My friend Michael Hicks recently sent an encouraging email. When I think of Michael, I believe he is an apt example of what we in The Navigators call a “lifelong laborer,” people we come alongside and equip to make a Kingdom difference right where they are. To illustrate, he's given me permission to pass along a portion of his email.
I’m writing a quick note to say “thank you” for being my discipleship teacher and trainer. You’ve been vital in God's unfolding of His calling and purpose for my life.
Thanks for helping me build a solid foundation in Jesus, which will prepare me to go out and disciple others for the kingdom of God.
Since we’ve been meeting, the door has opened for me to become a Care Pastor and Discipleship Teacher at my church. You’re a friend and mentor. I’m grateful to God for sending Dean into my life!
"Lifelong laborer." It’s an interesting term, isn’t it? I agree with my friend and colleague Mike Jordahl, one of our Navigator leaders, who says that it’s helpful to remember that Jesus gave us this “prayer request” for laborers: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38, ESV).
“You may know that the word laborers (or “workers”) comes from the Greek word ergates
,” says Mike, “which refers to ‘common, everyday field hands.’ ”
As Navigators, that is what we are praying for. As a Navigator Representative, that is what I am working for—especially as I come alongside such faithful men as Michael.
“Together, we trust God to use The Navigators to raise up ordinary men and women, in many walks of life and cultures, who will give themselves to living and discipling among people who don’t know Christ,” says Mike.
“We want to win them to Christ, help them become devoted followers of Christ, and do this in such a way that they can then do the same with others," he says. "We want them equipped and empowered to do this again and again and again—for decades to come, wherever they work, study, live, and play.”
Mike adds that gifted, called, and trained Navigator staff members are integral to seeing this happen. Nav staff work to raise up, come alongside, and lead laborers to do their part in advancing the Gospel into the nations. What a privilege to be a part of what God's doing to raise up lifelong laborers in the harvest—whether it's working with a church team, a small group, or life-to-life with a "laborer" like Michael.
Learn more about Dean and Kim Ridings' work with Navigator Church Ministries here.