When it comes to physical training, most of us aren’t over-anxious to get started. Sure, we like the idea of training. And we like the results of what training can do for us. But we’re generally not all that excited about actually doing the training itself.
It’s usually the same way when it comes to spiritual training. That’s why Gary Hipp, director of The Navigators Discipling for Development, was thrilled when he heard a group of 20 Navigator ministry leaders in Asia say, “We want to be trained. When can we start?”
Discipling for Development emphasizes “whole life ministry” among a specific demographic of the world—the economically disadvantaged. “What was encouraging to us,” says Gary, “is that all of the Navigator work in the countries we are focused on have a core group of people with a heart that beats for the poor and the lost among them.
“Navigator ministry among these people,” explains Gary, “is a bit different than it is when we work among college students, military, or working people in the United States.”The Gospel, of course, is for all people, as the apostle Paul indicated when he wrote, He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
That’s why Gary and his team were so gratified to see such a readiness on the part of the staff to learn how to minister to these individuals—and to empower whole communities with the transforming power of the Gospel. They heard comments such as:
“We want to disciple the poor we’re helping.”
“We’re glad you’re here. We’re ministering to the poor, but we want to mentor them as well.”
“We want Navigator training from people who have been working with the poor for decades.”
Those are essential attitudes for reaching a part of the world that is home not only to the world’s largest population, but also to some of the greatest spiritual and physical needs. But the proper training is also essential. As the apostle Paul wrote, Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7,8).