In early March, Chris and I had the privilege of joining more than one hundred European Navigator staff who work with college students in ten countries. Seeing firsthand the faith of these young men and women filled us with joy. We were impressed by how a new generation of leaders is practicing the spiritual disciplines that we had learned in the 1970s, including the partnership of giving and receiving. It was clear that, forty years later, Navigator DNA continues to resonate with a new generation!
One conversation in particular stands out to me. During one of the meal times, we sat with Jakar and Martine, a young staff couple from the Netherlands. They have taken a huge step of faith by leaving promising careers in order to dedicate full attention to help Dutch students come to the fullness of life in Christ. Jakar and Martine are right in the middle of the huge challenge of fundraising. We listened to them tell wonderful stories about how, with impeccable timing, God had provided housing and finances for them. This reminded us of our own early faith adventures during which God also provided for our needs in remarkable ways.
Partnership in giving and receiving is a spiritual discipline that is vital for the growth of the Gospel. Philippians 4:15 says, "Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the Gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only." The Greek word koinonia (often translated “fellowship”) is frequently used in the New Testament to describe this practical “sharing” of financial resources.
Jesus demonstrated this in His own ministry (see Luke 8:1-3). A group of women financially supported Him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. Have you ever wondered why Jesus left us this example? He could have made His living as a carpenter, or He could have financed His ministry by helping Peter, Andrew, James, and John develop their fishing business as a missional enterprise. He also could have fed Himself and His disciples with miracle loaves and fishes. But instead He chose to model the vital spiritual discipline of sharing—a partnership in giving and receiving.
In our Navigator work around the world, we need a new generation of young men and women with the vision and commitment to partner in giving and receiving as Paul did with the Philippians. The spiritual discipline of giving generously from our financial resources is complemented by young men and women like Jakar and Martine who are willing to step out by faith and invest the finances they have received for the sake of the Gospel’s advance among the nations.
May each new generation of Navigators embrace this joyful partnership just as Jakar, Martine, and the friends who support them have experienced. You can be sure that those who do this will experience the living God who generously provides for all our needs.
Mike Treneer is International President of The Navigators. Mike and 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.