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What we learned at BaseCamp West 2017

by Jeff Yao - posted Monday May 15, 2017

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Hey everyone,

I got back from The Navigators’ BaseCamp week on Friday (May 5) and it was awesome!

I met lots of new people, went on some great hikes and learned a lot of things. Paul [Tan] asked me to share some of what we learned, which you’ll find below.

But before I start, let me warn you: there was a lot to take in and I don’t think my mind has fully figured everything out yet. As a result, my writing might be long and convoluted so bear with me as you read along.

(Speaking of bears, some people staying at the hostel saw a grizzly bear pass by. Unfortunately, I was not there to witness this majestic display of nature’s beauty but I did see the video a heroic Navigator staff took of the event.)

During the week, one of the things we learned about was the Navigator Wheel.

What is the Navigator Wheel?

Picture a wheel with four spokes.

Jesus is at the centre of the wheel, with Prayer, Scripture, Fellowship and Outreach written on each spoke. The idea is that in everything we do, Jesus is at the centre of our lives.

The four spokes are aspects of our lives and relationship with Jesus. Prayer and scripture are about communication: we pray to converse with God and Scripture is the word of God. Our relationship with God flows outward to other people through the other two spokes: in fellowship, we spur each other on and encourage one another to grow closer to God. In outreach, we share Jesus with others in the hope they will enter into a relationship with Him as well.

With that said, one of the first things we focused on was Jesus at the centre. Following Jesus requires us to view Him as king and put our trust in Him. We also need to obey His words, because Jesus tells us the wise man listens to His words and obeys them 

In addition, God wants 100 per cent of us. Are we completely surrendered to Him?

One of our speakers, Luch Del Monte, threw this neat thought out: if we’re giving Jesus our 90%, it’s 10% too short.

Being a balcony person

Luch also presented some ideas on discipleship and led us through some of the themes in Acts.
One of these ideas is a “balcony person”. An example of a balcony person is Barnabas. Balcony people come alongside and build you up, encouraging you and filling up your spirit. They are encouragers and they have vision – they see beyond the surface of a person’s life.

We considered questions like: "In fellowship together, how can we learn to be balcony people like Barnabas?" and "How can we be people who encourage others?"

We also discussed how discipleship involves action, not only words. We looked at being sent together, how God invites us to carry out His purpose, together with others, to bring healing and forgiveness to the world.

God calls us to be who we are right where we are. No matter what we’re doing or where we are in life, God invites us to be a part of His plan.

God promised Abraham he would bless the world through him and his descendants. Although we may not be direct descendants of Abraham, through Jesus we are heirs of this promise. We are invited to act, even if what we are doing seems small. The parable of the mustard seed reminds us God will make it grow. We need to keep scattering seeds because we don’t know which ones will grow. The seed we think is the most likely to succeed might fail to sprout, while the seed we least expect to grow might blossom.

Prepared to act

I also learned the importance of being prepared from Robert Koop, a Navigator staff at the University of Saskatchewan. He talked about how God calls us to live differently from the world. In doing so, other people may start to wonder about us. We need to be ready to answer the questions they have for us. This can open the door to conversations where different views may be presented. The one asking may not be ready to accept Jesus yet, and that’s okay. We need to keep them in prayer and keep the door open. If we shut the door on them, what kind of message are we sending them about God?

One of my personal observations from the week is that it is a lot easier for me to recognize areas where I could improve, but not as easy to improve these areas. Often, when I’m listening to a sermon or a speaker, it is easy for me to slip into a “spiritual high” that disappears when I stand up and step back into the real world. It’s hard to keep up the motivation to keep improving, but I suppose this is where we could each use a balcony person like Barnabas to keep us going.

These are some of the things I found interesting during BaseCamp. Wherever we find ourselves in life, I hope we can all keep Jesus at the center of it all.

Jeff Yao is a first-year science student at the University of Alberta and part of the Navigator campus group. He was one of the participants at this year's BaseCamp West discipleship training week at Castle Mountain in Banff. He has plans to pursue an education degree after his undergraduate to become a high school science teacher. He likes reading, telling stories, music, writing rhymes, drawing, Lego and playing video games.