Preparation for Short-Term Teams, Part 2

Transformation to Serve, Luke 9:10-17

I'm ashamed now to admit I paid real money to see The Karate Kid, a cheesy 80's movie. What's worse, I liked it. In the movie, Ralph Machio is the picked-on new kid in school. He decides to take up Karate and asks an old martial arts master to teach him the secrets of the trade. The master begins by asking the boy to paint his wooden fence, giving him very specific instructions on how to stroke the brush against the wood. Confused, the boy agrees and applies himself.

After he's done, he tells the master he is ready to learn Karate only to have another bothersome task dumped on him—waxing the master's cars—again with specific guidance on just how to best polish these vehicles. This goes on for some time until, after many hours of seemingly useless labor, the boy vents his anger at the master. The master answers throwing punches at the boy urging him to “paint the fence,” and “wax the car.” The boy blocks the blows perfectly, moving his arms in the prescribed fashion.

Just as the boy had trouble seeing the transferability of painting and waxing to defending himself, in Luke 9:10 the disciples return from their short-term mission trip with a wealth of new experiences of seeing God's power to provide, yet they fail to apply what they have just learned to the needs they face back in the “real world.” As you read this passage, think back upon the various ways Jesus may have been preparing you for what's ahead.

Read Luke 9:10-17

  1. Before this point Luke refers to the 12 as “disciples.” How does he refer to them now?
  2. When you have a chance, try to find out the difference between the word “disciple” and “apostle.” Can you be both at once?
  3. What might be the importance of the apostles “withdrawing by themselves” with Jesus after their mission?
  4. How would you feel if needy people descended on your private time of debriefing with Jesus? How does Jesus respond?

Take a moment to pause here in prayer. Ask Jesus to prepare you to have your agenda interrupted this summer. Plead for the kind of graciousness with which you know he wants you to respond. After praying, continue the discussion.

  1. Jesus asks the disciples to feed the masses who have come to be healed and to hear Jesus teach. Make some observations about their response.
  2. The disciples are concerned for the people's ability to get food and lodging, yet God provided those things for them when they were on their mission. What are some differences between those two situations that might have thrown the disciples off?


God has met many of your needs to allow you to take part on this short-term trip. He is as eager to meet the needs of seeking crowds as he is to meet the needs of disciples on a mission. Be prepared for God to make big requests of you just as he did of his disciples in this passage. Keep in mind his power in your life in the recent past and allow him to stretch your faith to see that power manifest in different situations in the coming weeks.

Take a look at the list you made for question 7 in the Luke 9:1-9 study. Ask the Lord how he might want to use you as his vehicle to meet similar needs in the lives of people you meet this summer.

More studies in the series

  1. Letting Go
  2. Transformation to Serve
  3. The Struggle of Association
  4. The Full Picture
  5. Greatness of God
  6. Lambs Among Wolves

Adapted from "Orientation Bible Studies," by Scott Bessenecker, Director, Global Urban Trek, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 2001.


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