Regular schedules are upended, but God hasn’t changed. And the call to train disciplemakers has not changed either during the global pandemic.
At Fort Bragg and around the military, while soldiers may be on limited duty and reduced contact, military leaders have emphasized physical fitness and readiness for the troops even while the gyms are closed. Physical fitness activities have merged with spiritual fitness. The usual Life-to-Life® disciplemaking relationships have moved to trail running or walking, shoulder-to-shoulder discipleship over the miles.
Mark* is a trail runner, so a 13-mile run with a young, single soldier gives him more time to listen and share how to grow deeper in faith. He models representing Jesus well in his unit. Other Navigators at Fort Bragg are embracing running together or working out together in the parks as a way to continue Life-to-Life® discipleship by sharing about what is going on in life and helping others to grow closer to God through such unprecedented times.
John Snyder, Navigators Military, shares about the unique opportunities, “This is a season of creative obedience for us as disciplemakers. Jesus didn’t tell us to stop fulfilling the Great Commission in uncertain times. As we interact with service men and women, we are training them in how to keep moving forward even as the world changes. The current restrictions have turned off all our regular systems for disciplemaking, but if we know how to deeply connect with God, we can keep hearing from God. Then we can deeply connect with other people and give our lives away in Life-to-Life discipleship—one run, one conversation, one zoom meeting at a time. It is a beautiful opportunity to get out of our routines and focus on what is unchanging about following God and growing disciplemakers.”
The Good News Spreads Online
In the midst of uncertainly, some soldiers are exploring faith and open to participating in online Bible studies. Sam*, a sergeant, has always been intentional in reaching out to his co-workers and getting to know them outside of work. During COVID-19 a fellow soldier who had never accepted the invitation to an in-person Bible study has been attending an online study with Sam. This opportunity is another way God has been working through the obstacles of COVID. Praise the Lord!
Technology also provides easy access to continue disciplemaking with those who have been reassigned to different bases. Sam does Zoom meetings to stay in touch and disciple a soldier who was transferred to Germany.
The opportunities for ministry are plentiful! Sam shares, “I don’t know how I can keep up this level of ministry when I go back to a regular work schedule. I can run, interact with soldiers, hop on a Zoom call, all because my regular schedule has been put on hold.”
This hard season also has had a silver lining with the gift of time, allowing us to go deeper and wider with the gospel that will transform more lives for God. “The time to think is a gift from God during this season,” says John. “Soldiers can meditate on what they are getting out of Scripture, to allow God to speak to their hearts, and to think more deeply.”
Praise God for the creative ministry that is flourishing in this season! Pray for the service men and women and their families as they serve our country.