As The Navigators enters its 80th year of ministry, we are struck with both the rich heritage God has given us and with the rich promise of what He will yet do. God reminds us to remember our heritage:
Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many (Isaiah 51:1,2).
Within the Navigator heritage is a vital movement of the Gospel. After World War II many sailors who were reached through The Navigators during the war travelled the world as missionaries with other organizations such as Africa Inland Mission, Wycliffe, Sudan Interior Mission, Missionary Aviation Fellowship, and others.
When I traveled in Nigeria in the 1970s, I often met older missionaries who were led to Christ and discipled by Navigators during the war. The people continued to make disciples everywhere they went. To this day I meet Christian leaders all over the world who tell me that they got their start with The Navigators.
When I was in the island nation of Tonga not long ago, I met a member of the Tongan royal family whose life has been impacted by The Navigators. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I met men from Tonga’s maximum-security prison who are in a Navigator Bible study.
Navigator heritage, however, goes back much farther than those Navigator sailors God scattered around the globe. It goes all the way back to Abraham and Sarah, and it reminds me of the way God takes small beginnings and multiplies them to bless the nations through the Gospel. God calls us to exercise the faith of Abraham and Sarah in looking at our present circumstances and to trust His promises as, in each new generation, we lay the foundations of an ongoing generational movement.
We do more, however, than simply look back at our heritage. We look forward to what God will do in the future. We look for a supernatural movement fueled by prevailing prayer. We anticipate a work of God that is brought about through prayer.
We look for a relational movement that flows through relational networks. Programs, events, and meetings serve the movement, but at its heart it is about life-to-life relationships. We look for an outward-looking movement that keeps the nations in its sights and carries us out of our comfort zones to care about people from very different backgrounds.
We look for spiritual generations of laborers—the steel thread that runs through this movement so that as it spreads and grows it results in workers for the Kingdom next door to everywhere in community after community, campus after campus, city after city, and nation after nation.
Remembering our spiritual heritage—the rock from which we were cut—and looking forward to what we believe God still wants to do are the things that drive our thinking and our actions as we continue, “To Know Christ and Make Him Known.”®
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