(Un)Conventional leadership

Pete Kuehni
Pete Kuehni

The Navigators of Canada are people committed to the goal of “advancing the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations through spiritual generations of labourers living and discipling among all people.” Some of these people work for the Navigators as administrative staff, field staff, interns and associates. Others are closely involved with the Navigators but receive their income in more ‘conventional’ ways, making them conventional income persons, or CIPs.

Over the last several years, the Navigators have undergone a transition in perspective and focus. Our ability to fulfill the mission God has called us to hinges on the involvement of both staff and CIPs. To facilitate this involvement, our focus has had to shift from organization to movement – a group of people from all walks of life working together to advance the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom.

One such CIP is Pete Kuehni. Pete is the co-founder of DeliberateU, an organization dedicated to mentoring business professionals, and has also been a volunteer member of the Navigators’ National Movement Team.

Pete and his wife Cathy first encountered the Navigators when they were students at the University of Guelph. Luch and Rosetta Del Monte, the campus staff, were instrumental in discipling and mentoring them. Through Pete and Luch’s friendship, Pete says he “caught on to the idea of living my life in imitation of Jesus to impact the lives of others and bring hope where it was lacking.” As a result, he and Cathy joined the Guelph campus leadership team.

During their time on the campus team, Pete and Cathy faced the decision of whether to join the Navigators as staff or not. It eventually became clear that the answer was ‘no’; they needed to stay in the marketplace working with business professionals. Alan Andrews, the Canadian National Director in the late 80s, visited the Kuehnis and told them, “‘I need you guys to drop the formal request to come on staff. You need to continue to follow God’s leading and go where he’s taking you.’ Pete says Alan’s words gave them the freedom to still consider themselves as part of the Navigator community.

In staying where God has called them, Pete says they’ve come to the realization that “if there was no longer a Navigator organization in Canada anymore, we would still be doing the same thing because it’s what we’re called to do – to impact the lives of others and bring hope where it is lacking.”

The calling of the Navigators – to see spiritual generations of labourers living and discipling among all people – is happening through people like Pete, Cathy and many others, whether they’re staff or CIPs. Transitioning into a movement-focused community provides increasing collaboration and connectedness. It helps create a greater sense of partnership among everyone involved – as men and women, committed to living and discipling among all people – bring the love of Jesus into every aspect of life, wherever God has planted them.

Are staff needed? Absolutely. CIPs too? Without a doubt. Both are needed to provide leadership so we can keep moving forward. Staff provide focus, vision, expertise while walking alongside CIPs and others. CIPs provide grassroots connections, relevant expertise and relational networks. “We must stay frontline,” Pete says, “and we must stay tied to the movement of God through families and relational networks. We need to be attuned to that and be watching, as an organization, where God is at work so we’re flexible and agile enough to move with what God is doing.”

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