The monthly Saturday brunch for Navigators 20s in Minneapolis/St. Paul was a great place for Tom to invite his work friends. They all started their jobs on the same day at the headquarters of a large corporation and quickly went from colleagues to friends over lunches, board games, and ping pong breaks at work.
Alec Glass (Navigators 20s) describes the monthly brunch and other fun outings as “front door” gatherings: “Young professionals are looking for ways to connect in relationship, so Navigators 20s regularly offers opportunities that require no preparation, no commitment, and are low-key places to meet and dialogue about faith. Some of those involved have a Navigators Collegiate background, but nearly half do not. In their 20s, people are in the process of developing a community where they live, work, and play. We want to help them build a lifestyle and community based on following Jesus.”
A Backdoor to the Nations
Beyond the front door activities, there are intentional ways to grow deeper in faith through City Life groups that engage in Bible study and service in the community. These missional groups also interact with other Navigator ministries in the area, such as Nations Within, I:58, and International Student Ministry.
This broader engagement is strategic. Alec says, “While we emphasize equipping people to be engaged with what God is doing right where they are, in their workplaces and neighborhoods, we also want to provide a ‘back door’ to send people out in ministry. This happens by engaging around the city, but also globally. Last winter we did a short-term trip over the Christmas holidays to visit a Navigators World Missions team in South Asia. We want people to have a vision for the nations, even as they work and minister locally.”
Connections & Encouragement
In the spring, Navigators 20s participated in a Life-to-Life® discipleship conference organized by Chad Selje (Navigators City director) that brought together Christians of all ages from around the city and region to grow as disciples.
Some of those who attended the full-day event trace their Navigator roots back to college, decades ago. But the conference wasn’t just a celebration of the heritage of discipleship. It also connected people who had never been involved in The Navigators to a place where they could learn and grow through keynotes and workshops. The emphasis was on growing disciples who will make disciples, to bless future generations in the city and region.
An example of the forward-looking ministry is the experience of Pang Foua Rhodes, the spiritual growth director for River Life, a multicultural church primarily serving second- and third-generation Hmong. She attended at the invitation of Jane Menning (Navigators Church Ministries). River Life has seen many people come to church for the first time, or come back to church after years and even decades. Many have come to faith in Christ, and Pang Foua is looking for tools to help these new followers and young believers of Jesus grow in their faith. After the conference, she invited Jane to come teach an adult Sunday School class on Scripture memory, to build Life-to-Life® discipleship practices into the congregation.
Chad plans to make the conference an annual event. “It was a great encouragement for many people who love Jesus, love the city, and care about being disciplemakers,” he says. “Mutua Mahiaini [The Navigators international president] was the keynote presenter. We had a full slate of workshops including topics such as quiet time and Scripture memory, along with ministry to neighbors and friends in your local context. A children’s program, developed by my wife, Kathleen, assisted by Navigators Collegiate students, made it possible for families to participate in the day-long training. Many people were unaware of the breadth of The Navigators ministry in the area prior to the conference.”
Along with growing disciples, another benefit of the conference was connecting people across generations. Alec reflects, “I was able to introduce the women on our Navigators 20s leadership team to seasoned women who have been making disciples for many years for potential mentoring relationships.”
The relationships and discipleship training extend the impact of the conference into the daily lives of disciples in the Twin Cities and throughout the region.
Praise God for the many ways He is working through The Navigators City ministry of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Pray for continued opportunities to point people toward Jesus, and grow spiritual generations of disciplemakers in workplaces, neighborhoods, campuses, and churches.