Wanted: Ministry Pioneers

A couple years ago, a young staff couple we’ll call “David and Kate” joined Nav Neighbors and intentionally moved to Seattle. Their assignment is to be a faithful presence in that neighborhood, while planting missional communities in their community. Their neighborhood is one of these extremely diverse communities in which we want to make a conscious ministry effort.

David, Kate, and their family moved into the heart of this area, in a home across from the community center. They are actively getting to know their neighbors and entering into the relational fabric of this place. This is Nav Neighbors’ first pioneering effort, and we are trusting God for similar efforts in the future.

But we didn’t get here on our own.

Nav Neighbors is benefiting today from a rich legacy of pioneers and pioneering teams. Navigator Gary Bradley and many others who teamed with Gary brought us b2g—short for Better Together—which laid a generational foundation among Generation X that still has impact today.

A number of the leaders who emerged during those early days of b2g are now serving with Nav Neighbors in a variety of contexts. Organizationally, the b2g legacy also extends to Nav20s and the focus on God’s work “right where you are.”

But you don’t have to be on staff with The Navigators to be a pioneer in your community.

The Ohana Network is following family lines in ways that are causing new Gospel foundations to be laid in places as far away as East Asia and as close as our major American cities.

The work of Every Man A Warrior and its aim to help men succeed in life has resulted in numerous people coming to Christ, marriages healed, and formerly enslaved people laboring in God’s kingdom.

These very different ministries all have this in common: There were a few pioneers who saw a new place or space and moved into it to lay foundations that have changed the landscape such that generational ministry resulted.

Pioneering often involves a team of people moving into a neighborhood together to plant the Gospel and lay foundations for a generational ministry. I am praying that many such teams would intentionally make this effort—especially when it involves moving to places with high ethnic diversity or large ethnic minority populations again, with generational impact. We desperately need some pioneers to do this.

Each of the ministries I highlighted above came into being because God laid a passion for something that didn’t yet exist on the hearts of a few willing pioneers, and they believed Him and stepped into the space and began to lay a foundation. May this legacy continue in whatever way the Lord sees fit.

Isaac Newton—who some may consider a pioneer in his own right—famously said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Pray with me for “giants” who are willing to go to these new places, live life with new people, start new ministries in ways that have never been done before, and build foundations for generations to come.

Al Engler directs the Nav Neighbors Mission of The Navigators. You can learn more about him and his ministry here. This is the third in a series of blogs, starting with “A New Kind of Leader” and “A New Kind of Leadership: Local Laborers.”