When we think about trained responders our thoughts generally run to people such as EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). Their extensive training kicks in during emergency situations—allowing them to deliver the right kind of care almost instinctively.
Navigators believe that there are some parallels in the life of a disciple. They train individuals in the disciplines of the Christian life so that when an appropriate situation arises they, too, will be able to respond instinctively.
Navigator Brett Clark knows what that’s like. He had befriended a man from Russia—a painter—who wasn’t a believer in Christ. As the two men looked at one of the artist’s paintings (entitled Across the Bridge, shown here), the painter told Brett that there were two things he needed to understand about the painting. First, it is up to someone to make a decision to cross the bridge themselves. Second, he explained, that no one can force anyone to cross the bridge.
As Brett studied the painting, he was reminded of another illustration involving a bridge he’d learned during his Navigator training. It’s used to illustrate the separation between God and sinful men—and how God bridges that gap through Jesus. Brett had drawn out that illustration many, many times. His training kicked in and he was able to communicate the truth of the Gospel to the artist—using the artist’s own painting. It wasn’t the specific tool that was important, it was his training that allowed him to respond to an opportunity provided by the Holy Spirit.
That painting now hangs in Brett’s Colorado Springs home. A short while later, a neighbor, who doesn’t know Christ yet, was over for an open house and was looking at Brett’s painting. As they talked, Brett shared with him the two important points the artist had shared with him about the painting. The neighbor replied, “That kind of goes along with your Navigator thing, doesn’t it?” Being ready as a “trained responder,” Brett was able to use the painting once again to share the truth of the Gospel with his neighbor.
The apostle Peter wrote, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). Are you trained as a spiritual “responder?”