First Person: A growing disciple takes steps to disciple others

Jan 4, 2021

Ellie Wendt

By Ellie Wendt 

Growing up in the church, I fully understood what it meant to know the gospel. For me, I grew up in a Christian home with a Christian upbringing.

I accepted Christ at the young age of 5 and was baptized when I was 12 years old. I knew I was a sinner and that Jesus had died to save me, but I did not know how to live out that truth.

My father often reminded me of Luke 9:23-24, where Jesus says, “If anyone would follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever saves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

This verse shares the importance of daily surrender. But what does it look like to take up your cross daily?

That was something I discovered during my time in college when I joined a ministry called Christian Challenge.

For the first time in my life, I had a community of people who loved and supported me at a time when I had none. I had a place where I could grow spiritually and learned how to live out my salvation through leading Bible studies, going on mission trips and leading other students to Christ.

That deeper understanding of Jesus’ love and faithfulness to me, and this community who nurtured me so wholesomely, made me want to serve. In my final year as a college student, it only made sense to serve and give back to the ministry that totally changed my life.

As an apprentice under Challenge, I have the honor of learning under my campus missionary. I get a behind-the-scenes glance at all the hard work and intentionality that goes into feeding our student leaders, planning our Thursday night studies, supporting our students through discipleship and prayer and all the mechanics of empowering our student leadership team. I have opportunities to produce and create content for our social media pages, run outreach campaigns and lead Bible studies.

However, my favorite part of being a campus missionary is in the girls I have the privilege of discipling. Growing with someone in her personal walk with Jesus is both humbling and empowering. I love getting to know these girls on a deep level and sharing my heart with them.

Equipping and mobilizing my disciples to take up their own cross and become stronger disciple-makers is the impact I hope to leave during my time with Challenge.

As I prepare to graduate this spring, I know God is calling me to serve Him and take up my cross daily. I simply must have the obedience to take that next step.

Ellie Wendt is a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an apprentice with Christian Challenge.

Next Steps

–Pray that the many college students across our state will have the boldness to seek community and pursue their faith in times of isolation. Pray that they will come in contact with a Christian Challenge chapter, where they can hear the gospel and grow as disciples.

–Pray for the campus missionaries of Challenge as they minister to students and maintain spiritual health.

–Learn more about Christian Challenge AZ at

–Ask God what step He is calling you to take as a disciple and disciple-maker.

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