From Oberserver to Follower

I regularly attended church while growing up, and each summer, I’d go off to church camp and return with a renewed commitment to live for God. But I found it difficult to maintain that commitment. I simply didn’t understand what God wanted in a relationship with me.

I observed God from afar. I didn’t seek an intimate relationship with him. In fact, I didn’t think it was possible to have that kind of relationship with God—a relationship that saw past my many flaws and was built on His love for me and on my faith in Him.

At the age of 33, God intervened and brought me close to Him during the most difficult time in my life. Shortly after that another pilot introduced me to Dex Johnson, the local Navigator representative, and I began to grasp what God truly intended for me. I started to understand how Jesus called His disciples to walk with Him, not to observe Him from afar.

Before meeting Dex and The Navigators, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of disciplemaking. Through Dex’s investment in me—our weekly meetings, observing his interactions with others, his teaching of the Word, and his sharing of illustrations about what it means to be a disciple—I began to understand discipleship and living like a disciple.

Because Dex and his wife, Patriece, opened up their home to those they were discipling, I learned that disciplemaking works best when people share time and experiences. Jesus called His disciples to join Him on His journey, to live with Him and to learn, not just through His teaching but through His interactions with people.

All this totally changed my understanding of how God saw me. Instead of observing, I am invited to walk with Jesus as He uses experiences and people to teach me, to challenge me, and to love me. Everything changed when I went from being an observer with little intimate knowledge of God to a follower whose ear is tuned to the many times a day He is speaking to me.

Making disciples is about preparing others to live out the Great Commission. My time with Dex prepared me to share my story and God’s promise of salvation with others. I am blessed to have a friend and mentor who is so generous with his time and energy and whose love for God is so apparent. Through his steady and prayerful assistance, I have learned much about discipleship that I hope to pass on to others.

Major Ed Grier is a C-17 pilot in the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base in North Charleston, South Carolina


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