committee. If you want to be proactive, you need to have regular meetings and you need to have an agenda. And if you want and on that agenda you have the names, the specific names of people that you should be following up to, so that when you walk into that room and you got to give a report, you've actually called them the day before. And that's exactly what happens with local deacons, and I know that it happens with ours as well Seek to discover cases of pastors in need and provide aid as circumstances warrant.

Speaker 1:

Regarding anticipating needs assess needs by conducting surveys of the financial needs of the churches of the Presbyterians. Anybody done that? Anybody done that? I don't know. We certainly have Haven't A survey. I don't know where. We pulled that out of somebody's bylaws and we're like, oh, that's good, let's put that on there.

Speaker 1:

Bring to the Presbyterians attention the work of other Christian relief agencies. This is one that I think some Presbyterians might go. We're going to mix that one. It's not a bad one, but it's just beyond the pale of so. And then finally I think it's finally regarding financial diagonal funds, raised funds. Tells us how to even raise funds. If this is in your bylaws, you're permitted then to raise funds from the church to the Presbyterian to meet particular needs that come to the attention of the PDC. That's an as needed Money raised as needed, right. But then there's B is recommend an annual per capita amount that each church of the Presbyterians should contribute to the PDC. How many of your Presbyterians in your Presbyterians do you recommend a per capita amount to your churches so that they say it's $5 per communicant member. We're going to send that. How many of you do that Most, most half. Maybe that's a really effective way of getting funds, by the way, and then, of course, request funds from the CDM by the way, we're here or the CMC. We're here with funds. You have the ability to receive those.

Speaker 1:

Regarding deacons, I said I wasn't going to go through them, but I got started and so many of you said you'd never seen it, so that's why I'm going. Regarding deacons and the Presbyterian, maintain a role of active deacons. This is so important, so important. I don't know how you're going to coordinate deacons if you don't even know who the deacons are and if you don't have a role, if you don't have their email addresses or their phone numbers. When something happens, you can actually reach out to them.

Speaker 1:

To me, this is like an easy step one. It's like it's the easiest thing to start with. If you're like, how do we become more active? Like actually establish a list and then maybe update that list annually Maybe it's on your annual to-do list on that one agenda. This is the annual time. This is the one we're going to send out the email. Does this email still work? Respond, please, that type of thing Be. Promote communication between the local deacon boards. Okay, so that's the mandate. That's it Pretty comprehensive, but I bet you, if you go through that, you can actually come up with a pro.

Speaker 1:

You can come up with a significant list of good work that your Presbyterian Diagonal Committee can be doing. It's not just calling up the retired people when they ask to call, or wait for the phone to ring when somebody can't pay their bills. That is purely reactive and basically you have no presence. They don't know you're there, you're, you know, I don't know. But if you want to be leaning forward, this is a wonderful list to start with. Okay, I might sound a little bit negative, but I want to tell you that I was so I am so encouraged by a lot of beautiful things going on in a lot of your Presbyterians. I sent out a survey to your chairman, a different survey from the other one you guys got. I'm asking them to basically kind of share with share in that survey the big things that they were focused on in their Presbytery and where they what they are doing now and compare it to five years ago ways. It's a blessing to the Presbytery and even some advice. And here's some of some of what I've seen is I've seen that many Presbyterians have adopted most or all of the proposed PDC mandate. I've seen that many PDCs have been restructured and resized. A lot of your committees have been, which is wonderful.

Speaker 1:

I said or it was in my little intro I was so disappointed in my Presbyteria. We were doing all of this stuff right and my Presbytery had the nerve to go and basically knock our, our committee. I wasn't on the committee, but it was a committee of two Presbyters. There were no deacons on it, and they said we want to shrink all our committees. Our committees are too big, so we're going to cut one person off of every committee. So they took this committee of two and they knocked it down to one. And then they said to me they said do you want to serve on that committee? And I said yeah, with one condition I'm going to propose a change to the bylaws. And I did and I said I want to adopt this proposed mandate and I want a committee of five. I want two Presbyters and I want three deacons. And you know what? They gave it to me and now we've got a Rockin committee In our committee.

