If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.African Proverb
As Navigators, our collective desire is to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom through spiritual generations of laborers living and discipling among the lost. This means attuning ourselves to the ways God is leading us to new geographic areas for ministry, watching for His activity, and joining Him in His work. One such area is Fort Wayne, Indiana, where, to the best of my knowledge, Navigators has never previously placed a field representative.
When God called me to be part of Navigators Church Ministries in 2020, I had no idea what it would look like or how I would build a ministry as the only Navigators Field Representative in the Greater Fort Wayne Area. However, from the very beginning, I never walked alone. It was never “me.” It was always “we” as my Navigator team surrounded me and invited me to the table. They trained me and opened doors for me. Then, as God began to build the ministry in Fort Wayne, my team began to ask, “How can I serve you? How can I help?”
God also provided local allies in the Greater Fort Wayne area. There were a number of spiritual leaders in whom God had implanted the desire to see people discipled. These allies have continually introduced me to new and interested parties that desired to break the code on generational disciplemaking. Over a period of three years, God has given the opportunity for conversations with several hundred people who are willing to consider culture change in disciplemaking.
As I have prayed over the work in Fort Wayne for many, many months, I have prayed the familiar words of Jesus from Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” For the long haul, local laborers will be needed.
September 30, 2023, was a benchmark day for the ministry in Fort Wayne, as eighty-three everyday disciplemakers and future disciplemakers gathered for a first-ever disciplemaking conference in the city. Participants were challenged by a team of nine Navigator leaders from around the country in several service areas of Disciplemakers for Life, including Church Ministries, Cities, and First-Responders. Each participant at the conference was given the opportunity to envision the next step in his or her own disciplemaking journey and to gain new tools for the road ahead. In addition, pastors and church leaders were challenged in intentional culture-building that will provide the disciplemaking framework and momentum for church-based disciplemaking.
Numerous participants at the September 30 conference shared comments such as:
- “I have never been exposed to this path of ministry before”
- “I have been searching for something like this for a very long time”
- “I can’t wait to hear more about this journey of disciplemaking”
- “This is rare”
- “I plan to share this with others” and
- “This is an entirely new vision for ministry”
As the day unfolded, I began to realize, “the long labor of disciplemaking is being established and culture change has begun in this city!”
Building a ministry in a new city is a long and laborious journey, albeit one of great joy. However, where there was no ministry just three years ago, God has built momentum and interest in a population relatively untouched by skills in generational disciplemaking. During this journey, I have asserted repeatedly, “Not only has God led the way, I also carry with me the authority of my team.” Who am I to do this work? I am but a member of a humble, yet powerful team God has assembled to reach new populations in making disciples. We do it together. Indeed, there is no “I” in team.