January 2015

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.

Encouraged by One Another

By Chris Treneer

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It has been a privilege to partner with Mike through these years that he has led the Navigator Worldwide Partnership. We have had the blessing of knowing and serving amazing and dedicated people in many parts of the world—hearing their faith stories and meeting the people they serve, sometimes in very difficult situations.

I have been especially encouraged by the quality and number of women who are co-laborers in our Navigator movement. Many of them are wives and mothers, juggling the demands of family life as they pour out their lives for the Gospel. I think of two women in particular whose commitment to Christ has challenged and blessed me and whose stories illustrate the faith and courage I have seen in many places in the Navigator work around the world.

Grace and her husband are Navigator leaders in an African country. The last time I was in their country, Grace and her young-adult daughter drove many miles on difficult roads to see me. They brought with them a widow and her daughter. The widow’s husband had recently been fatally shot in front of them because of his witness for Christ. I listened to them share their continued desire to show the love of Christ to others, even in the midst of such danger and heartache. I am so thankful for Grace and the way she and her husband are pouring out their lives to care for and disciple people like those two.

Then there is Susan. In the 1980s, she and her husband pioneered the Navigator ministry in Malawi, in southern Africa, and then served the U.S. Collegiate ministry. Later, they moved to a small, needy country in central Asia. Susan and her husband learned a difficult language and won the hearts of the local people. Having established a team and the beginnings of the Navigator work there, they have now taken up the challenge of leading the Navigator ministries throughout Eurasia.

It is an amazing privilege to serve and encourage women like these.

Encouragement is essential. In 1 Samuel 23:16, we read that when David was in great difficulty, fleeing from Saul, Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. I have prayed to be a person like Jonathan, helping and encouraging others in such a way that they find strength in God through prayer, face-to-face visits, emails, and text messages.

I have also been encouraged in times of need by many others in our Navigator work. For example, I have appreciated the opportunity to share what I am learning from the Bible with groups in many contexts. But it is not easy for me to speak to groups. I will never forget how nervous I was before speaking at a U.S. Navigator women’s conference in San Diego, and the way friends ministered to me by praying before I spoke.

There have been pressures and demands, which have felt exhausting. But the Lord has given strength, grace, and wisdom as He promises. I have grown in trusting Him.

A significant source of strength and encouragement for me has been time in the Word and in prayer with Mike’s team. I’ve been impressed by the care taken by the International Executive Team (IET) to ensure that their leadership is aligned with the Word. At times we have wrestled with difficult and complex issues together, but always we come to the Bible to seek the Lord’s mind for each situation.

Mike and the IET have also given me the flexibility I need to contribute fully to our work while also serving my family. This has been particularly important when grandchildren in the U.S. and England were born, and so that I could support our daughter, Anna, in our granddaughter Claire’s battle with leukemia. It is wonderful to feel the support of the worldwide Navigator family as I have sought to be the wife, mother, and grandmother that God wants me to be. It is profound to know that many are praying for me and are reaching out to encourage me, just as I have tried to encourage them.

A good summary verse would be Paul’s experience with the believers in Rome. Paul writes, ". . . that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith."    

Chris Treneer co-labors with her husband, International President Mike Treneer. Chris served with Mike in Kenya for 16 years, after which time Mike led the European work. They have lived in Colorado Springs since 2005, when Mike became International President.

Esther Waruiru: Moving into New Ministry

By Mike Treneer

 Esther Waruiru

Esther Waruiru

International Vice President Esther Waruiru stepped off the International Executive Team (IET) at the end of December 2014. She has served on the IET since 2005. Her transition has been prayerfully planned for some time. Esther will continue to serve our Worldwide Partnership as an IET Associate, focusing primarily on coaching leaders and teaching the Scriptures in different parts of the world.

Esther has made a hugely important contribution as part of the IET. Her depth in the Scriptures, her infectious love for God, her passionate commitment to our Navigator Calling, Vision and Values, and her natural strategic sense of how our Calling should guide decisions, combine to make her a valued counselor and coach for many Navigator leaders. Her perspective as a woman and African, with many years of grass roots Navigator ministry and leadership experience, as well as theological training, have uniquely qualified her to contribute to the leadership of our Worldwide Partnership. 

Among her many leadership roles over the last 10 years, Esther has led and integrated peer learning communities of Navigator leaders from the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Canada. She helped form the North America Region, which included the formal opening of the Navigator ministry in the Caribbean. And she served the Africa Regional Team as they wrestled to see the greater advance of the Gospel in that region.

Please pray for the Lord to guide Esther and give her wisdom and strength for her next phase of ministry.