Speaker 1:

Our chairman is a deacon, our secretary is a deacon. All three deacons are retired. So they you know they're full time for our committee, right, guys? They're all here, by the way, all three deacons and the Presbyter is not here the other Presbyter, because you know pastors are busy, but the deacons are here. Can I? This is a challenge.

Speaker 1:

Deacons are to do the work, so why you need deacons on your committee to do the work? It's a diagonal ministry. Presbyters are the link to the Presbytery. Presbyters are the ones who know the ministers, who the minister maybe feels comfortable, because they don't know the deacons who they're going to know the need, they're the link there. But you make your deacons. If you can get the deacons to be the chairman, it's wonderful. Secretary, wonderful.

Speaker 1:

I come out of our meetings with, almost all the time, zero action items. I love our meetings but I come out with and maybe one of the reasons I love them because I come out with zero action items. But you know what All of our deacons got all the action items. I haven't yet to hear any of them complain about the action items because they're servants, they're there to serve. I think I probably got ahead of myself.

Speaker 1:

More deacons on PDC. That is so encouraging. We've got so many more deacons on Presbyteria, diagonal committees Is that the craziest thing to have a Presbyteria diagonal committee that you don't have deacons on, just, but we're growing, we're growing. It's wonderful and I think I counted eight of the Presbyteria diagonal committees are chaired by deacons. I'll tell you what in 2012, I think it was zero. I don't think there was a single Presbyteria diagonal committee that had a deacon as a chair. You know what? Because I think some of our Presbyterias didn't think it was allowed. I think some of our Presbyterias may still think it's not allowed, but eight of our Presbyterias don't have an issue with it, and I certainly don't. I don't think there's anything wrong with it and I think it's actually a really, really blessing.

Speaker 1:

I've seen more and more Presbyteria committees that are holding regular meetings with a formal agenda so important. You can't just wing it. If you're going to always be a reactive committee, if you have no formal agenda, you need to have a written agenda and it should have placeholders for those things that just kind of pop in. But there are things that you need to be going through on a regular basis. Do you report? Do you bring a report to your Presbyteria? There are a lot of committees that don't, and that's why it's the do nothing committee, because Presbyterias Presbyteria doesn't even know it exists. Oh yeah, it's in the bylaws. Who's on that committee? You have no idea, but when you're regular reporting on what's going on, you're actually bringing an awareness to the work of the committee, to what you're doing.

Speaker 1:

They bring excitement and encouragement. The Presbyteria should be encouraged by what's happening. It's not a secret society or something like that. This is Christ's work with Christ's money. It should be reported to the Presbyteria on a regular basis. Let them know what you're doing. Let them be encouraged. Let them report back to their deacons. Maybe they even will encourage their deacons to be on the committee, because it's a committee that does something. Who wants to have their deacons serve on a Presbyteria Diagnostic Committee that doesn't do anything? Talk about discouraging. That's not a good testimony to the deacons. Let them be on a committee that does something and report what you're doing. That should be a regular thing. I'm seeing that a lot of PDCs are connecting local deacons by ways of regional conferences, work projects, picnics and otherwise doing some sort of regional events Connecting our deacons. We're seeing more of that happening. It's beautiful. If you want to do a conference or something like that, we've got guys who can help you with that. It really would be an easy thing to do to support you on those type of things Work projects. You'll be hearing about what some of the Presbyterias are doing. I'm excited about what my Presbyterias are doing. Dave Aske will be sharing it over the next 24 hours Coordinated disaster response.

