Passing the Baton

By Mike Treneer

With my 10-year term as International President of the Navigators coming to an end, and after much reflection and prayer, I believe that the Lord is leading me to step out of this role. I have initiated a process to identify the Lord’s choice of a new leader for our Navigator Worldwide Partnership.

Although Chris and I remain deeply committed to our Navigator Calling and plan to continue to serve the work around the world with our gifts and experience, I believe that now is the best time for this change. The international Navigator work is generally healthy and growing. There is a gifted and experienced group of leaders who are well prepared for the future. Our direction is clear, being focused on our Calling, Values and Vision. And there is a wonderful spirit of unity among our International Leadership Community.

(Please follow this link to a video message from the IET and me to all Navigators about this transition: http://vimeo.com/112111834)

I know that timing is important. Life often shows us that making a good decision is not all that matters; the timing of what we do can make good decisions better or worse.

This truth is illustrated often in sports. I very much enjoy track and field athletics. I have watched several times the world record-breaking run of the U.S. women’s 4x100 team at the 2012 London Olympics. You can watch the race at this Web link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAfhf_u_QBI

These women won, not just by running well, but by superb baton changes. They performed exactly timed transitions. I can imagine the feeling of each woman as they released their teammate into the next leg of the race. I gain inspiration from their shared joy in victory. We aspire to this kind of teamwork and commitment to one another’s best contribution.

None of us would claim that the events of our lives or leadership are as significant as the life and ministry of Jesus; nevertheless, the following Scriptures make clear that timing is important in the outworking of God’s purposes.

. . . when the time had fully come (Galatians 4:4).
. . . the right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right (John 7:6).
. . . the time has come (John 17:1).

I have found Jesus’ statement in John 17:4 to be extremely helpful in this leader transition. Jesus said: I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Clearly there remained much work to do in order for Jesus to see God glorified and His kingdom extended throughout the nations of earth. Yet Jesus had a sense that He had “done His bit.” That which the Father had specifically entrusted to Him as Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, had been accomplished. There remained, of course, His atoning death, mighty resurrection, and ascension; but this phase of His “ministry” had been completed to the Father’s glory.

In Colossians 4:17 Paul sends the following message to Archippus: . . . see that you complete the work you have received in the Lord. As I have looked back over these last 10 years and have considered the way the Lord has led and the things He has put in my heart, I am convinced that my next leadership focus is to do all I can to ensure a good transition to the next leader and team.

As our Navigator Worldwide Partnership begins the process of selecting a new president, the Scriptures provide us with valuable guidance. In John 13-17, Jesus stresses His confidence in those to whom He is entrusting leadership of the Gospel movement that His life, death, and resurrection would birth. It is clear that Jesus’ confidence in them rests in several factors: the intimacy of their relationship with Him (John 15:1-8); the fact that He has given them God’s Word and knows they will hold to it (John 14:21-24; John 17:8, 14, 17); the leading and empowering of the Spirit (John 14:26; John 16:13-14); and His confidence that they understand the “family business” (John 15:15).

As we prepare for this leadership transition in The Navigators, please pray that God will help us focus on upholding and affirming the person who takes the baton from me. How can we express confidence in God for His anointing on that person’s life? What will release, empower, and guide the new President in making the greatest contribution to the purposes of God into successive generations?

For Chris and me, this transition will allow a furlough in the U.K. from June through September 2015 in preparation for our future support of the International Executive Team (IET).

Mike Treneer is International President of The Navigators. He and his wife, Chris, lived in Kenya for 16 years where Mike helped develop our Africa ministries and became our Africa Director. Mike served on the International Executive Team and led our Europe work before becoming President in 2005.