Dear Brother or Sister in Christ,
Thank you for your faithful prayers for E-Free Bemidji as we approach our 100-year anniversary in 2024. This month’s letter will be a little different since I am heading out for my 3-month sabbatical on April 1. That said, I want to share some prayer needs that encompass the next few months, since I won’t be getting the next Vision 2024 Prayer Letter out until July.
Please pray for our two open staff positions: Kids Ministry Director and 10:45 Music Director. Pray that God will lead us to just the right people to hire at just the right time. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray for a thorough process of checking references, backgrounds, etc., and for a great final fit with our current staff team and the ministry needs at our church. Pray also for our current staff as they cover some of these extra duties during the search process. Pray especially for Terry and Robin Hewitt as they co-chair our Kids Ministry Director Search Committee. Pray that they pull together a strong team to serve on the committee and that the right, godly applicant submits his or her resume.
Pray for the many, much-needed volunteers in our church. Praise God for those already serving in SO many ways! And praise God for those who’ve stepped up to try a 6-week relaunch of Kids Sunday School beginning April 24! Pray that more and more of our church family will prayerfully consider where they can plug in with their spiritual gifts. May God be honored, and His kingdom priorities be given first place as we serve together for His greater purposes in this world. Pray the words of Romans 12:5-8 for E-Free Bemidji, “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Please pray for our Good Friday service and our Easter services. May God be glorified and may people be encouraged and built up in their faith. May Christ’s sacrifice for sin be appropriately honored and commemorated. May those who do not yet know Christ hear the gospel clearly proclaimed and may they respond in believing faith. Pray that our church family will be bold in inviting others to consider faith in Christ. Pray that our various musicians, Scripture readers, speakers, etc. will be well prepared and effective in their ministry roles. Pray that many will attend and that the name of Jesus will be honored and lifted high. Pray also for the Seder Meal that Pastor Douglas is leading on Wednesday night, April 13. May kids, youth, and their families be blessed and encouraged as they learn more about the Passover and what it can teach us about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
Pray that God will provide all of the financial resources that our church needs to thrive. Pray for wisdom for our Trustees as they practice God-honoring stewardship. Praise God that we are now three-fourths of the way to our $100k goal on our mortgage fundraiser. Pray that we can reach or even exceed our goal by the April 10 deadline. And then, let’s make sure that we celebrate and give thanks to God for His wonderful provision, wherever the final total lands. Please also pray that those who’ve attended our recent membership classes will now consider filling out their application and scheduling an interview with our Elders in time for our April 24 congregational meeting.
Pray for our students attending the District Blitz event in Duluth from April 8-10. Praise God that they are back to an in-person conference once again. Pray for a great weekend of spiritual growth and fun. May the speakers, musicians, breakout room presentations, etc. bring their “A” game and deliver God-honoring, relevant, biblical content to the thousands of teens who will gather at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Pray for safe travel, meaningful friendships, spiritual maturing, and wonderful life-long memories. Pray also for energy and spiritual insight for the adult volunteers who are giving their time that weekend.
Please pray for our 5th graders as they visit youth group for the first time in April. And, pray for our graduating seniors as they prepare to transition to life after high school. May our young people be well discipled and ready for the next stage of life. Pray that they will make their faith their own and grow deep roots in the Christian faith. Pray also for those completing college degrees and looking for guidance on next steps, job placements, etc.
Pray for our Spring Finale Concert coming up on May 22. Pray also for the various events throughout the week at our church, including the Women’s Overflow events on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Pray for Pastor Eric as he prepares to take on the primary preaching load at our church. Pray that he will have strength, wisdom, and success in rightly dividing God’s Word. Pray also for our occasional pulpit supply guests. May they be well-received and prove to be a blessing to our church family. Pray that our church will enjoy a wonderful season of spiritual fruitfulness over the next 3 months. Pray for our church as we dig into a new sermon series on our 10-point Statement of Faith from April 24 through June 26. Pray that we’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the greatness of God. Pray that we’ll hone our personal theological understanding as well as mature in our own personal spiritual formation. May God be honored as we develop the spiritual insights that we need to serve Him more and represent Him better. Pray also for our pastors and elders as they continue providing spiritual leadership and direction for our church.
Let’s also remember to pray for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Although it’s on the other side of the world from us, all of us are feeling the impact. Pray that believers in Christ will hold fast to God and not panic or despair. Pray for peace negotiations among the nations. Pray for wisdom and good counsel for all of the various leaders, including President Biden, Putin, and Zelensky. Pray that each of these men and the leaders around them will have a sobering encounter with the living God that will cause them to humbly recognize their own smallness and their great need for the LORD. Praise God that He is sovereign and ultimately in control of this crazy world. Let’s also be sure to pray for the many displaced refugees. May they find safe transport, food and medical supplies, shelter, and whatever else they need. Pray that God will reveal Himself to them and provide for them in every way. Praise God for the kindness and generosity of so many neighboring nations who have opened up their doors and their pocketbooks to care for strangers and foreigners in distress.
I would also humbly request your prayers for Debbie and me over our sabbatical time. Pray for safety in our travels overseas, as well as across the U.S. to see Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Multnomah Falls, and the California Redwoods among other things. Pray that our tour of the 7 churches in southern Turkey will be an exciting adventure as well as a faith-enriching experience. Pray for the sermon series that I will be putting together based on that trip and my study of Revelation 2-3. Please also pray that this sabbatical will succeed in accomplishing a balance of all four stated goals: physical rest, personal recreation (including time with our family), intellectual stimulation, and spiritual renewal.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, thanks for praying!
Together for Christ, Pastor Jerry