Speaker 1:

This has been so hugely helpful to me personally Mike Kloy, tim Hopper, seth Long, neon, kentucky, was 90% overseen by the Presbytery of the Southeast Committee. The response effort and that response effort was huge Rebuilt the whole church from the ground up. I was on the calls. I not all the calls. A lot of the calls I wasn't on. But you know what. The work went forward because the Presbytery was leaning forward, was poised, ready. Actually they visited the site before I visited. I visited way late in the game. They visited. I didn't need to visit actually because they visited.

Speaker 1:

Duration of service on the PDC is increasing, by the way. All those pictures it was fun to see all those pictures, but I really want you to get the point that there's huge turnover on our Presbytery Diagonal Committees. I'm glad to see a lot of new faces, but I don't want to see a new face in your seat next time. I want to see your face again. Stay with the committee. We need longevity. You don't get momentum when you just turn over. It takes work, it takes baby steps that's on the next slide. But it's baby steps and baby. None of the stuff has to be done overnight, but you do a little by little, by little by little.

Speaker 1:

I'm so glad that the last Presbytery there were four Presbyteries who their structure was to basically have the Presbytery Diagonal Committee responsibility rove from Diacon. It to Diacon on a two-year cycle and you know what those deacons would get this responsibility and they're like we're supposed to do what? Were the Presbytery Diagonal Committee. What does that do? I don't know who's the who's on it. Like they would just get this responsibility. And so you know what those committees did, did nothing, they didn't. And if they did something they didn't keep the big records of it and pass it on to the next. Guys who did it got rid of all those. Now we actually have standing committees and those four Presbyteries all of them standing committees now. So you need to have duration of service. Stick with it, keep re-upping and that's how we build momentum and actually begin to serve our church as well.

Speaker 1:

The funds are growing. I think the average funds in a Presbytery Diagonal Committee is $20,000 to $30,000. I asked all of you what do you have in your balance of funds? $20,000 to $30,000, and some of them are way higher than that. How do you respond to diagonal needs without funds? Right, but now you actually have funds and the Presbytery actually knows you have funds. So when somebody's in need, like a minister's in need, do we want our ministers to be shy, to come to us with needs, or do we want them to like, make their needs aware so that we can actually help them? Well, when you have funds, they're much more willing and apt to come. So it's great More local deacons know now of the existence of the Presbytery Diagonal Committee and see it as a resource for funds or advice.

Speaker 1:

Right Now you have a presence. You can bring encouragement to the local deacons Locally. If they have needs that exceed their capacity, they're allowed to come to you. At least that's how the proposed mandate's written. And so suddenly you are a resource to the local diagons, meaning that their work can be more effective as well. And then I think this might be the last one, I don't know, but I think this is beautiful.

Speaker 1:

The deacons see themselves as part of a connected church. You know, we are not the orthodox Presbyterian churches. We are one church and yet many deacons predominantly their focus and their responsibility is local, but the more you have a connection with them, they begin to feel part of a regional church and a denominational church. That's great. Sorry, there's more. All sorts of good things, I don't know what to say. Ministers see a real avenue for diagonal care and a resource to them. I was just talking about that. Okay, and again to mention, by the way, in 2017, the Committee on Minister was formed with a focus of specifically ministering to ministers. That's really been a tremendous blessing. Privileged to hear a couple of talks from John Ficker and the good work his committee is doing as well.

Speaker 1:

So how do we continue to reform? Baby steps? Nathan Trice's list of low-hanging fruit. I love how you know page 22. I'm not going to have time to go through all of those. These are his lists. It's printed in there for you. But if you're like, how do we kind of like, what are some things? There's super easy ones in there Establish a role of deacons, have a conference. So be encouraged. I am reformed and ever reforming your PDCs. Baby steps. Yet progress Don't stagnate. Keep moving forward and, as Chris reminded us, do all the glory of God, empowered as a servant of Christ. Thank you. Thanks for joining us. Go to our website, thereformdeaconorg. There you will find all our episodes, program notes and other helpful resources, and please make plans to join us again next month for another episode of the Reform Deacon Podcast.

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