The Deacon Ministry
A hospital stay is usually the last thing on your mind. We normally go about life not thinking of the “what ifs.” We believe we will live to be 100 and always live in good health. To show this, a survey from AARP states that 60% of American adults do not have a will or living trust. We are not to worry about tomorrow, but having basic plans in place is not a bad idea. One of the simplest plans to make is identifying who will watch out for me in the short term. What happens if I need to be in the hospital for a week? Identifying a helpful friend will make it easier for everyone who wishes to help. They can set up meals, restrict or encourage visits, and they can give out the latest information that is correct. You would be surprised how many incorrect reports you can get in less than an hour about the same situation.
To help in this vital ministry of our church we have the deacon ministry. The deacons are not here to be everyone’s point person, but rather help the patient establish who they want to be the point person. The deacon ministry of First Baptist currently consists of sixteen men who have been nominated by the people, approved by the church leadership, and met the qualifications for the office of deacon described in 1 Timothy 3. As servants of the church, we have assigned each Sunday School class a deacon. Most of the men have introduced themselves to their class in the last few weeks. To best meet the needs of our church, we will be encouraging all of our adults to join a Sunday School class both for edification and the opportunity to have a deacon. However, for those who do not have a class, we will be introducing ourselves individually during the welcome time near the pews in which the deacon sits. Should you find yourself in need of a deacon or you do not know your deacon, please call the church office, and we will let you know who your deacon is or assign one to you.
In addition to adding more deacons, we are also trying to do a better job with communication. There have been many times where we have had people in the hospital, and we did not know of their stay until after the person was released. To best meet this need, we will have a Hospital Visitation Ministry form available in all adult Sunday School classes. These forms will also be online for you to fill out. On this form we ask you to identify your Sunday School teacher, your name, membership status, and contact information. The second tier of information helps us know when and where you have a hospital stay. There have been times we knew you were having surgery, but we did not know where or what day. The third tier gives us permission to come visit and what information you want told to the church.
The deacons have been training on making brief hospital visits and learning how to best serve you. Our visits are usually short concluding with prayer. There are times we can stay with the family during a difficult surgery, but we desire not to overstay.
Most of the time we do not have our hospital stays planned. If you find yourself in the hospital and wish to have a visit, please ask the nurse to contact the Chaplin. The Chaplin will call us for you.
In the past, we have relied on Sunday School prayer lists. These are good for your class and your deacon would like a copy; however, we are asking you to take this additional step on paper so we can know how you wish to be served. Even if you do not wish for us to come, you can still have us pray for you and/or put you on the prayer list on Wednesday night.
So the $1,000,000 question is what does a deacon do. We are here to lift others up. The deacons serve as servants to those desiring a hospital visit, they are helpers to our widows and orphans in conjunction with the GROW ministry team, we help with the Lord’s Supper and baptism, and in some cases we will help connect people needing assistance. We are not the governing body of the church.
I hope that as we serve you and your family you will now have a better understanding of the deacons and our work to ensure that the ministry of prayer and preaching can be the most effective.