If you need to be refreshed about our vision as a ministry; it is to: “To encourage students to know, love and share Jesus Christ through purposeful, intentional and reproducible disciple-making as we share our lives together in community.”
Which itself is a local expression of the worldwide Navigator calling which is to: “To advance the gospel of Jesus and his kingdom into the nations through spiritual generations of labourers living and discipling among the lost.”
We are trusting God to bring a few people on-board who would serve in various capacities within the ministry (e.g. summer mission teams , connect, full-time workers). The reality is that most of us will not be involved with the Navigators in 5 or 10 years time. Why? Because most of us will (and should) be out there playing our part in advancing the gospel and making disciples within the workplace, local communities and with our families.
Just in case we are misunderstood let us be crystal clear; God does not want us all to be involved in full-time paid/supported ministry. He does want all of us to be involved as full-time missionaries in our families, communities, workplaces and friendships as what we might call ‘insiders’ within those networks and communities. He does want all of us to be involved in advancing the gospel and the Kingdom of God in the contexts into which He leads us. However there are some who He calls to equip His people for service so that the body of Christ might be built up…just read what Paul says in Ephesians 4;
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:11-16
The harvest is plentiful
Jesus Himself looking upon the crowds said to His disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the workers but the workers are few. Then He encouraged them to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:36-38
That is what this article is all about; we are trusting God for those whom God would lead us to play a part in the outworking of this vision amongst students here in Southampton. For some of us participating in the Connect programme could be hugely transformational in helping us to be the men and women God intended us to be and in learning what it means to start getting alongside people to purposefully, intentionally and reproducibly live and disciple those around us. We would be so encouraged if there were people willing to do this in the context of Connect, in the context of the Norway & Latvia discipleship programme and in the context of the secular environments you go on to next. It is a thrilling privilege to help you, mentor you, pray for you and walk beside you in these things.
Did you know that even if we converted 10,000 per day it would take a minimum of 1,700 years to see the whole world turn to Jesus Christ However if we make one disciple and spend a year with them – and then both do the same so that 2 becomes 4 and 4 becomes 8 and so on it would take only 33/34 years to convert the world. Jesus Himself gave himself to only a few people; yes He spent time with the crowds but He spent the majority of His time with the twelve and amongst them with Peter, James and John. We are here simply because of these disciples and their faithfulness to imitate what they had learned from Jesus. Paul encourages Timothy to pass on the baton to the next generation in such a way that they too would be able to pass on the baton to the following generation:
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2
The harvest is still plentiful and we still need to be sending workers out into the harvest field. This is what we are about and what we as Navigators have always been about…training those who would go out into the harvest field. We are talking about a relational ministry amongst others that would train and equip others to go and help others do the same. We’re talking about helping students to know, love and share Jesus in an intentional, purposeful way that can be reproduced within the contexts and communities that they are part of.
There are lots of places in the Bible where we could go to see this such as the life and example of Jesus in the gospels (see John 12:20-30 and Matthew 28:16-20), Paul’s travelling ministry with his various teams in Acts (see 1 Thess 2, Eph 4:11-16, 2 Tim 2:2, Phil 1:28). This principle of multiplication; this principle of investing in the next generation in such a way that the next generation would be able to do the same for future generations, is woven into the very fabric of scripture and God’s heart for seeing His gospel advancing through the nations. Jesus said come follow me. Will you come follow us as we seek to follow and imitate Christ in working out His vision for the transformation of the world?
Debs and myself have been intentionally involved in working out this vision for the past 10 years or so amongst students both in Southampton and further afield. We are more convinced than ever that more than anything our Christian communities need to be characterised increasingly by disciple-making. That was in fact the conclusion of the international Lausanne conference last year. We are so caught up with the worldly concepts of success in ministry but we have seen many, many lives transformed through the ministry of individuals ministering alongside students a few at a time. We’re ALL called to be a part of this, to be making disciples and the great news is that we can ALL be a part of this and can ALL be used in this way. If you need help just shout, if you need some direction please shout but together let’s work out this vision and take it wherever God leads us.