To know Christ in my own life in ever increasing depth
and to make disciples, and develop laborers
AT ALL TIMES, UNDER ANY CONDITIONS,
IN EVERY PLACE I GO.
The above statement summarizes the commitment of the Kansas navigator team. There are different seasons of life, and in all of these this objective helps govern the purpose and passion of our lives. This is not something to put on hold because a career is just getting started, is at its busiest point, or retirement is in view. Each time of life has its peculiar demands but none of them should prevent the opportunity to spiritually impact the lives of others. I have known some individuals who, when challenged to invest in the lives of others, declined to do so until their children were grown and had left home. I have also seen families whose lives were under the control of little league coaches for a number of years, preventing them from investing in the lives of others. There are also other families, however, who were able to maintain a meaningful ministry with others while their children were small. One couple included their children in their home Bible studies with others. The children greeted others at the door, made name tags, and brought in the coffee, tea, and other treats for the group. As they grew up and became teenagers, they would babysit the children of those who came to weekly evangelistic Bible studies in the home. Not only did they participate in the family outreach to others, this exposure served as a model for their own lives. When they were in graduate school, they began to reach out and develop Bible studies for their class mates. As we model “at all times” in our lives, those around us will begin to manifest this in their lives as well.
The Lord desires that we make disciples and develop laborers not only at all times but under any conditions as well. The Apostle Paul described his life in II Corinthians 4:8-9 as follows. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” The Macedonian churches were commended because “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (II Corinthians 8:2) I recall Lorne Sanny mentioning once that most of the important things in life were accomplished by those who were tired or didn’t feel well! Ecclesiastes 11:4 tells us “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” The Living Bible says this more clearly. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Dr. Don Davis, a World Impact missionary in the inner city, developed a teaching syllabus for the purpose of training and preparing individuals to lead and pastor others in the inner cities of America. Not only has it spread throughout the U.S.A. and a number of other countries, but has been used extensively in a number of prisons. Inmates, once hardened criminals, are being brought to the Lord, discipled and equipped to minister to others in the inner cities of America. Many of the future leaders of our inner cities are being prepared for their ministry by those who are working under any conditions in which they find themselves.
The objective of making disciples and developing laborers was never intended to be limited simply to those we interact with at church. It is to be accomplished in every place we go. This includes, of course, our workplaces and neighborhoods. Are we praying regularly for them? Do we initiate interactions with them? Are we, at some point, identifying with Christ? Are we praying about opportunities and planning to invite them into our homes to look at the scriptures together? Every place we go also includes the periodic encounters we have with others. Some years ago I spent time with a new Christian who worked at a gas station. He had come to know the Lord through a customer who bought gas regularly at the station. The customer took an interest in him, and after a period of time, was able to help him come to faith in Christ. Another man whom I met a few years ago is a barber in our neighborhood. Soon after we met, I learned of those whom he knew and discovered that several of his customers had shared the gospel with him. They were faithful to be involved with the ministry of the Lord in every place they went.
As we consider the objective of the Kansas navigator ministry, we do well to recall Paul’s objective for his life as stated in Colossians 1:28-29. “So naturally, we proclaim Christ. We warn everyone we meet, we teach everyone we can all that we know about Him, so that if possible we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ, and this is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Phillips Translation) God’s grace was sufficient for Paul to accomplish this objective in his life. As Paul directed Timothy in II Timothy 2:1 to be “strong in this grace,” so my prayer for you is that you may also be strong in His grace so that this objective would be accomplished in your life as well.
In Christ, Richard Spann