Four years ago, I stepped through the front entrance of The Navigators to begin my first day as the director of Corporate Affairs and Risk Management. There was so much I had to learn about The Navigators, and yet I took comfort in the fact that there was absolute dedication to a God-breathed mission. Core Values define the principles by which we are guided and by which we live, as empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In celebration of Black History Month, I am reminded of two Navigator Core Values that reflect the desired outcomes of the civil rights struggle in the 1950s through the late 1960s. These Core Values were not enumerated by The Navigators until well after the civil rights era, but it is interesting to note how they articulate the rhythmic cadence of Micah 6:8 in God’s requirements for justice, mercy, and humility before God and with each other.
The first Navigator Core Value that comes to mind addresses something that took center stage during the Jim Crow era—the advocacy for the dignity and value of every person. This was a constant refrain throughout all the marches, sit-ins, protests, and rallies. The messages on posters in the freedom rallies and bus boycotts called for equality, justice, and an end to segregation and the mistreatment of minorities. The desired outcome was to see every person treated with dignity and equality—to be valued for their unique contribution as a creation of the Almighty.
The second Navigator Core Value, which is still a challenge and can only be accomplished through abiding in Christ, is love and grace expressed among us in community. This was the repetitive heart cry of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and spoke prophetically in his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963. His desired outcome was that racism, prejudice, and bigotry would no longer rule our hearts and that love and grace would be the hallmark by which communities of people could live together as children of God.
Today we are the beneficiaries of the freedom struggles and pioneering efforts of our forefathers and foremothers. Much of what Dr. King dreamed about has become a reality—except for the eradication of prejudice, bigotry, and racism. This Holy Spirit work is done at the heart level. As Navigators, we have an opportunity to do our part in demonstrating the dignity and value of every person as we express love and grace in community. We can do this through our ongoing pursuit of the abiding presence of Jesus. In His presence, we get to experience the Kingdom of God in all its multicultural and multi-ethnic glory. We also get to model and multiply this experience through what Navigators do best: generational disciplemaking.
Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
May we be transformational agents of the dream of unity and love as we ignite movements of the gospel—including redemption and love for all people—within our spheres of influence.