By David Lyons
Tears get my attention when they rise from a heart being poured out before God in prayer. And tears were flowing as I joined several young Navigator missionaries to pray for the lost, the broken, and the unreached in their very hard part of the world. The voices of these next generation apprentice missionaries cracked as they cried out to God, asking Him to open the eyes of the blind, and to open hungry hearts to respond to the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom.
I’ve seen a teammate cry while he prayed for the lost and unreached. He’s given his whole life to planting the Gospel among them, at great personal cost. But he’s an old guy like me. Now I was seeing those same tears in the next generation of Navigator missionaries. And my heart leapt.
I sat in a café with some of these young bucks as hookah smoke wafted around us. They spent hours telling me how God had prepared them for their calling to pioneer Gospel movements in the hardest places. As they talked, I was deeply impressed with the incisive clarity of their vision. They demonstrated a surprising maturity and a solid understanding of what it takes to plant the Gospel and to grow a foundational generation where one has never been raised before.
As the hours passed, they also shared about the messy brokenness of their past. They come from a fatherless generation, and carry deep wounds. But right there on the mission field, while being mentored and loved by veterans, the Father is healing their hearts and causing living water to flow from the wounds that are being healed. As a result, their authenticity is winsome and compelling for the lost and broken around them.
They are learning to trust old guys like me who look and smell a lot like their earthly fathers. I am learning to earn their trust by listening to them, loving them, and learning from them.
Years ago, pioneers like these young men and women birthed our movement. They blazed trails into the nations. Then our movement “matured,” and young pioneers like these found it harder to thrive among us. They tend to be messy and make us uncomfortable. But we have much to offer one another. We need them, perhaps more than they need us. May the next generation find us to be faithful and worthy of their trust and partnership in the Gospel!
David Lyons is an International Vice President of The Navigators. He oversees international initiatives, communications, and networking of 5,000 staff in more than 115 countries. David is author of Don’t Waste the Pain.