By Eddie Broussard
Nancy, a Muslim working in central Asia, was terrified. The accounting mistake she had made at work was serious. She knew that she would face public humiliation in front of coworkers, and that she would have to pay a major fine. She knew that her boss had every right to fire her.
But Nancy soon experienced the love and grace of Jesus. Her boss, Zach, did not fine or fire her. Instead, he helped Nancy correct the problem and identify how to avoid making the same mistake again. Then he assured her that she could keep working as his employee.
Nancy was shocked! Why would Zach, who owned the business, treat her with such grace? After several days of bewilderment, she talked with a friend, Tanya, who is one of our Navigator leaders in the region. Nancy had to know why Zach would be so merciful. Tanya shared that Zach ran his company based on the teachings of Jesus. She explained that Jesus is a God of mercy and grace, so Zach believed he should treat his employees the same way.
After this conversation, Nancy expressed a strong desire to know more about Jesus. So, Tanya invited Nancy to read the Scriptures, the original documents about Jesus’ life. Today, Nancy and Tanya are reading the New Testament and Nancy is on her way to following Christ.
This beautiful series of events has a deeper story. Zach had been discipled for several years by a Navigator country leader in the region. Over time, Jesus began to change Zach’s heart, helping him to align his values and actions with God’s kingdom. He began to live out his faith in daily life, including in the way he runs his business. And that has served to advance the Gospel to Nancy and many others in Zach’s company.
As this story demonstrates, making disciples is not an abstract theological concept. It changes lives and relationships. It restores hope to workplaces, families and nations. Disciple-making is a work of faith, hope and love in which we participate with the Holy Spirit in helping others grow spiritually. As the Holy Spirit transforms the inner being of individuals, the power of God is unleashed through the simple words and deeds of people like Zach. And through these ordinary people, the Gospel spreads into the nations.
Paul summarizes disciple-making in Galatians 4:19. “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you . . .” By God’s power, Paul says, discipleship leads people to become more and more like Jesus. God transforms them from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).
This Spirit-empowered discipleship leads people to change what they believe about God and themselves. They begin to see life through the lens of the Scriptures. New faith reshapes their behavior and actions (James 2:14-26).
This is precisely what happened when Paul and company brought the Gospel to the Thessalonians—in word, actions, and God’s power. “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Faith is visible, fresh and different! As followers of Jesus imitate Him in daily life, everyone around them experiences hope and love. Paul wrote, “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). Their lives no longer reflect the dead hope offered by idols, but a vibrant, living hope that changed the way they lived (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
A Navigator leader invested his life in Zach who in turn showed grace and mercy to Nancy. Now Nancy is coming to faith with the hope that she will go on to impact the lives of others. The result? Spiritual generations!
Eddie Broussard is an International Vice President of The Navigators. Prior to joining the IET, he served on the U.S. National Leadership Team. Eddie and his wife, Barbie, live in Colorado Springs.