Reflections: Nations & Generations

Late in his life, St. Augustine wrote a book titled Retractationes, which is Latin for "reconsiderations, revisions, or second thoughts." As he looked over the body of his writings, he wanted to refine positions on various issues he felt he had not dealt with satisfactorily, withdraw certain arguments and analogies, replacing them with better ones. In other words, he tried to do a better job of presenting ideas by clarifying and enhancing his previous efforts to explain doctrine.

 
As we consider the Navigators Neighbors Guiding and Defining Ideas illustrations—the initial one and this revised version, which I introduced a few weeks ago—I also have some reconsiderations, revisions, and second thoughts. It’s my hope that they bring balance, clarity, and perspective to what I have written in my previous blogs. For short, I call them Reflections. There are seven of them. I will write about the first two reflections here, and then continue with the rest of them over the next several weeks. 
 
Reflection #1: World Vision/Nations
 
When “nations” was replaced by “families, neighborhoods, communities, and cities” in the Navigators Neighbors Calling statement, some felt we had lost our vision for the world and our commitment to the nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. We maintain our commitment to the nations, as evidenced by the fact that about half of our full-time staff make regular ministry trips to serve in other parts of the world. I have a standing policy that any staff who want to do international ministry can automatically get 10 percent of their time allocated to the nations. In certain situations, even more time is approved.
 
Reflection #2: Younger Bias
 
Because our focus on family and relational networks leads us to minister across the full span of ages from young to old, our Guiding and Defining Ideas don’t specify a target age of our audience. On the other hand, because 75 percent of our staff are 50 or older, we need to have a bias toward the younger generations. One of our great opportunities is to develop ministries to newly married couples and young families. This will help us to be better partners with Nav20s and Navs Military and to be good recipients of the fruit of their ministries as they move into their 30s.
 
In your life and ministry, how has God led you to uniquely reflect your commitment to the nations? Also, what does (or might) a “bias toward the younger generations” look like for you?

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