Mike Treneer

Don't Lose Heart

By Mike Treneer

First published in September 2000

Photo courtesy of Daniel Burka

Photo courtesy of Daniel Burka

Writing out of a time of great personal difficulty and stress, the Apostle Paul tells of hardships he endured in Asia, so severe that he “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Then on his arrival in Macedonia, he says that “this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

Describing himself as “downcast, perplexed, hard pressed on every side,” he tells of “troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights” and “hunger.” But Paul remembered four great realities which kept him going during that dark time. He commended these four motivating truths to the Corinthians—and to us.

God’s mercy: “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1). Perhaps for most of us the greatest area of discouragement is with ourselves. Besides the everyday difficulties of life, we struggle with our own failure, foolishness and sin. We need to remember it is God’s mercy, not our wisdom or goodness, that makes us His servants.

God’s power: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).

We who have a passion to see the Gospel advance are often discouraged by the unresponsiveness of those we are trying to reach. Paul reminds us that our confidence should not be in our own ability, skill or cleverness. In fact, it is not in anything about us at all, for we are only the vessels containing a wonderful treasure. Rather, our confidence rests in God’s all-surpassing power.

Jesus’ death: “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12).

Paul looked at the difficulties of his life through the lens of Jesus’ death. When we face difficult circumstances, we need to remember the death of Jesus and that He calls us to share in His sufferings (Philippians 1:29). We were never promised freedom from suffering, for discipleship involves taking up the cross and dying to self (Luke 9:23). Without this, our lives can never be truly fruitful (John 12:24-26). Remembering this can transform the pain and the difficulties of life from meaningless struggle to opportunity for Jesus’ life to be revealed in us.

Jesus’ resurrection: “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus. . . . Therefore we do not lose heart. . . . For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18).

Our confident expectation of our resurrection with Jesus transforms our attitudes toward life’s trials and troubles. Knowing that we will be presented in God’s presence, we do not lose heart, for no difficulties in this life can compare with the joys of the life to come.

New Translated Videos

By IET Communications

Treneer Drawing Out Final.jpg

To advance the Gospel in 115 nations, Navigators serve God in many different contexts and languages. Yet we are unified around our Calling, Values and Vision, which express the scriptural heart and soul of our Worldwide Partnership—who we are, what we do, what we hope God will do through us. (You can read these statements at this link.)

Several years ago, the International Executive Team produced three short animated videos in English that convey our Calling, Values and Vision. The IET is now excited to announce the release of these videos in Spanish, Arabic, French and Indonesian. We hope that these translations will serve a wider spectrum of Navigators in the countries where we serve.

The original English versions are narrated by former International President Mike Treneer. Titled the “Drawing Out” series, they were produced using timelapse videography and a talented artist who depicts Treneer’s narration with colorful drawings.

“These are popular videos,” says International Vice President David Lyons. “They do a great job of explaining who we are as Navigators. Plus, they are really fun to watch!”

The videos can be streamed online or downloaded from our international video library at this link.

Each region and country in our Worldwide Partnership plays an important role in advancing the Gospel. David Lyons says that these videos will help Navigators around the world share who we are and what we do, strengthen teams, improve communication efforts, and raise funding.

“We hope these translations honor and grow the diversity and unity of who we are as a Worldwide Partnership,” Lyons says.

Passing the Baton

By Mike Treneer

Mike and Chris Treneer

Mike and Chris 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: https://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.

God As Leader: 82 Years of Navigator History

By Jerry White

"All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players. They each have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts" (William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7).

"Remember how the Lord your God led you . . ." (Deut 8:2).

". . . for such a time as this?" (Esther 5:14).

Although Shakespeare is not scripture, this quote by him reflects the truth that we each have a contribution for a period of time. Each period fits within the context of the past and the future. As I reflect on Mike Treneer’s decade of leadership, I see how God has used him to play an important role within the broader history of The Navigators.

By God’s gracious hand, Navigators are celebrating 82 years of being a primary voice for disciple-making in the global body of Christ. And through all this time, God has been the leader of The Navigators. So, as Mike Treneer steps down from his role as International President, we know that God will continue to lead us.

(Watch a three-minute video of Navigator International Vice Presidents sharing about the future of The Navigators: https://vimeo.com/114047549)

Looking at our history, we can see countless ways that God has sustained and guided The Navigators. In the early days, our survival seemed tenuous and fragile. The Navigators was born from God’s work among military men and women during World War II. After the war, as soldiers scattered back to their homes, we had to discover ways to serve people in a new context. Then, our founder, Dawson Trotman, died in 1956. Lorne Sanny and a very small Navigator staff had to decide if The Navigators was still viable without Dawson and his involvement with Billy Graham.

Lorne’s role as President at that time was crucial. He led us into a surge of expansion into the student ministry (1960s) and a seminal first statement of our Aim and Calling. The 60s and 70s was a time of recruiting and sending to the nations—an incredible missionary expansion. The foundations of many national works were established. With this rapid expansion came many relational and structural strains related to the natural consequences of growing from an American and Western movement to a truly international fellowship.

During this time, Mike and Chris Treneer were leading Nigeria and then Africa while living in Kenya. I became the International President as Mike was passing the African leadership to Mutua and Stephanie Mahiaini. It was a time of significant international tension as we began to develop the concept of the Global Society and a restatement of our Calling, Values, and Vision—what we call “The Core.” As Mike joined the International Executive Team, he and Jim Petersen were our first voices from the southern hemisphere.

Mike joined the IET and became our fourth International President. With skill and humility and a clear call, Mike helped Navigators practice and implement our Calling, Values, and Vision statements based on the Scriptures. Mike reinvigorated the study of the Scriptures throughout the Worldwide Partnership. In every leadership gathering, he emphasized and modeled our commitment to the Word as our point of reference.

Mike also sustained and energized our fundamental commitment to evangelism, discipleship, and multiplication (generations). He has wonderfully led us in responding to the Holy Spirit and the Word in all initiatives. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty" (Zech 4:6 NIV).

We will continue to be guided by the foundational promises of Isaiah 61 (preaching the good news to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, becoming oaks of righteousness in a needy world).

These have been fruitful years under Mike’s leadership. Chris has had a huge impact. Mary and I value their friendship and encouragement. The future is bright as we continue to live out the sacred trust and calling which God has given us. He will lead us. May we always be faithful to His call.

Dr. Jerry White is International President Emeritus of The Navigators. He served almost 19 years as International President (until 2005). He retired as a Major General from the US Air Force. He and his wife, Mary, live in Colorado Springs.