New Presbytery Diaconal Initiative
It makes sense that there are both vocational pastors who are financially supported by the church so they can devote full-time attention to the ministry as well as “tentmakers” who, though ordained to the ministry, devote a large portion of their time to other vocations. Yet, there are few churches or presbyteries that have paid staff to lead in diaconal ministries of mercy.
The Central Florida Presbytery (CFP) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has approved an initiative to support at least one full-time deacon who can help equip the saints for the work of deaconing (Ephesians 4:12) in their geographical bounds. The Administrative Deacon will devote his full-time attention to help deacons in the presbytery fulfill their callings according to BCO 9-2. He will do this in the following ways:
- Convene deacons for education, training, encouragement, and joint service opportunities.
- Consult with deacons, sessions, and pastors on issues related to mercy ministry.
- Curate resources and a diaconal directory to connect and equip deacons.
The vision for this position was inspired in part by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which has a full-time administrator for its Committee on Diaconal Ministries. David Nakhla currently serves the OPC in this role and has helped Central Florida Presbytery in forming the job description for the Administrative Deacon. According to David,
“This proposal of an Administrative Deacon for the Presbytery of Central Florida, one who will be charged with waking up every day thinking about the ministry of mercy, will most certainly be used by the Lord to do what he commands in Hebrews 10:24, ‘…to stir up one another to love and good works.’ That has certainly been our experience in the OPC.”
Central Florida Presbytery has created a website to assist with its efforts to raise funds for the position. The PCA Foundation has provided a gift to the presbytery in support of this new role. Tim Townsend, president of the PCA Foundation believes deacons “could be much more effective in producing thanksgiving and glory to God if organized and assisted by full-time administrative deacons similarly full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. I commend the Central Florida Presbytery Deacons Committee for this initiative, and pray earnestly for its success and replication.”
According to BCO 9.2, one of the duties entrusted to deacons is to develop the grace of giving among church members. The PCA Foundation is excited to provide more support to deacons as they oversee the collection of donations, and foresees a future in which it collaborates with church diaconates and presbytery deacons committees in raising awareness of extraordinary needs and charitable opportunities within the presbyteries, and contributions for them, across the PCA.
The Foundation encourages churches and individuals to consider financially supporting this unique effort with the hope of seeing it replicated across the denomination. To further encourage giving to this initiative, the Foundation board has approved $35,000 in matching funds, and has created a fund to receive contributions for support of the CFP Deacon’s Committee. When you give to the Foundation’s CFP Deacon’s Committee Fund through September 30, 2023, the PCA Foundation will double your gift up to the match amount.