Dear friends, prayer partners and supporters,
We have an exciting announcement. By God's grace and through a providentially arranged partnership with a small but strategic Christian publishing ministry in Ukraine, an important book has finally been published for churches in the Russian-speaking world, The Trellis and the Vine, by authors Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (Matthias Media). This book persuasively calls pastors to pursue the heart of authentic ministry, namely biblical shepherding. It offers a counter-intuitive model in a culture that has been shaped by a top-down model of leadership and which desperately needs to see an example that reflects the self-sacrificing love of our Chief-Shepherd. Using the metaphor of a trellis (which is designed to support vines) it shows how easy it is to drift from focusing on vine growth (growing people and developing leaders) to simply maintaining the trellis (using people to run programs). It then proceeds to lay out a plan that actually explains what it looks like for a church to be pursuing and experiencing what the Apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 4:11-16: authentic Gospel growth. Please pray that God will use this book to help pastors become more intentional in "hands on" discipleship resulting in stronger churches with a compelling witness and a passion for missions to the unreached peoples of the former Soviet Union.
Thank you for your prayers for this publication and for those of you who helped to make it possible by your contributions. Our next project for which you can be praying is the Gospel tract, "Two Ways to Live" (also by Matthias Media). We hope to see it completed by March or April.
Your partners to the Russian-speaking world,
Jerry and Kellie Benge