Laborers and Learners

Lifelong Laborers. There are 11 Missions of The Navigators, and Navigator Church Ministries is one of five grouped together under the banner “lifelong laborers.” It’s an apt fit, of course, because the bottom line of our NCM ministry is to raise up and send out “laborers in the harvest,” as Jesus, full of compassion, spoke of in Matthew 9:36-38.

Lifelong Learners. That’s how a fellow Navigator mistakably referred to this group of Missions recently. That’s understandable as well. Not only do they sound similar, if we’re to be used of God to raise up and send out laborers, we ourselves need to be lifelong learners!

That describes my wife, Kim, and me, for sure! We know that we're still in process, that neither of us has "arrived," as it were. With this in mind, here’s an update on two recent events I've had an opportunity to participate in both to sharpen me in my personal life as well as in our ministry efforts.

The first is NCM Life & Leadership Coaching certification camp, held in Dallas, Texas, at the end of August. If I’m to retain my coaching certification, I must participate in coach camp every year (among other commitments). In fact, in preparation, we were required to read and take a comprehensive test on Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach by Tony Stoltzfus.

Beyond mere lecture, as the picture from coach camp reflects, we spent much of our time in small groups and one-to-ones, honing such coaching skills as masterful listening, powerful questioning, and coaching the gap between present reality and a preferred future. (Good news: I retained my certification for another year!

Also, at the end of September in nearby Lakewood, Colorado, I participated in the one-day VITAL seminar put on by Q-Place, a ministry that helps everyday Christians start small groups that spur spiritual conversations.

What’s a Q-Place? It’s “a group of two to twelve people who get together with two or three Christians to discuss questions about life, God, and the Bible in a home, coffee shop, or anywhere that people naturally gather.” I'm greatly encouraged to know that there are Q-(Question) Places across the nation. 

I certainly came away inspired and equipped by this event as well. For one, they unpacked nine arts of spiritual conversations that characterized Jesus’ life and ministry: He noticed, prayed, listened, asked good questions, loved, welcomed, facilitated (ongoing conversations about God), served together (with people), and shared (good news)!

Hugh Halter, author of Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth, was part of the teaching team. Hugh inspired us with five elements of personal ministry that leads people to Jesus and positions them to become mature followers of Christ: incarnation, reputation, conversation, confrontation, and transformation. He challenged us with his personal examples and a key question: “What would it look like for you to ‘reenter’ the world—for you to naturally inject yourself into the contexts of others?” For him, it involved frequenting a tattoo parlor and taking up yoga, both of which have opened up the doors for ongoing spiritual conversations.

How about you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you characterize yourself as a lifelong laborer and learner? What’s an action step you might take within the next 24 hours or so to improve your score a point or two? Let us know how we can be praying for you and cheering you on in the race!
Dean Ridings is a Representative of Navigator Church Ministries. To contact Dean or to learn more about the Ridings’ Navigator ministry in the Rocky Mountain Region, please click here