New Generations of Leaders

As we are drawing close to the end of our intense look at The Navigators Vision, we come to this statement: “New generations of leaders are emerging, rooted incarnationally in their local and national contexts.” 
John and Steph Winder, Navigators in Corvallis, Oregon, are part of a new generation of leaders. We got to know their hearts for God and those who live around them as they participated in one of our neighborhood ministry training intensives. They welcomed a group of us into their home and fed us a meal on the back patio, a wonderful venue to share our neighborhood stories.
The next day, we met in a downtown worship space, hosted by a local church planter that the Winders partner with. We went on to visit the Corvallis Farmers Market and interacted with vendors and farmers who knew and loved John and Steph. The Winders represent the next generation of staff in our work. They are leading and coaching others while being rooted incarnationally in their neighborhood.
One couple they coach is Jason and Hannah, school teachers who began with The Navigators at Oregon State University. They teach in an ethnically diverse and economically challenged area. They have chosen to live near the school. The neighborhood is not in one of the desirable areas of Corvallis, yet it is where God’s called them to live and minister. This summer they used their vacation to participate in a Spanish immersion experience in Central America. They did this because so many of their students’ parents speak Spanish as their first language. Jason and Hannah are looking to buy a home in the neighborhood surrounding this school.
I’m inspired by John and Steph, part of a new generation of leaders “rooted incarnationally in their local and national contexts.” They are a new generation of Navigator staff who influence a broad movement as they take root in their local communities. I could tell similar stories about next-generation staff Daniel and Melinda Seibert in Baltimore, Drew and Kirsten Spence in Seattle, and James and Sheryl Helms in Portland.
I’m also inspired by Jason and Hanna, conventional income laborers. There are many stories to tell about how God is raising up such Kingdom workers who sacrificially commit to love their neighbors and demonstrate the reality and power of the gospel as a result. They are engineers, military people, teachers, farmers, mechanics, and homemakers; they believe God is doing something special and want to be a part of it!
Before I close, let me share a bit more about our neighborhood training initiatives, a key ministry designed to raise up laborers and leaders within the Navigator work I lead. Since these training invtensives started a few years ago, more than 150 people have participated. In doing so, they plunged into three weekend-long sessions aimed at helping people live out the gospel naturally and relationally where they live.
I have attended a portion of each of these initiatives. Everywhere I go, I am seeing God do amazing things in answer to our prayers for a new generation of leaders. Together, let’s anticipate what God will continue to do to raise up new generations of leaders, “rooted incarnationally in their local and national contexts,” all for the advance of the gospel!
For Your Consideration:

  • What do you find inspiring about these stories? Are there any aspects of these leaders’ lives that you would like to emulate?
  • What evidence do you see that sacrifice is often required in being rooted incarnationally in a community?
  • What sacrifices might you need to make in order to be more immersed in your community?

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.