By Mutua Mahiaini
A landmark event in Navigator history just occurred in Malaysia. Our 2017 International Forum, the first in five years, brought together about 380 Navigator leaders from every part of the globe. These men and women display the remarkable unity and diversity of the Navigator Worldwide Partnership. We are unified in Christ to carry the Gospel into the nations.
Our purpose for the forum was to bring focus, alignment and energy to the Navigator movement. Over the years, we have found that significant, Gospel-advancing connections happen during this kind of forum. This was the case in Malaysia.
Leading up to the forum, God had spoken to my heart through Exodus 34:23-24, which says, “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory . . .” This scripture affirms the importance of bringing our leaders together before God, to hear from Him, to be strengthened by Him together, and to encourage one another.
The theme for the International Forum was “the Gospel to the nations.” As I travel around the world and meet with Navigators, I have seen how God is mobilizing us around that call. We as Navigators are strongly aware that we are called to reach the nations. This is not just for ministries that have plentiful resources; it is part and parcel of our relationship with Christ.
And yet, this call to reach the nations is daunting. It is far beyond our human capacity. So, as we think about reaching the nations, it requires us to expand our view of God. The call to the nations compels us to put our trust in God’s power and promises, to believe that He will do what we cannot do on our own. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.
Time after time during the conference, we heard stories of how God is fulfilling His promises to reach the nations. Leaders from each of our seven regions shared beautiful stories of God’s work through ordinary men and women who, in faith, are putting their families, finances and futures into service for the sake of ministering among the lost.
Reaching the nations happens on the local level—in neighborhoods, in family networks, in rural villages, on college campuses, in workplaces, in medical clinics, in urban slums. Navigators are working in all these places. A few examples:
- In the Middle East and North Africa region, Navigators are serving refugees who have fled war-torn countries, and they are seeing the Gospel advance despite dangerous conditions.
- In the North America region, pioneering missionaries are opening new works in the Caribbean and reaching out to the poor in the U.S.
- In Latin America, we heard how God is using business professionals to bring Christ to their workplace and family networks.
- In Eurasia, God is using sports ministries, medical teams, and orphanage ministries to share God’s love with the lost.
- In Europe, young leaders are finding creative ways to bring the Gospel to a highly secular region.
- In the vast Africa region, God is working powerfully through Navigators to bring hope to rural populations, to rescue prostitutes in urban centers, and to reach business leaders.
- And in the populous Asia-Pacific region, Navigators are ministering fruitfully among followers of major religions from China to New Zealand.
During the forum, we spent extensive time praying for our work in each region. Prayer helped prevent us from putting ourselves in the center of this challenge to reach the nations. Moses made that mistake. In Exodus 3:7-10, God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Moses responded to God’s call (3:11) by saying, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” In that question, Moses demonstrated that he believed the task depended on him, when in fact it depended on God.
The same is true for Navigators as we respond to God’s call to reach the nations. We respond with bold faith in God, seeing ourselves in light of His promises, love, and power. As we move forward after the International Forum, we pray and minister from that place.
Mutua Mahiaini is the International President of The Navigators. Mutua and his wife, Stephanie, led our work in Kenya, then in Côte d’Ivoire, and then as Regional Director for Africa for 13 years. Mutua and Stephanie now live in Colorado Springs. They have four adult children.