This last year was a wonderful year for our Network and I hope it was for you as well. As I reflected on 2017, I felt prompted to write a letter to you with a challenge for 2018 from the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew, chapter six. When you have finished this letter, I'd like to ask that you read those 34 verses.
 
In this discourse, Jesus calls his followers to consistently do three things; they will give (6:2), they will pray (6:5) and they will fast (6:16). Over the last year, as I have talked with the pastors and missionaries in our Network, I have been impacted by how these three areas have been woven into the lives of effective leaders. As a result, I was personally challenged, and also felt called, to challenge our Network.
 
Here is my challenge: What would it look like for you to think through and draw up a specific plan in each of the following areas for 2018?
 
Challenge #1: Giving
This is the first area mentioned by Jesus and he is specifically talking about giving to the needy. Leaders give purposefully, that is, they know in advance how much they will give in tithe, to missions, and other areas of ministry. Being obedient to give both tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8, Matt. 23:23) is directly connected to God's blessing in our life, and since leaders are role models, our obedience is also directly connected to our churches blessing and any area of ministry we lead.
 
What adjustments to your giving plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #2: Prayer
Prayer is a mystery, but one we are commanded to participate in. I don't know how prayer works, I just know it does. If I must understand how prayer works before I pray, I will never pray. As a spiritual leader, you know Jesus has called you to pray and to lead others to prayer. What is the prayer plan for you and your church or ministry in 2018? If you don't have one, may I make a suggestion? Begin by praying about prayer. Ask Jesus, as the Lord of the Church, how He wants you to pray this year. Then ask Him how He wants you to lead your church or ministry towards prayer?
 
What prayer plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #3: Fasting
OK, let's be honest here. A lot of us find giving and praying much easier, but we skip the subject of fasting, at least when it comes to an annual plan. I must confess, this last year Brenda and I were challenged to fast together, twice, for the first time in our marriage. The results were eye-opening. I wonder what would happen in our Network, if pastors and missionaries chose to tithe a fast to God in 2018, and then give the equivalent of those meals to the poor, as prompted by the Holy Spirit. That would be giving up over 100 meals this next year. Here is my challenge to you, however you fast, I suggest you prayerfully consider a fasting plan for 2018. Whether it is a day, several days or longer, regular fasting is both a command and a blessing.
 
What fasting plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #4: Bible Reading
The last area for you to plan for 2018 is your Bible reading. Although it isn't mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount, knowing God's Word is critical. It is not enough for you to simply open the Bible to prepare a sermon. Jesus said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from God". Did you know you can read through the Bible in a year, reading about four chapters a day? There are many Bible reading plans, so choose one and get started. If you miss a day, don't quit, just pick it back up.
 
What Bible reading plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Thank you again for taking time to read this letter. I love serving with you and am very proud of your dedication and commitment to "bring the hope of Jesus to our communities". We are serving a region where 86% of the people have no living faith and Jesus has called us to serve them. I am praying the four challenges above will bring growth to you, move our Network forward in the mission of Jesus, and better equip us to live up to our kingdom potential.
 
Blessings and Happy New Year as you fully follow Jesus!
 
Don Ross
Network Leader
 
PS. Once you've developed a plan for each of the four areas above, send me a short email so I can be praying for you. I don't need to know your plan, it's enough to know we're on the journey together.
This last year was a wonderful year for our Network and I hope it was for you as well. As I reflected on 2017, I felt prompted to write a letter to you with a challenge for 2018 from the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew, chapter six. When you have finished this letter, I'd like to ask that you read those 34 verses.
 
In this discourse, Jesus calls his followers to consistently do three things; they will give (6:2), they will pray (6:5) and they will fast (6:16). Over the last year, as I have talked with the pastors and missionaries in our Network, I have been impacted by how these three areas have been woven into the lives of effective leaders. As a result, I was personally challenged, and also felt called, to challenge our Network.
 
Here is my challenge: What would it look like for you to think through and draw up a specific plan in each of the following areas for 2018?
 
Challenge #1: Giving
This is the first area mentioned by Jesus and he is specifically talking about giving to the needy. Leaders give purposefully, that is, they know in advance how much they will give in tithe, to missions, and other areas of ministry. Being obedient to give both tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8, Matt. 23:23) is directly connected to God's blessing in our life, and since leaders are role models, our obedience is also directly connected to our churches blessing and any area of ministry we lead.
 
What adjustments to your giving plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #2: Prayer
Prayer is a mystery, but one we are commanded to participate in. I don't know how prayer works, I just know it does. If I must understand how prayer works before I pray, I will never pray. As a spiritual leader, you know Jesus has called you to pray and to lead others to prayer. What is the prayer plan for you and your church or ministry in 2018? If you don't have one, may I make a suggestion? Begin by praying about prayer. Ask Jesus, as the Lord of the Church, how He wants you to pray this year. Then ask Him how He wants you to lead your church or ministry towards prayer?
 
What prayer plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #3: Fasting
OK, let's be honest here. A lot of us find giving and praying much easier, but we skip the subject of fasting, at least when it comes to an annual plan. I must confess, this last year Brenda and I were challenged to fast together, twice, for the first time in our marriage. The results were eye-opening. I wonder what would happen in our Network, if pastors and missionaries chose to tithe a fast to God in 2018, and then give the equivalent of those meals to the poor, as prompted by the Holy Spirit. That would be giving up over 100 meals this next year. Here is my challenge to you, however you fast, I suggest you prayerfully consider a fasting plan for 2018. Whether it is a day, several days or longer, regular fasting is both a command and a blessing.
 
What fasting plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Challenge #4: Bible Reading
The last area for you to plan for 2018 is your Bible reading. Although it isn't mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount, knowing God's Word is critical. It is not enough for you to simply open the Bible to prepare a sermon. Jesus said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from God". Did you know you can read through the Bible in a year, reading about four chapters a day? There are many Bible reading plans, so choose one and get started. If you miss a day, don't quit, just pick it back up.
 
What Bible reading plan is Jesus calling you to in 2018?
 
Thank you again for taking time to read this letter. I love serving with you and am very proud of your dedication and commitment to "bring the hope of Jesus to our communities". We are serving a region where 86% of the people have no living faith and Jesus has called us to serve them. I am praying the four challenges above will bring growth to you, move our Network forward in the mission of Jesus, and better equip us to live up to our kingdom potential.
 
Blessings and Happy New Year as you fully follow Jesus!
 
Don Ross
Network Leader
 
PS. Once you've developed a plan for each of the four areas above, send me a short email so I can be praying for you. I don't need to know your plan, it's enough to know we're on the journey together.