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Training Tracks May 2015

Hi fellow SEND-ers,

In this edition:

  • Finding satisfaction in ministry, according to Isaiah
  • Women's Development Week
  • MDE Conference
  • Online course on church planting

Finding Satisfaction in Ministry
I was reading through Isaiah this past month, and was struck by the theme of satisfaction in chapters 53-58. Isaiah notes that the people of Judah are expending lots of time and energy, but are not finding satisfaction (Is 55:2). But this is not just blatant consumerism. They are fasting and appear to be very religious, seeking to be close to God (Is 58:2-3). But they are not experiencing satisfaction in their relationship with God. They feel that God is ignoring them, and their prayers remain unanswered. Isaiah says that this is because they are doing as they please, taking advantage of one another, and ignoring the needs of the needy around them. In contrast, we see these marvellous words in Isaiah 53 about the Suffering Servant -- “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. (Is 53:11, NLT). Christ endured deprivation and great suffering, and ends up being fully satisfied. 

Isaiah 58:9-11 then give the people of God this great promise: “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” The promise assures us that God will provide all we need for fruitful ministry as we give ourselves to meet the needs of others. Ministry can be draining, but if we serve in dependence upon God, that which drains and exhausts and causes us pain can also be deeply satisfying. 

Isaiah goes to say that if these people call the Sabbath a delight, they will find their joy in the Lord and enjoy victory and feasting (Is 58:13-14). Spending ourselves on behalf of others does not mean working 7 days a week, and never taking a break. Are you experiencing satisfaction in your ministry, sensing that God is meeting your needs in a sun-scorched land? Let’s give ourselves to satisfy the needs of the people around us - and let’s delight in taking sabbaths. Want to read a good book about sabbath-taking? Check out The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan.

I want to draw your attention this month to a couple of excellent training conferences this fall, both to be held on the Farmington campus. 

Women's Development Week. The Women’s Ministry Team is hosting another Women’s Development Week from October 17-24. Four modules are being offered this year: 1) Group Discipleship: Connecting Life and Truth; 2) Developing a Discerning Heart; 3) The Significant Woman and 4) Mentoring Next Generation Women. You can find the registration information on the wiki at this link or on the site. Registration is open to all women, not just SEND women, so if you are interested, please register early. The registration deadline is August 1. A woman who took the Group Discipleship module in the past gave this evaluation: “I would highly encourage it to any women who are in the Church, not just missions or ministry leadership. If they are desiring to disciple others, this gives the essential skill training, practice times and evaluations needed to grow in confidence and ability. For those coming out of Bible school, I would highly recommend it, because this course offers the practical skills to get it from the classroom to making disciples.”

MDE Conference. Our MDE (Marketplace and Development Enterprises) is hosting a GO Equipped! Conference from Sept. 29 - Oct 3. It is jointly sponsored by Global Opportunities, TENT and MDE. This conference is a training course that will provide an introduction to what tentmakers and business-as-missions entrepreneurs need to know before arriving on the field. MDE has a website with more information as well as the registration link.

Online Course on Church Planting. Finally, World Team in collaboration with SEND U has just finished developing the third of a series of online courses on church planting. This one is called "Nurturing Communities of Faith" and focuses on the phase of gathering new believers into a church or community of disciples, building the body life and developing leaders for the new church. u can find a syllabus at this link. The next module will be offered from Sept 21 - Oct 28 this fall. Let Ted Szymczak or me know if you are interested. You can find the schedule for the other online courses on evangelism and discipleship on the SEND U wiki.
Keep learning,
Ken Guenther
SENDU Director
living in Kiev, Ukraine