Apartment neighbors. They can be hard to know. Sometimes, all we see is a revolving door with constant new faces and superficial small-talk at the mailbox. But in a certain apartment complex in northwest Atlanta, the gospel is moving faster than the tenants.
There, a young man named Ryan is teaming with others to courageously, consistently share the Good News across his complex. The fruit is astounding, with multiple people coming to Christ, and those believers actively moving toward people in their own spheres of influence.
“We have seen many come to faith in Jesus over the past year,” Ryan says. “This ranges from my neighbor, Ron, who committed to follow Jesus last April, to several high school guys who gave their lives to Jesus over the summer. Ron is a single guy in his 50s—a blue collar worker with a beautiful heart. He’s a new man with the joy he’s found! The high school guys are in the thick of adolescent life, but have been learning who Jesus is and what it looks like to follow Him, and to do so in community. We have 10 to 15 other stories of new faith in Jesus.”
Ryan and his friends started sharing the gospel with the complex last spring, after attending a training session on God’s vision for reaching the lost put on by “No Place Left,” a movement of churches, organizations, and ministries teaming up to reach the unreached and unengaged. They learned how to share their story—and God’s.
God had also just done a very personal work in Ryan. Ryan’s parents and a mentor helped him understand God’s unconditional approval of him through Jesus.
“This transformed me at a heart level to desire to share that with others,” Ryan says. “God has continued to grow my heart for the lost.”
He admits there are days when he’s not excited about sharing the gospel, but he still does, out of obedience and love for the Lord. At those times, he says, God reveals himself all the more.
Ryan has been meeting with Nav20s Atlanta leader John Starke every couple weeks for a few years now. Ryan says John has had a big role in encouraging him to go deeper with Jesus and to engage honestly with Him. John is thrilled to see Ryan’s heart transformation.
“The outward movement of the gospel here has everything to do with the inward surging of the gospel in Ryan’s life,” John says. “A big part of this is his prioritizing deep connections within the Body—and not primarily comfortable ones.” Ryan makes time to connect deeply with his peers, John says. “He’s challenged to not be content, but to more deeply experience the Good News of Jesus for himself.”
For John, seeing 20s living out the gospel in their contexts is thrilling, especially as ministries like No Place Left and The Navigators intersect to reach the lost.
“Ryan has been connected to the Navs network since he got here,” John says. “Because of the nature of 20s work—especially in contrast to realities on campus where students have high degrees of proximity and time—we measure ‘with us’ less based on event attendance and more on living out the vision. We’re encouraged at this direction, because it helps us to put greater emphasis on people laboring rather than people ‘coming to our things.’ Our goal is to help 20s really labor, regardless of what role we play.”
Those Ryan has led to Christ are multiplying that impact wherever they go.
“Ron enjoys sharing stories about Jesus with his coworkers, and has brought friends to our weekly gathering,” Ryan says. “The high school guys have been sharing the gospel with their classmates, family, and friends, and have invited friends to come to our gathering. We’ve seen three generations of new believers in that group! I’m excited to watch Jesus transform lives and use new believers to reach others, like the woman at the well and the demoniac did in the Gospels. It’s amazing how God uses us even when we have just started following Him!”
Ryan and his friends want to see every person in Atlanta reached with the gospel. They’re hoping that communities form in their apartment complex, grow into healthy churches, and multiply across the city—and the world.
“We need to share with those God has placed around us,” Ryan says. “And we need to go and meet new people, who can reach the people we can’t.”
Click here to find out more about Atlanta NavCity ministry.