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The Servants of the Word

Article by Andy Pettman

‘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.’

 These words capture the heart of the life and the call of The Servants of the Word, an ecumenical international brotherhood of men to which I belong.  They are taken from our Covenant, a document we wrote at the foundation of our brotherhood to express our commitments and the way of life we have received from the Lord.

The Servants of the Word have been living and working in Europe and the Middle East since 1979.  Today we have brothers and in our houses in London, Belfast, and Beirut who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant); as a result, our life is very rich.  In addition we have houses of brothers in the USA, Mexico and the Philippines.  Despite our diversity, we all share the same conviction and call from God to serve his people particularly in and through the broader network of communities of families and singles of which we are a part, the Sword of the Spirit.

We started in the early 1970s, as a group of young men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, came together 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. 

Our call was always as part of our broader movement the Sword of the Spirit, and each of our houses of brothers is connected to a local community.  Members of these communities are all part of local churches but we feel God has called us to a life as a community beyond our church involvement, and all of our brothers are involved in this broader community.

Typically brothers get involved with the Servants of the Word in their early twenties and live in our life for 6-8 years before they would make a lifelong commitment.  The commitments we make are based around the traditional vows, celibacy, obedience, and simplicity in possessions.  We do not have one particular type of work; rather we serve wherever we can in building the Kingdom of God, particularly in the context of the needs of the Sword of the Spirit.  As an example in London my role is a mix of different jobs, leading the council of leaders of our local community of families and singles, the Antioch community, overseeing our student outreach team in central London, as well as leading our house of eleven brothers.  Other brothers in my house are involved in teaching, youth work, community growth, administration, studies and a number of secular jobs.  If there is one area we particularly focus on it is work with young people, particularly those in the 17-25 age bracket.

We are still a young group, just 40 years old but we hope and pray that God will use us to help build his kingdom in the 21st Century.

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