In my previous blog I began the conversation about reconsiderations, revisions, and second thoughts related to the Navigators Neighbors Guiding and Defining Ideas illustrations. Today I’m writing to offer three additional reflections, each related to diversity within Neighbors, and I’ll share two more by year’s end.
Reflection #3: Diversity of Ministry
Some believed the former Metro Mission was the place where staff could do anything they wanted to do. We don’t want that to be true of Neighbors. Instead, we’ve attempted to articulate a broad philosophical pathway (bounded by our Guiding and Defining Ideas) that many can be on while engaging in quite different ministry expressions.
Truth is, Navigators Neighbors is quite diverse. We have a number of networks that are national or cross-missional in scope: Ohana Partners (Asian Americans focused on family networks), Via Affirmativa (for Kingdom-minded artists), Apostolic Network (for pioneers and insiders among the lost), and Every Man A Warrior (helping men succeed in life). Plus there are a multitude of specialty ministries—such as Nav Youth (high school teens)—carried on by individual staff.
While we have a great diversity of ministry expression, there is unity of overall philosophy. As a leader, I want to ensure we provide freedom, space, permission, resources, blessing, and protection for each of these ministry expressions in Neighbors.
Reflection #4: Diversity of People
I would love to see us collectively ministering with equal ease to men, women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and those of other ethnic and religious backgrounds. Many staff are already doing this quite effectively. In some cases, we may do so in partnership with the National Ethnic Networks or such other Missions as Nations Within.
Reflection #5: Diversity of Gifts
It will take all the gifts to accomplish what God has given us to do. I personally subscribe to the framework of Ephesians 4:11, where Christ gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip God’s people for works of service. We are those equippers who have been given these five gifts. Additionally, I believe that we also have empowering gifts (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11) given by the Spirit to help us be more effective in ministry.
What encourages you most about the diversity of people and ministries within Neighbors? Who has complementary gifts you could partner with to maximize your effectiveness?