Dear Church Family,

With the start of a new year rapidly approaching, I would like to ask every member of this church to make two commitments for 2019. Here they are:

1) Read through the entire Bible using the Bible reading plan on the table in the foyer.

2) Pray through our entire membership every month using the new church directory.

There are plenty of equally wonderful, equally valid ways of reading your Bible and praying. However, I still think committing ourselves to these specific ways will be helpful for our souls and our congregation. Let me explain.

As we no doubt can all testify, consistently reading the Bible is both rewarding and challenging. It can be difficult to set aside the time when so many other things clamor for our attention. It can be tiring to make it through certain sections where we feel like we have no idea what is going on (or that we don’t care to!). However, this discipline is more than worth its weight in gold. When we read the Bible, we are hearing from God Himself. If we want our lives to be enriched from a growing intimacy in His presence, we must pour over His Word—and all of it.

By seeking the Lord together in this way, we will have the opportunity for our joys to be doubled and our struggles to be halved. Knowing that the other members of our church are reading the same passages on a daily basis means we will always have something to talk about. It may mean we’re asking what someone else made of that passage. It may mean you confess you’re getting bogged down. It may mean you’re telling another member how the Lord has used His Word to encourage, strengthen, and change you for His glory.

On the other hand, we can also testify that consistently praying for other church members—outside of our biological family, leadership, Sunday school class, or closest friend group—can be hard. But though we will not know every church member equally well, we have equally committed ourselves to every church member by joining this church. We are one in Christ. When one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member rejoices, we all rejoice. One of the primary ways we reflect this union is through praying for each other.

Practically speaking, with our current membership, we will be able to pray through every member once a month by praying over one page of our new directory per day. That’s only six members a day. The new directory will be available some time next week. As we’re faithfully praying through our membership, God will use that time to knit our hearts closer together. You will want to get to know the members you don’t. You will want to hear praises and requests from them. You will feel the freedom to ask about them after you do, because you will be investing in their lives through praying for them. You will be more eager to share during family time on Sunday nights because you’ll know that what you ask us to pray for will be prayed for.

There is more to be said, but I won’t say it here. Please know I am in no way trying to overburden you. I have specifically chosen this particular Bible reading plan and this prayer frequency so as to not overwhelm you. There are a hundred other good things I would like to ask of you, but I think these are a good place to start. I am confident that if we give ourselves to these disciplines in the faith and power He provides, the Lord will bless us. Thank you in advance for your willingness to make these two commitments. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.

Gentry