A Worldwide Movement

Near the end of our Navigator Vision is an affirmation of the beauty and blessings of our worldwide partnership, reflected in this statement: “An international leadership community brings focus, alignment, and energy to their movement.”
Imagine the beauty of the heavenly worship service the apostle John saw: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9, ESV).
As I consider The Navigators Worldwide Partnership, I see a similar sight. The U.S. Navigators are part of a broader international community of Navigators, with brothers and sisters pursuing our calling and vision all around the world. They are sacrificial servants, “all in” for Jesus. They encourage and inspire me. Fellowship with and learning from them is highly worthwhile!
In fact, I experienced this not long ago when nearly 400 Navigators from more than 70 countries met in Malaysia for the 2017 International Forum. A highlight for me was helping to facilitate a small working group on neighborhoods and families. Our group was made up of Navigators from every part of the globe. We wrestled with such questions as, “How do you engage with people who just are not interested?” and “What are practical ways to engage with a neighborhood?”
I cannot overstate the powerful perspectives that surface when people from Africa, Central America, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia discuss questions we all have in common. In fact, I came home with a list of some very practical ways to engage a neighborhood that emerged from our conversation:

  • Hospitality is critical.
  • Don’t be fancy, keep things informal.
  • Serve your neighbors (several examples were shared).
  • Prayer: “God, you are a God of love. Help them to know that I love them.” (One person in a closed country prayed this about people who were persecuting his family.)
  • Enlist like-minded, like-hearted neighbors in bringing shalom (God’s peace) to the neighborhood.
  • Don’t lose hope.
  • Ask God for creative ideas.
  • Set aside a portion of your giving to give to the neighborhood.
  • Identify and serve those on the margins.
  • Prayerfully walk your neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood is both a geography and a set of natural relationships.
  • Map your neighborhood.
  • Learn to live locally.
  • Minister to the children in your neighborhood.
  • Resolve conflict.
  • Deal with neighborhood problems and issues in a redemptive way.

We are part of an international leadership community, and these leaders indeed bring focus, alignment, and energy to our work. At our International Gathering, this contribution was described as:

  • Focus: a deeper shared biblical understanding of the gospel
  • Alignment: unity around Christ and His calling for us
  • Energy: vision of God Himself and fire in our hearts

Over the years, our international community has affected me in countless ways. Connecting with Navigator ministries in Ghana, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and other countries has helped shape my view of ministry in the United States. Often the complexity of the U.S. work makes it hard to see both the big picture and the smaller parts of the movement of God at the same time.
International Navigators can inform your ministry as well. If you would like to learn more about our Worldwide Partnership, start with Navigators Worldwide, a quarterly newsletter highlighting people who live and work among the lost in unique international contexts. Also, here you’ll find 30 videos showing how God is using The Navigators to advance the gospel around the world.
We are part of a worldwide movement of God, and I find that thrilling! The unique perspectives, experiences, and insights of our brothers and sisters from widely diverse places and cultures can enrich and inform our own efforts, which indeed has been my experience. Our support of one another as we pursue our common calling will energize the spread of God’s Kingdom around the world. May the beauty and blessings of our worldwide partnership lead us ever closer to that heavenly worship service we shall all take part in!
For Your Consideration:
  • Even if you don’t have a passport, it’s possible to connect with disciplemakers from other countries since believers from other nations live among us. What are three ways you might meet and interact with internationals in your community?
  • List at least five questions you might ask international Christians regarding what they’ve learned about reaching their neighbors.
  • Is there someone doing neighborhood ministry with another culture—either here or in another country—that you could meet with on a regular basis to exchange ideas and encouragement? Pray about setting up a regular meeting time with him or her, either in person or through Skype.

Al Engler is the director of Navigators Neighbors. To contact him or to learn more about his ministry, click here.

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles unpacking the Navigator vision. The series begins with Unpacking Our Vision: An Introduction.