The demographics of university fascinate me. Though to a first year student it seems like graduation is a lifetime away, the 4-5 years fly by. Only 6 years ago I was a first year, excitedly joining The Navigators’ ministry.
The Navigators immediately felt like home to me. It was a place where I belonged, where both my silly and serious sides were welcome. The people I met and the things I learned were great stabilizing forces during my university experience. One of my hopes with my internship is to ensure that the Navigator community is a welcoming place for our current generation of students. The Navigator community was (and still is) a huge gift to my life. I want to share that gift.
The first and second year students when I graduated are now in third and fourth year. And though they’ve been replaced by some new students, there haven’t been nearly as many. We need to be careful not to place too much confidence in numbers. After all, Jesus invested primarily in 12 random guys. But still, the trend was worrisome. The reality of student ministry is that people leave when they’re done with the world of academia. Without new people, the community dissolves quite quickly.
The Navigators is all about spiritual generations. We want to invest in individuals and help them experience the transforming love of Jesus. But it doesn’t stop there! We want to empower these people to step out in faith and invest into the life of someone else. The Gospel was made to expand and bear fruit. As I’ve spent time discipling some of the older students, my hope is that they would share what they’re learning with younger students. Question is: Where are these younger students?
Before this year started, we were praying that God would provide us with more first and second years. He has answered in a powerful way. We have had many younger students get involved already…and more are joining in! It really feels like God is up to something amazing. Some first years are contacting us out of the blue, eager to get connected. Others are meeting older students and responding to their invitations. A decent number of these new students are relatives or friends of people involved with The Navigators in past years.
That is such a beautiful picture of generational impact. God transformed their sibling/parent/friend through the Navigator community. These transformed individuals blessed our new first years and now they’re here. I am trusting that God will reveal himself to this generation, using them to shine a bright light for others.