Portrait of a Kingdom Laborer

“Hello, is this Donnie Hoover? You don’t know me, but a friend of yours from Clemson recommended that I call you. My name is Pat Batchelor. I am moving from Texas to Atlanta to start a church.” That’s how our relationship began back in 1985—with a simple phone call.

Pat was a 25-year-old mechanical engineer, who, along with his nuclear engineer friend, Jim, accepted a challenge to start a church among college students at Georgia Tech. They knew nothing about Georgia Tech or Atlanta and had zero seminary training, but they had been challenged with a mission, developed a vision of what could be, and were given my name as their first church recruit.

Over the next several years Pat and Jim’s vision became a reality. More than three decades later, the church God birthed through their willingness to humble themselves, leave everything, and trust Him continues to bless lives today.

Pat’s commitment to love people to Jesus by being faithful in little things impacted me, both then and now. His phone calls to check on me, words of encouragement, and invitations to dinner or to just hang out were all ways in which he came alongside me in my journey of faith.

I remember Pat writing out on index cards the insights he received from God during his daily Bible reading and prayer times. For 30 straight days, Pat faithfully mailed me his insights and applications written on those cards. This faithful example encouraged me and taught me how to have a daily quiet time with God.

The different seasons of our lives eventually pulled us apart, and we lost contact for almost 25 years. Then came another phone call: “Hello, is this Donnie Hoover? This is Pat Batchelor. You want to get together for lunch?”

Now, five years after that lunch, Pat and I have the privilege of partnering to lead a Friday morning men’s group. We have taken these men through the Every Man a Warrior Bible study series and are currently walking them through The Ways of the Alongsider study. We are committed to seeing this group multiply, developing spiritual generations of mature Christ-followers throughout all of Atlanta and beyond. This month, Pat will take two of the men from our group and launch a new group with the hope that they will be equipped to start their own groups in 2019.

Pat’s life embodies what we in The Navigators call the Five Competencies of a Kingdom Laborer—and what Doug Nuenke called Five Traits of a Christ-Follower. What about you? Check out this simple assessment and see what you discover!


Donnie Hoover is the Southeast Regional Leader for Navigator Church Ministries. He is pictured above (right) with Pat Batchelor.

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