Deacon Profile - Jeffrey Ong
From my earliest memories as a child, I grew up attending Northwest where I learned about our personal salvation through Christ alone. However, it wasn’t my faith yet — it was more of my mother bringing me to church each Sunday for children’s church and occasional fellowships. Church was more of a social event rather than an act of true worship. Jesus is the Savior, but was not my personal savior yet. It wasn’t until high school and into college that God began to stir in my heart reminding me I would always be His child. Nothing I did or didn’t do would ever change His love for me. However, his ultimate desire for me was to make a decision and accept His free and wonderful gift of salvation. I saw the hope and light from Jesus during one of the darkest times of my life. My mother bravely fought cancer for over three years—enduring the pain of multiple surgeries, radiation treatments and suffering through the terrible health complications. I marveled at her strength, endurance and ability to push forward during this time. While it was agonizing to watch her slowly slip away, I had peace and believed that God was waiting for her to provide an eternal home. However, I didn’t find my strength in God alone, I also found support in family and friends He brought to my side.
As time passed by, and family and friends got back to their normal routines, there remained an emptiness in my heart and a true desire for acceptance. I still felt a calling on my heart to come back and devote my life to Him. He was always there with open arms, always ready to welcome me home. In 2006, after church hopping and attending my friend’s church, I felt God was calling me back to Northwest again. God also prompted my close friends to share their personal testimonies with me, which only confirmed God’s calling on my life. When I returned to Northwest, I was immediately welcomed by old friends, and made new ones through small groups and fellowships. I knew this was the church God wanted me to call my spiritual home and ultimately called me to commit myself to Him. I was baptized by immersion by Pastor Terry Wong in October 2006.
Call to Serve
As I became a part of the small group ministry at Northwest, I felt that God was leading me to serve Him in a greater way. I eventually started hosting the young adult small group at my house and was also asked to lead a men’s small group during the week. Even though I didn’t have any experience hosting or leading a small group, God in His wisdom brought along Godly role models—people who were willing to come alongside and help me serve.
Thanks to this service opportunity, God showed me not only the importance of investing in people’s lives, but also strengthening and encouraging a community of believers. But, ultimately it’s about equipping each other to work outside of the church walls to bring hope and healing to a world in desperate need of a savior. Because of these opportunities, I was challenged in my faith, grew in service to others, and felt truly blessed to be a part of a community of believers. Over the years, God has opened doors by allowing me to serve as an usher, a video editor for the young adult services and a summer youth camp counselor.
Most recently, I’ve been asked to lead adult Sunday school lessons to both men and women. This has been a blessing to learn from such a diverse group of individuals who are open to sharing how God is continuing to move in their lives, and ultimately how we can encourage and help each other in our walks. Through each of these opportunities, God was using the tools He provided me to use for His glory.
The opportunity to become a deacon is my next step in my service to Him. The prospect of becoming a deacon is daunting and if I rely on my own strength, I will fail. But, I trust God and know He has called me to serve Him in this role and if selected I know He has equipped me uniquely for this new opportunity.
I believe my ministry and professional experiences confirm that one of my spiritual gifts is serving. I genuinely care about investing in the lives of others and serving people with the gifts and talents God has given me. This same focus on serving has extended into my professional career when I worked in the news industry and provided news and information to the public. This is why I also find my current job very appealing because I have the opportunity as a member of legislative staff to work on bills and pass laws that are meant to serve and help the public good.
I’ve also been told that I have a gift of mercy and empathy. I believe this comes from wanting to listen to people and encourage them. Subsequently, people feel that I’m easy to talk to and am a great listener. I know that I may not have the experience or knowledge to provide people with advice, but often that’s okay because people just want someone who will listen to them and provide a safe place where they aren’t feeling judged or put down. If I am able to provide that then I am happy to. This is an important gift from God that I could use as a deacon to encourage people and help them grow in their relationship with God.
I also have the gift of leadership through service. I see how God has provided many opportunities for me to step into leadership roles in small groups, teaching Sunday school, and now I believe this is a further chance to expand my leadership skills in a new possible role as deacon. God has consistently asked me to serve Him in different ways and I’ve tried to be obedient to these opportunities, especially when it wasn’t convenient for me or was out of my comfort zone. This opportunity to serve as a deacon will provide another way to practice my spiritual gifts, and perhaps help me realize there are other gifts that God has equipped me with to help further His Kingdom.
Strength and Weaknesses
I believe I am a good listener and people feel like they can talk to me. My wife says to me that one of the things she likes the most about me is that “I am safe harbor. I am someone who will listen attentively with non-judgment and empathy.” Over the years, friends and family have discussed their issues with me and feel compelled to share their personal successes and struggles. I try my best to withhold judgment or negativity to create a safe space for people to share. I strive to be respectful to them by providing advice only if they ask and try to be present to provide comfort and be a sounding board if needed.
I am also a very organized person which allows me to effectively multi-task which I think will serve me well in this position of overseer and church servant-leader. Of course, I also have weaknesses which God is continuing to make the necessary changes in me. While I find
it easy to listen to others, I find it equally hard to confront people even when it may be necessary or constructive. I would rather send someone an email or text, rather than confront the person directly. God is showing me there are times for gentle yet firm, constructive criticism and correction to help others, so I know there will be times ahead where this needs to happen and I trust that God will equip me to do so.
Recently, God brought our 10-month-old puppy, Petey, into our lives. This has provided opportunities for me to develop my confrontation and disciplinary skills. As a result, I feel I have become more outspoken, yet firm and gracious in the way I discipline not only my puppy, but people God has placed me in authority over.
Another weakness I am working on is my tendency to be overly-yielding in my interactions with people. I don’t always take charge when necessary. I will often let others take the initiative to do something and will come along to assist and support. Since deacons are church leaders who will be looked upon to initiate decisions and provide direction to the church body, I am willing to let God challenge and stretch me in this area.
Present Ministry Involvement
Currently, I serve on the ushering team and welcome teams. I also prepare and teach adult Sunday school lessons and assist with team teaching for the preschool ministry with my lovely wife. I am also an active member of the West Valley small group.