Dear Hope Family,
Having completed our first push through the book of Acts, one of the major takeaways for me and for the elders has been the absolute priority of the ministry of the Word and prayer. The ministry of the Word ranges from personal and informal (such as devotional reading and study) to corporate and formal (such as the preaching of the Gospel during our gathered worship service on Sunday) – with many crucial variations along the way. At Hope we are firmly committed to pursuing spiritual formation and Christian discipleship through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Ethan and I are actually trying a new way of planning out and preparing for the preaching of the Word each Sunday. Instead of the preparation of the sermon being the sole focus of one minister each week, we are approaching the sermon preparation in community. Whoever is preaching brings main points, themes, and big ideas into the mix, and we invest a significant amount of time discussing with each other how we understand the text and how God might use it to comfort and convict, bless and shape our congregation. We are excited about expanding the circle from the two of us to other staff members and elders and folks who might be interested so that broadened discernment and personal relevance can abound in our handling of the Word.
Of course, as we pursue more committed, more creative, and more communal preparation for the ministry of the Word, we are acutely aware – perhaps more than ever before – of the absolute necessity of the Spirit’s truth, direction, and power for the preaching of the Word. We simply ask for you to commit to praying against the spiritual warfare that daily complicates the ministry of the Word and to pray for Christ’s finished work to be magnified and accessible in our ministry of the Word.
Zack Eswine has articulated several specific ways to pray for pastors and preachers and teachers, and I humbly ask for you to consider praying these for our staff, our pastoral team, and all those who minister the Word:
- Illumination of the Word – Psalm 119: 18
- A Message – Ephesians 6: 19a
- An Open Door for the Gospel – Colossians 4:3
- Effectiveness of Preaching – 2 Thessalonians 3: 1
- Clarity – Colossians 4: 4
- Boldness – Ephesians 6: 20
- Deliverance from Opposition – 2 Thessalonians 3: 2
- The Power of the Spirit – 1 Thessalonians 1: 5
Grace and peace,