For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
– Matthew 18:20
It didn’t take me long, after becoming a member of the Diaconate* two years ago, to realize that serving on this ministry of mercy is quite a faith building experience, both for those we work with and for us deeks (our affectionate term for deacons and deaconesses). Walking with care recipients through what may very well be the most difficult, challenging period of their life is humbling, and it never ceases to amaze me how open people are about their circumstances and struggles.
My fellow deeks and I are able to experience this on a weekly basis during what is commonly referred to as DUF—Deeks Up Front—the time after Redeemer’s Sunday services when we position ourselves near the stage to be available to congregants for prayer and question answering.
The opportunity to pray with people, many of whom I’ve never met before, about matters close to their hearts is a privilege. Because God’s Word is so broad and deep, invariably the Scripture passage and sermon points from that Sunday address the issue the congregant is dealing with. To talk and pray with the congregant about how the Bible speaks to his or her particular situation makes God’s Word even more real and applicable to that individual. The impact of prayer is such that, in a matter of minutes, the mood turns from despair to hope; anxiety to peace; sorrow to joy—and that is not only for the congregant but for me as well. I find that as I pray for another’s needs the Lord ministers to me and gives me godly insight into my own needs.
Every so often DUF comes full circle, so to speak, when someone I’ve previously prayed for gives me an update on the situation we prayed about. It’s so encouraging to hear how the Lord worked in that person’s life. I am thankful Redeemer leadership includes DUF as part of each Sunday and that I can be a part of this particular way in which Redeemer serves its congregation.
* The Diaconate is Redeemer’s ministry of mercy addressing the needs of those in our church family experiencing hardship. The Diaconate is our response to God’s calling to be merciful, to love and care for one another in practical ways. If you need practical assistance, please call the Diaconate Helpline, (212) 726-1334.