October/November 2014 - Vol. 76

Servants of the Word
                    celebration August 2014
A recent meeting of the International Brotherhood Council - August 2014
Servants of the Word - New Growth and Update

The Servants of the Word is an ecumenical, international brotherhood of men living single for the Lord within a larger community of communities, the Sword of the Spirit. The brotherhood began in August of 1971. Today there are fifty lifelong members, along with many other younger men who are affiliates or in a formation process in the Servants of the Word. The brothers live a common way of life in ten households around the world and actively serve in the mission of the Sword of the Spirit, an international network of Christian communities.

Three brothers from three different countries recently made a life-long commitment to the Servants of the Word this past August, 2014. [See insert below.]

Three Brothers from three different countries made life-long
commitments to Servants of the Word last August 2014

recent life-long
Noel Delgadillo (left) from Miami, USA, Dale Arconado (center) from Manila, Philippines, and Joe Fahd (right) from Beirut, Lebanon each made a life-long commitment to the Servants of the Word this past August, 2014

In response to the exceeding greatness of the gift of God, we dedicate ourselves to loving him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and consecrate our lives to his service.
from Servants of the Word Covenant

The Brotherhood Council which met this past August 2014 re-elected Ken Noecker [photo below] to a second four year term as Presiding Elder of the Servants of the Word.

Ken Noecher
                                presiden elder for Servants of the Word 

And lastly, Andy Pettman [below] highlights some of the key aspects of the call and life together of the brothers in the Servants of the Word.

Our Call and Life Together as Servants of the Word

by Andy Pettman

In the New Testament, a young man seeks out Jesus to learn from him the path to eternal life. Jesus’ reply was a personal invitation – “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor … and come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). That invitation has been taken up by Christians through the centuries; the Servants of the Word began with a similar call. 

In the early 1970s, a group of young men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, came together in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA with a common vision for a life of total consecration to God, lived in community and in simplicity, for the sake of more fruitful and effective service to the Christian people. What follows is a brief description of the most important aspects of our call and life together as a brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. 

Single for the Lord
There are many ways of following the Lord, and most Christians are called to the blessing of marriage, family life, and fruitful careers. But by choosing to stay single, we in the Servants of the Word are free to devote our time, energy, and resources to more direct and concerted service of the Lord and his people (1 Corinthians 7:25-33). Jesus himself is our best model of a man whose perfect freedom and single-minded dedication to his Father enabled him to accomplish his mission on earth (Matthew 19:10-12).  

Brothers pray
                                with Noel duringt the commitment
Brothers pray with Noel at the life-long commitment ceremony - August 2014

Our name, The Servants of the Word, expresses our fundamental identity: we are servants of Jesus Christ, servants of his Gospel which we wish to proclaim to others, and servants of the local communities of which we are a part and of the larger Sword of the Spirit, an international and ecumenical association of Christian communities. As servants, we believe that our lives are “not our own” (1 Corinthians 6:19), and we wish to place all our time and every aspect of our lives at the disposal of the Lord and of his people.

We firmly believe that God has called each brother to make a personal decision to be his disciple. Like the man who stumbled upon hidden, buried treasure, and like the merchant who chanced upon a pearl of exceeding value, we have renounced all else in order to follow the Lord and have the “one thing necessary” (Luke 10:42). To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to belong to him. We are his men, going with him wherever he goes, trying to do his work, and living as he would. Our desire is to imitate him as well as we can, as we await the coming of his kingdom.

A life of prayer
The Servants of the Word aspire to be men of prayer. The worship of God punctuates our waking hours, from morning praise together, to communal evening and night prayers. Following a longstanding Christian tradition, we chant the psalms, and together intercede for various needs. Appreciative of the Lord’s gift of charismatic prayer and worship “in the Spirit,” we also spontaneously “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” with thankfulness in our hearts (Colossians 3:16).

In addition to corporate worship, each brother also spends time individually in prayer and meditation.  The reading and study of Scripture is a high priority, as well as growing in understanding of our Christian faith through other teaching resources.

Several times a year, the brothers go on weekend retreats together. These are special times for more extended prayer and meditation, and for building up our brotherly relationships.

Celebration for brothers who
                                  made life-long commitments
Servants of the Word members enjoy a celebrative meal in honor of the brothers who recently made their
commitments to the Servants of the Word - August 2014

A shared life
Our relationships of brotherhood and friendship are an integral element of Servant of the Word life. We wish, not just to be co-workers or fellow servants of one another, but brothers, friends in Christ. To this end, we regularly meet in smaller groups to talk about our lives and to be accountable to one another. We normally share the morning and evening meal together, and we make time for other common activities, recreation, and fellowship to strengthen and build up one another.

Sharing a common life also means respecting the order and structures which make a corporate existence possible. Some brothers have pastoral responsibility for governing our life and caring for brothers.  Some are entrusted with handling legal and financial matters on behalf of the brotherhood. And some are concerned that the daily, ordinary life of our various households goes well.

> See related article by Andy Pettman on Household Life in Servants of the Word

Andy Pettman is a life-long member of The Servants of the Word and leader of the Servants of the Word household in London, UK. Andy also serves as senior coordinator of Antioch Community in London, UK. He is a member of the Sword of the Spirit teaching team and regularly speaks at conferences, seminars, and retreats..

 copyright © 2014 The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom