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A History of Our Calling

Summary: This article spans the evolution of our Calling from the beginning until the Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry in the early 1990s. Attachments sample the documents in which we defined our sphere of service. The language changed but the root elements endured. God has held us accountable


Dawson Trotman’s Evolving Vision
Lorne Sanny as President of The Navigators
Overseas Policy Conference, 1961
Our Primary Aim and Increasing International Diversity
Some Notes on Calling

Dawson Trotman’s Evolving Vision

Dawson Trotman had a clear vision, but an evolving one. It was still growing when he died. And he used to describe it and proclaim it, rather than define it. Indeed, he usually maintained that it could not be defined in any short statement.

In the 1930s, he started by telling people about Christ. He would witness to anybody he met, with enthusiasm. This seemed to work well, until he picked up a hitchhiker he had led to Christ and found no lasting evidence of a new birth.

So, he developed the idea of follow-up, to establish his new believers in the faith.

By 1935, he was influencing many men, most of whom turned out not to be serious for God. At this time, also, he coined the name of The Navigators and adopted the motto “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”

He thus realized that he had to concentrate, to build more deeply into a few receptive men, in order to set them up spiritually for the long haul. So, he focused on a few “strong fellows.” The idea of man-to-man discipleship was born.

Daws looked for those who would get down to business with God. He spoke of “rugged soldiers of the cross,” men who had “an eye single to His glory.” He was looking for “a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (1 Samuel 10:26). He used to compare David’s thirty and three with Jesus’s twelve and three.

He prayed for men who were disciplined in their pursuit of God. Continuing discipline needs support, so Daws worked hard at developing materials. He realized that methods and materials would extend his ministry far beyond his own personal reach.

In 1937, at Long Beach, near Los Angeles, the Key Man System started to develop. Notebook materials were designed and high schoolers requested help.

In the years leading up to World War II, therefore, Daws moved:

  • from quantity to quality
  • from breadth to depth
  • from experiments to methods

Looking back in 1961, his successor, Lorne Sanny, spoke of the significant strengths in Daws’s life. One of the most important was the claiming of the promises of God, in prayer. Daws would sometimes declare, “I know that God has given me certain promises and I know He is going to fulfill them.” Lorne saw it as a key factor that Daws was disappointed in the men he found in Southern California who would readily give their testimonies, but had no prayer lives. Nor could he find helpers for his boys’ work. Thus, he began to recruit these men and get them engaged in regular methods of memory, Bible study, check charts, etc. He focused on recruiting men of caliber. That was where it was at the start of World War II.

Scripture Memory, of course, had been emphasized much earlier, as with Les Spencer in 1933.

During World War II the work spread to one thousand ships and bases and camps. Our strongest work was in Honolulu. Keeping up became harder and harder, for Daws. He even dreamed of using a plane as his mobile office!

The set of Daws’s heart and the disciplined atmosphere of military personnel came together nicely. One could say that his ministry was well contextualized. As on active service, there were systems and targets and inspections to keep one another on track, spiritually. There were written communications, personal visits, and mutual challenge.

Nav homes were well established (the first being in San Pedro in 1933), but their leaders had employment and could not spend individual time with every needy person. Bob Foster, in 1958, recalled the example of one Nav leader who had seventeen men living with him in 1946. They invested in intensive Bible Study and memory work, yet this did not produce many faithful men who were real disciples. There were too many people in whom to invest.

In 1945, Daws visited the work in Honolulu. It troubled him. He saw that all the key men were leading Bible classes: Nobody was zeroing in on personal training. He realized that we were reproducing Bible classes, not individuals in depth. The guest books for the Nav home in Honolulu eventually contained 25,000 signatures!

There was a problem: We usually lost momentum after the second or third generation, because the group became a substitute for individuals, and because there were too many sterile or immature people. So, Daws returned to Los Angeles and began to preach on producing reproducers.

At the end of the war, the Navs had to decide whether to close down, or to become merely a fellowship of men who were in civilian employment. The 1946 conference at Forest Home was a rallying point for continuing the ministry.

Meanwhile, also in 1946, the idea of reproducing men had taken practical shape, through a strong example. Lorne Sanny was in Seattle (from 1944) working with Charlie Riggs who soon had four generations of fruit. It was an exciting breakthrough.

The Big Dipper (see attachment link below), for Daws, illustrated a new emphasis on serving other agencies and church denominations. By encouraging Nav-trained people to spread out into the wider Body, we should see spiritual multiplication occur naturally. However, the results were mixed. Our reproducers seemed to lose their cutting edge, and it was hard to sustain a dual emphasis: pursuing our vision and giving men sacrificially to other works.

In his book Born to Reproduce, after all these years, we can still hear the urgency of Daws’s voice: “Men, where is your man? Women, where is your woman?”

In the letters that he wrote to Dick Hillis, Hubert Mitchell, and Dave Morken, he kept emphasizing the spread of the Gospel in that generation.1 He used three phrases: propagation, multiplication instead of addition, and making disciples.

On December 28, 1948, Roy Robertson sailed for China. Although it is true that most of our work outside the USA was to be carried forward in English for many years, yet we did not entirely ignore the local languages. Roy, for example, took with him a new translation of the Topical Memory System in Mandarin: He used to give his contacts a Chinese Bible and point them to references in his English Bible.

Then, Daws traveled around the world in 1948, to China, India, and Europe. Returning through Europe, he met Dutch believer Gien Karssen at a conference in Switzerland and enthusiastically called her our Lydia in Europe (Acts 16:11-15). Then to Paris, where he studied the stars from the roof of the King George V Hotel and came up with the illustration of The Big Dipper.

When he returned from his trip, Daws declared, “From now on, we are going to beat our own drums.”2

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the vision continued to mature in Daws’s heart. He continued to build on God’s unshakable promises.3

Personal man-to-man training, rather than correspondence courses, was the key to spiritual multiplication. Let’s review the Navigator Log that Daws wrote in May 1949. (See attachment 2, log 37, May 1949, at the end of this article. Notice on this first page these ingredients: promises, prayer, training, 2:2 principle, multiplication. Then, after speaking of China and India, notice the sentences that Daws writes at the foot of page 2: “What shall we do to meet these requests? To provide materials and methods is not the answer. They are simply tools. It’s the workman that counts.”)

Association with Billy Graham

Our close association with Billy Graham developed in the late 1940s. Daws joined his team in 1951, supported by Lorne and other Nav leaders, with a view in preparing counselors for the Graham Crusades. With our “other works” emphasis, we usually merely loaned individuals.

However, in the case of Billy Graham’s ministry, we deliberately invested our best people, including Daws and Lorne. Somehow, the Graham organization was different. They knew, clearly, that their work would be wasted if they did not secure follow-up and counselor training. So, there was a meeting of minds.

Looking back on our Crusade experience several years later, Lorne listed the benefits as he saw them:

  • The personal preparation of his own life.
  • The securing of Glen Eyrie, through Billy Graham’s help.
  • The emphasis on The Navigators, as a visible and contributory organization.
  • Relating to the Body and linking with key leaders.

Towards the end of Daws’s life, he began to see the need for a training center and for our own summer conference grounds. Hence, in 1953, the purchase of Glen Eyrie.

Daws was a man of ideas – whether his own or another’s idea. He had a compulsion to refine the ideas until they worked, and to get other people to apply them (Sanny, July 1959). He was a very creative and adaptable leader, an artist rather than an engineer. Yet, above all, he was a man who took God at His word and staked all he had on His promises.4

Dawson Trotman’s Promises from Isaiah

Seventeen years earlier, in 1932, Daws had begun to reach out in prayer to the nations. And he had begun to claim those classic promises in Isaiah which are so much a part of our heritage. (See link below to attachment 3: Classic Promises from Isaiah.)

By the 1950s, Daws was feeling the strain of all the requests flowing in for men to go overseas. Promises for the nations were bearing fruit. Yet, there were several disappointments. Our launch couple for India, for example, turned out not to be ready.

Lorne Sanny as President of The Navigators

When Lorne became president in 1956, we began to sharpen and to stabilize. For thirty years we were to be led by a master of clarity. It is not accidental that Lorne often declared his first responsibility as “to clarify, communicate, and maintain the purpose of The Navigators.”

In 1957, Lorne and Rod Sargent made a world tour. Our emphasis then was still on mass follow-up. For example: Germany, Japan, Kenya, and Taiwan. But, again, this was not producing laborers. So, we pulled out of Taiwan and ended our partnership with Overseas Crusades.

There was an increase in resignations after Lorne took over. Representatives fell from thirty-seven to twenty-six. By 1959, 35 percent of all Reps appointed had resigned.

In 1958, after being president for two years, Lorne spoke at the staff conference on Nav objectives. He affirmed that our overall objective was to glorify God, but that we had a unique purpose5 within the Body of Christ. It was:

  • To recruit and build men of maturity.
  • To focus on people, not programs.
  • To speed the multiplication process.

A few months earlier, in May 1957, Lorne declared that, “A man of vision sees before others see; he sees more than others see; he sees more clearly than others see.”

Lessons from these early years of Lorne’s presidency include:

  • Every generation needs to find its identity, both individually and collectively. Conflict arises when the existing leaders frustrate this process.
  • The cost of our identity crisis was high, but so was the fruit. It is needful to have a time of debate as to who we are; otherwise, one merely borrows an identity, and accumulates questions.
  • Context is important. The context in the USA was one of Christian success and youthful idealism. The Navigators evolved within American evangelical culture, including many who had come out of rural backgrounds and been exposed to the world in World War II.

There were many field innovations: first field training program (Nebraska, 1957); first one-day conference (Iowa, 1958); start of collegiate ministry (Lincoln, Leroy Eims, 1958); shift from big cities (Waldron Scott) to big dormitories (Leroy Eims); Eagle Lake Camps from 1957. Overseas expansion included Africa in 1956, Denmark, and Latin America in 1957, Canada in 1960, Middle East in 1960.

How did we stay on track and sustain our focus, when often criticized? For example, we were asked about our position on dispensationalism, on the millennium, on working with Billy Graham, etc. In 1962, Sanny’s advice was:

  • By giving an answer, you pick up more dust than by not having one.
  • Rather than take a position, let’s take the central things and carry them out.
  • Stand for inspiration, for example, but not for a certain theory of inspiration.

Overseas Policy Conference, 1961

Our Overseas Policy Conference (OPC) in 1961 was a watershed. It looked at the entire world outside the USA and brought focus to the varied streams of our work. (To review the conclusions of the OPC, see attachment 4 using the attachment link below.) Notice that:

  • The glory of God is no longer explicit, though His “objectives” are still deduced.
  • There is a high view of the centrality of local congregations.
  • The Navs are understood as clearly different from local congregations.
  • Producing reproducers is still central, but the objective during the 1960s will be to demonstrate this.

Demonstration had become essential. We had loaned leaders in the 1950s to other agencies, we had served the Graham organization sacrificially, we had lost some staff in the transition from Daws to Lorne. It was time to practice rather than to preach the vision.6

Leroy Eims said, “In the 1950s, we went around telling everybody how to do what we used to do, and in the 1960s, we decided to give ourselves to doing it again.”

The notes of this conference are a precious resource. They vividly reveal the daily thrust of debate. Each word was carefully weighed. For example, should we say “objective” or “primary objective.” Lorne eventually decided not to dilute the statement, so “primary” was dropped. A decade later, of course, it had appeared again, probably because we became ever more conscious of the fact that many Christians were not getting into the Word for themselves. Helping them do so, Lorne would later say, was one of our other aims.

The conference displayed a new sense of focus, of a committed community at work. However, it would be wrong to interpret this as a decision to withdraw from the Body. For Lorne, such a course was biblically unacceptable. He told the staff in 1962, “I believe that each Nav representative should be active in a local church and should contribute to the overall mission of the church,” and he explained that, “to have only a Nav vision is too narrow a vision.” Yet, the fact is that we did drop out of sight and lose contact with the Body.

Listen to Lorne in 1964:

How can we as a growing, worldwide work keep together in purpose and stay on target towards the particular goal God has given us? Not by the prescribed uniformity of a policy manual or procedure book, but by holding a common objective. I consider it my main responsibility to set, clarify and maintain this objective.

Initial Focus on International Expansion

At this time, we see stirrings of attention to future Navigators who would not be Americans. For example:

  • “We cannot continue to expand into all the countries of the world, from Glen Eyrie . . . We will have to produce reproducers in other nations to carry on. . . . The cultural aspect is a heavy factor. . . . Ten years from now, we will have to emphasize nationals, so these ten years should be to produce reproducers” (Waldron Scott, January 1961).
  • “It is no longer necessary for overseas nationals to be at international headquarters before receiving appointment as international staff” (OPC, June 1964).
Post-OPC Developments

For the next few years, the decisions of the 1961 OPC were refined and elaborated. “Reproducers” was altered to “laborers” to give a stronger connection to NT language, and “multiplying” was chosen as having more bite than “producing.” Another difficulty was that “producing reproducers” turned out to have too many different interpretations.

In 1966, Lorne published the remarkable eighteen-point exegesis of our objective (see attachment 5):

  • Point 7 is the first reference to “young men between the ages of eighteen and thirty,” a bias which would be resisted a decade later as we moved into community ministries. We had always gone first to young people, but now this was made explicit. Clarity!
  • Point 13 positions the objective as a four-generation statement, although this is somewhat buried in the text.
  • Point 18 emphasizes results and therefore prepared the way for Management by Objectives which, as Lorne said, “got us on track but nearly tore us apart.”

In spite of the long list of points, surprisingly, there is no direct reference to the nations.

Lorne continued to struggle to keep us from confusing the means and the end. At the Overseas Directors Conference in 1966, for example, he expressed his concern about such restrictive ideas as concentrating on the development of staff to the exclusion of an impact ministry. He felt that we could do both, based on our history. Also, we must do both, in order to attract the kind of men we want. Also, if we were planning an impact in 1984 onwards, we must be working towards this now. If he had to choose between the two, Lorne said, he would probably sacrifice organizational growth in order to make a broader impact in selected areas.

Lorne saw producing reproducers as the means, our true objective having to do with laborers of many kinds. However, as our planning became intentional and systematic, “full-time” ministry became a badge of effectiveness, conveying “forget the Mickey Mouse . . . sell the farm.”

Our “Primary Aim” and Increasing Multinational Diversity

By 1969, a Primary Aim was clearly stated (see attachment 6 using the link below) and held unchanged through 1973. It read: “To help fulfill Christ’s Great Commission by making disciples and developing disciple-makers in every nation.”

For a few years, we split this aim into making disciples and developing disciple-makers, because some staff argued that we were stretching the term “laborers” too far. This is why it is so carefully explored in the FOM.

It is interesting that the 1969 Divisional Directors Conference had a goal of “instituting a management by objectives program for the future,” and that, “We will work at establishing some clear measurable senior objectives for the overall Nav work . . .” (Stephens, 1969). A couple of comments on the 1969 statement:

  • The definition of “world” is quite advanced, for that period. It is “cultures, races, nationalities, languages.”
  • Observe that “we will be dependent on official Nav reps as the key to the strategy.”

Our Primary Aim, by 1970, was accepted enough to allow a ten-year corporate plan to be agreed for the 1980s (see attachment 7). This identified how we would pursue our Primary Aim during the decade. The objectives were tough, and it soon became clear that one cannot sustain a constant percentage increase across many years.

Notice the objective “build up a staff of eighty RDs.” Doug Sparks and Donald McGilchrist, in London, took this very seriously: The result was the first major study in which I collaborated with Doug, and which produced careful assumptions and projections as to how we would build up to eighty RDs. It was not too well received!

This was a period of remarkable conceptual dynamism and remarkable geographical expansion. We saw the highest sending rates ever. Marked by argument, creativity, confusion, frustration. In four short years, from May 1970 to August 1974, unified numerical global planning targets were introduced, amplified, extended, challenged, defended, and largely discarded.

Global objectives attempted to focus our effort, in response to the debate on “what is required of us.” By the mid-1970s, in contrast, the debate had largely shifted to “who are we?”

In 1973, all dates, rates, and ratios were removed. Instead of saying that we would carry our ministry into every nation of the world in the 1980s, we merely said that we would do so “as God enables” (see attachment 8 using the attachment link below).

Why was there this loss of confidence in our projections? The answer is the impact of Waldron Scott’s paper titled “A Strategy for the 70s.”

This strategy, produced by a team led by Scott, was far in advance of anything that we had yet produced globally, both in breadth and depth. Lorne had asked a simple question: How do we know which nations to enter during the 1980s? What Lorne received from Scott was an elaborate document that adopted some clear philosophical positions. For example, on the importance of multi-national teams and on the need for the wealthy countries to help the poorer countries financially.

From now on, the history of our strategic thinking for the fifteen years ending in 1984 is summarized in attachment 9 (use the attachment link below).

These years are very important, because they witnessed our struggle to lead through a strategy.

After the implications of Scott’s December 1972 strategy began to sink in, various leaders and field staff became increasingly restless with the implications. Here is Lorne writing to the staff in October 1974:

In 1973, we discovered that the staff worldwide was not comfortable with this (strategy). There was uneasiness about meeting goals which they had not set themselves. At our December 1973 meeting, we decided to set it aside and rebuild a complete world strategy by asking each country to come up with its own plan. These plans are now in and have been put together . . . by Walt Henrichsen and his staff into a composite representing the realistic desires for Nav works in thirty-two countries. . . . Now as our international leadership team comes together to plan, we have reached no conclusions in advance . . . our first concern will be to determine the proper balance between input from headquarters and from the field. Now that the work in so many countries is strong and growing, there can and should be more planning done at the national level. As a federation (sic) of national works united in identical goals and a single purpose, we need enough centralized guidance to maintain global priorities. . . . Once the roles of national and central influence have been established, we can function more smoothly as an international team.

You would see, if you were to look carefully in attachment 9, that global objectives were introduced in 1970, de-numbered in 1973, resurrected as imperatives in 1980, introduced again in 1983, and finally discarded in 1984.

It was now abundantly clear that, while there was a place for shared vision and values, we could no longer work with international objectives or with a unified global strategy. The work had become too diverse.

Our subject is our Calling, not our objectives. And, here, we did well in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1974, the directors agreed that we needed to take a new look at our philosophy of ministry, in order to put the right flesh on the bones of our Primary Aim. We saw at least two problems:

  • Research and experience told us that lay laborers were not laboring.
  • Our identity relative to local churches was questionable.

In April 1975, Lorne said that the fundamental premise is that we are committed to movement, that our expansion in the community has precipitated this, that we must locate the universals, that all impediments must be swept away, and that our unique contribution should emerge.

Meanwhile, the launch of the International Leadership Team in April 1975 was a radical change. Henceforth “each divisional director had two roles, as representing his division and as contributing to our global perspective.” The men began to see themselves no longer as Sanny’s assistants for particular divisions, but as coworkers with Sanny in reaching the world, under God.

So, Lorne began to work with Jim Petersen and others on what became The Fundamentals of the Navigator Ministry (FOM). What was intended? (See attachment 10, Lorne’s May 1976 “Dear Staff” letter, using the attachment link below.)

The FOM was published in 1978 and significantly upgraded in 1982. Yet, our Primary Aim remained the same from 1978 until the turn of the century. (See attachment 11, Primary Aim and Essentials, using the attachment link below.)

The FOM was taught in a new way. It was taught interactively by seminars in each part of the world, rather than by edicts and the preaching of our leaders. This was a more democratic approach and, indeed, the 1982 edition reflects input from many field staff on how things might be better presented or defined. Three comments:

  • The FOM symbolizes the top-down, bottom-up approach which we associate with Lorne. Previously, the statements of our Aim were usually top-down. The Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry (SRM) introduced in 1990 was largely bottom-up.
  • In each seminar, Lorne or Jim collected the recommendations of the staff, so that the text evolved progressively into the published 1978 version.
  • For example, Lorne pushed for “functioning disciples” because he wanted to recognize the place of gifts. To function is to use one’s gifts. Example: Dorcas in Acts 9. However, the staff resisted such broadness.

The core of the understanding of our ministry that was expressed in the FOM is captured in three short paragraphs that appear on page 21 of the 1982 edition. These are worth quoting:

Our ministry is not simply disciple-making. It is multiplying the number of those
who do the disciple-making. It is third generation discipling, that is, reproduction.

A Navigator ministry that does not do this is dead-ended, limited only to what the
Navigator can himself do.

When a person has produced disciples, he has reproduced himself as a disciple. He
has become a laborer. But, when a person has raised up a laborer, he has both
reproduced more disciples and himself as a laborer. This kind of reproduction
multiplies both the disciples and the laborers.

It is sometimes said that the FOM had an organizational bias. I do not agree. Rather, it had a practical bias. For example, the profiles were and are spiritual rather than organizational. They were intended to help us make progress.

In 1980, we held an international leadership conference, to which around 160 participants came from seventeen nationalities. This conference received and developed our new strategic global imperatives (see attachment 12, see attachment link below).

I would summarize Lorne’s contributions to the pursuit of our Calling as including:

  • Clarity, focus, and urgency
  • Stabilizing and uniting the staff
  • Legitimizing the contributions of those who have different gifts. Example: Though we have an apostolic bias, we are not all gifted as apostles, and we need to work in teams.
  • Placing emphasis upon the stewardship of our Calling.
  • Encouraging us to perseverance and faith.
Influence of the Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry

By 1987, under Jerry White’s leadership, our International Navigator Council (INC) was discussing whether to produce a third and shorter edition of the FOM. The INC notes say that we analyzed “the tensions inherent in global documents, the need to guard and teach our distinctives, the function and dangers of limits, the varying levels of relevance of our current FOM, the consciously organizational mindset of our current FOM, the essentiality of a common sense of identity and calling.” We desired unity, but were nervous of uniformity.

Two years later, FOM 3 had been retitled the Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry (SRM), and the Council now saw five purposes for the project:

  1. To help new generations move into leadership, with their own convictions.
  2. To facilitate rapid expansion, especially among the unchurched and the unreached.
  3. To work at developing new and appropriate ministry patterns.
  4. To define our own contribution and focus, as a society.
  5. To serve as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to instruct and direct us.

Attachment 13 (see link below) shows three charts that summarize our experience with the SRM. The one that is important here is “common themes.”

My opinion is that themes 2, 3, 4, and 5 clearly represent our traditional Calling, whereas theme 1 has always been present, but not usually as prominent. Themes 6 and 7 are relatively new.

More than forty countries worked through the SRM and held their forums. The IET received all their sphere statements and we judged a large majority to have been fruitful. A few did not work well, for specific reasons. There was a weakness of process7 in the USA, because of size and timing, but in general, we were well pleased.

The Enabling Global Society

Meanwhile, at the beginning of 1988, our council had formally adopted an international architecture which we called our Enabling Global Society (EGS). The characteristics of this society, as we then saw them emerging, are summarized in attachment 14 (see attachment link below).

There is a strong connection between the EGS and the SRM. The Global Society deliberately let go of central controls and formal policies that had previously governed the international relationship between our countries and their leaders. It freed us for broader ownership of the vision.

The SRM deliberately launched a vision-building period, in which country after country would construct their own pledge of allegiance to some foundational values and functions, surrounding a defined calling or sphere of service. It focused us for deeper commitment.

One could even say that the Global Society lengthened our cords and the SRM strengthened our stakes (Isaiah 54:2-3). Without the Global Society, the SRM would have lacked an enabling context. Without the SRM, the Global Society would have lacked a vibrant and locally owned purpose.

Four Phases of Developing Our Calling

In reviewing the development of our Calling until the early 1990s, it would seem that there were four broad phases as regards the principal means that we used:

  1. Preaching from the Center (Declare: 1940s and 1950s)
  2. Discussing/defining around the Center (Decide: 1960s)
  3. Gathering/synthesizing the views of our staff (Consult: 1970s)
  4. Encouraging local/national expressions (Decentralize: 1980s)

Another way of looking at this flow is to highlight two key events in the 1970s and two in the 1980s. Thus:

  1. A Strategy for the 1970s – by planning
  2. Fundamentals of our Ministry – by teaching
  3. Enabling Global Society – by releasing
  4. Scriptural Roots of our Ministry – by empowering

A third way is to summarize the phases in our international evolution since Lorne Sanny became president in 1953 (see attachment 15 using the attachment link below).

Finally, the question emerges as to whether an organization can have a calling (see attachment 16).

This article has taken us into the late 1990s after which the flow is traced in the article on “The Approach to The Core.”

Some   on Calling

  1. Calling impacts the heart more than the mind. Therefore, it is hard to define. We feel it, and we show it. This is why we have looked in recent years at our ethos or character or values, as a way of confirming the imprint of God upon our community. One of the launch pads for the FOM was a study on the ultimate character of The Navigators. Our character should reflect our Calling.
  2. Calling requires strategy. God’s Calling to Moses was typically simple. He did not spell out for Moses all the ramifications. Therefore, Moses needed to develop a strategy for handling the implications of his calling. In the ebb and flow of strategy, we sometimes lengthen the cords and sometimes strengthen the stakes. Example: In 1961, we needed to incarnate our vision, so as to demonstrate producing reproducers; strengthening the stakes, organizationally. Example: In the 1980s, we needed to recover our apostolic momentum, so we were led into a Global Society in which everybody carries responsibility for reaching into the nations; lengthening the cords, structurally.
  3. Calling is dependent upon us as leaders. If we do not hold high our Calling, it will fade and fall. It has to be expressed in our lives, in our words, and in our priorities. It is strong, because it comes from God, yet fragile because it is so easily ignored in favor of simpler things.
  4. Calling is precious. Without it, we are just another helpful organization doing Christian work. However, our calling is our ongoing assurance that the Lord of the harvest has a particular and vital place for us. We need this!
  5. Calling demands passion. Thus, we are recovering some of the apostolic mindset that Daws had, and have added the ingredient of teams. An apostolic team should be creative, pioneering, and aggressive. Not afraid to make mistakes! The SRM helped in this. It is no accident that many new countries were opened in the 1990s. We own with passion our Calling to the nations. As Lorne often said: We should bring vision, faith, and courage to directed effort.

Has our Calling evolved? Yes, but in richness more than in content. The central themes run clear and strong. Our understanding of it has certainly evolved.

By Donald McGilchrist

5940 Words

Attachments Link

See also articles on:
Five Milestones
Navigators Among the People of God
Overseas Policies: 1961
Overseas Directors Conference: 1966
Our Contributions: 1960s
The Nations
Global Planning: 1966-1975
Global Planning: 1976 –
Fundamentals of the Navigator Ministry
The Kingdom of God
International Leadership Conference: 1980
Our Enabling Global Society
The Scriptural Roots of our Ministry
Cross-cultural Missions
The CoMission
Materials & Communications
Ethos and Values
Six Critical Factors
Strategic International Statements: 1935 – 2002
The Approach to The Core


  1. Dick Hillis, Hubert Mitchell, David Morken, as well as Bob Pierce and Daws had cooperated in Youth for Christ evangelistic rallies. All of them spoke in China. Hillis, who was already serving under the China Inland Mission, set up the YFC meetings throughout China and arranged with Morken for Daws to come to China. Daws spoke in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengtu and other major cities on the importance of follow-up and the value of memorizing scripture. See Developing a Heart for Mission: Five Missionary Heroes by Roy Robertson, NavMedia, 2002.
  2. Source: OPC 1961, section 12, January 12, quoting Sanny.
  3. Daws, speaking expansively to the staff in 1953, projected a million men in ten years, and exclaimed that in another five years we would be able to reach all the population of the world over three years of age!
  4. Recordings of more than fifty of Daws’s messages on MP3 are available from our US Discipleship Library. Two of the most compelling are “The Need of the Hour” and “Born to Reproduce.”
  5. “The basic objective is to recruit, build and send men” (Lorne, April 1957).
  6. Warren Myers, OPC S19, page 2; “Our job is to produce reproducers personally, rather than to talk about it and challenge others to do it.”
  7. The US prepared their own edition titled SRM Version 2.1. It was simpler and offer more guidance than the original international edition.
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