May/June 2010 - Vol. 40...

The Servants of the Word in Covenant Community
The early beginnings of a lay ecumenical brotherhood of men 
living single for the Lord in community 
By Dick LaCroix

As a young teenager I unmistakably felt God's call on my life, and although I strayed away from God's ways in my late teens, it all came back together when I was baptized in the Spirit in the fall of 1969.  It was as though God said, "Okay, you're done fooling around, I hope?  So, where were we..."  Once again I was awed by God's majesty, humbled by his merciful love, thrilled by his invitation to come follow him. 

So it was very natural that at the age of 22, for me to consider the call to live single for the Lord with 10 other young men who were also being drawn in the same way to a life of prayer, service, and common life. The brotherhood was formed in the fall of 1971. In January of 1976 we sensed the Lord leading us to choose the name The Servants of the Word.  Ecumenical from the beginning, it was very clear to us that the Lord was doing something new among us, and that it was intricately tied to what he was doing in raising up covenant community.  When a number of communities from around the world joined together to form the Sword of the Spirit in 1981, it then became possible for men from different countries to come together as one brotherhood.  Today we have 60 brothers living in eight households in five countries in Sword of the Spirit communities. 

In 1975 God spoke powerfully to a community of communities conference, "You are a bulwark that I have set up to stem the onslaught of the enemy; you are a part and not the whole; you are my servants and my people."  The men in the brotherhood are honored to have received our unique call to live single for the Lord in the midst of many brothers and sisters who have chosen to live their married life as radically and single-heartedly as we live out our own call. Our call as The Servants of the Word is to be a witness to the kingdom that is to come, but we draw great strength from the witness of our married brothers and sisters whose hearts are also set on that kingdom. 

As for me, after 40 years, my conviction of God's call has deepened, not lessened. The importance and urgency of that call has become more real, not less.  I look forward with great hope to pressing on toward the upward of call of God in Christ Jesus. 

[Dick LaCroix is a member of The Servants of the Word and Word of Life Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan] 
Reflections from Founding Members of Covenant Community

These reflections are written by members of the Sword of the Spirit who were there from the beginnings in 1970 and have lived for 40 years in covenant community: 

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