Being a disciple
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Dear <<First Name>>,

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

Coming out of our sabbatical last year, I (Ken) had a growing conviction that we need to be much more intentional about discipling our own missionaries. Jesus did not call people to become disciples, and then promote them to become disciple-makers once they finished their discipleship course. No, the disciples continued to be disciples (learners) as they went out to make disciples. Note that the Great Commission is given to 11 men who are called "disciples" in that passage, not apostles. But what does it mean to be a maturing disciple of Christ? What are the criteria we should be looking for in our own lives to help us determine whether we are continuing to grow as disciples?

I and many others see the Gospel of Matthew as a discipleship manual more than any other Gospel. Matthew was written with the intent of helping future disciples of Christ remember, understand and follow Christ's teaching on discipleship. The purpose of becoming more mature, more obedient disciples is so that they can fulfill the Great Commission, the climax of Matthew’s Gospel. So this Gospel is clearly written for us as cross-cultural workers.

During my sabbatical, I spent many hours reading through the Gospel of Matthew carefully, noting down everything he said about the profile of a disciple. At the end of the sabbatical, I gathered all my notes and sorted them into 5 main characteristics, with many sub-points for each. Here are the main headings but if you would like the complete list with all the Bible references, click on this link.
  1. Demonstrated allegiance. Matthew presents Jesus as King, and as King, he deserves and demands our full allegiance.
  2. Growing faith. Matthew presents the disciples as doubting at times but growing in their faith in both the identity and authority of Jesus.
  3. Lifelong learning and transformation. A disciple is a learner, and a disciple of Jesus never stops being a disciple of Jesus, and therefore never stops learning from Jesus and seeking to become like him.
  4. Persevering obedience. A disciple does not only know his/her Master’s words, but obeys them, and obeys them faithfully until the Master returns.
  5. Ongoing fruitfulness. Disciples are expected to bear fruit, and if they do not do so, they are not true disciples.

Recently, I have been taking one of these characteristics each day and using it as a motif throughout my prayer time. I pray first of all that God would more clearly produce this characteristic in my life and then praying along these lines for those on my team, those I am coaching/training, our financial partners and the cross-cultural workers we support. As a result, these characteristics are becoming more imbedded in my thinking and hopefully in my life.

Have you been through our 3 day Coaching Workshop for Christian leaders but feel like you need a refresher? Beth Eckstein is putting together 6-8 hours of online refresher training to build your confidence and sharpen your coaching skills. Dates and times will be determined by participant's location. Please email her to add your name to the interested participant list.
NEW WEB ADDRESS! Please note that Grow2Serve can now be found at Please make a note if you have this saved in your favorites.

NEW Upcoming Course-Are you involved in English Teaching? Check out this great new course on Building Bridges with English.

Other Upcoming Courses
 The online course Team Leader as Supervisor is going to be facilitated by Ken January 6-February 15, 2020. Click here to add your name to the list. This course is a great follow up to the Team Leader Orientation course.

Dr. Gary Ridley will once again offer his course Animism and Folk Religion. Tentative dates are October 10-November 2, 2019. Click here to read the full description and add your name to the waiting list.
ACT is now accepting applications for the September 2019 and January 2020 TESOL training classes. If you're teaching English do it WELL, so you will be respected by the community and have opportunities to share your faith. Study in either Thailand or Philippines! --Sam & Melody Kuka
SEND U is busy planning for the second Muslim Consultation December 9-14 in Manila. If you are working in a Muslim context, we want to see you there. Contact Ken or Beth for additional information and invitation criteria. If you received an invitation already, please fill out the registration form now.
Keep learning,

Ken Guenther
SEND U Director based in Kyiv, Ukraine


Beth Eckstein
SEND U Assistant Director based in Taichung, Taiwan


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