By Mutua Mahiaini
The International Executive Team (IET) recently held meetings in the Asia-Pacific region, enabling us to come alongside Navigator leaders who are advancing the Gospel in that vast and diverse part of the world. The IET also spent two full days in prayer. God spoke to all of our hearts, encouraging us to constantly develop a culture of faith in our 108-nation Worldwide Partnership.
What do I mean by “culture of faith” and why is it so important?
A culture of faith only grows from one source: Jesus. It emerges and is sustained as people remain focused on Him, in constant worship, looking to His glory. I see this in Psalm 34:1-3, which says, "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together." A faith culture is not about the pursuit of mere human adventures, or even measurable ministry “success”; rather, it is about pursuing the glory of God as He leads us and as we live steadfastly according to His promises.
Faith inevitably leads to the meaningful adventure God has for us, and it produces eternal results. Faith injects freshness and creativity into our lives and work. Because the world is changing, and because each generation presents new challenges, faith spurs us to serve people in ways that might be quite different than what has been done in the past. Faith challenges us to be innovative, to take risks, to try new things—even if we happen to “fail.”
People of faith are so motived by the glory of God, His very nature, that they discover new pathways to make His glory known in a lost world. When we have passion for God and His glory, we will find a way forward, we will persevere, and we will work tenaciously with God to fulfill our callings. This is true for all Navigators, including missionary pioneers who open new ministries and local laborers who seek to reach their relatives and neighbors.
A culture of faith is also characterized by a spirit of hope. Hope can seem like an ethereal concept. But when God’s people live in faith, hope becomes something that other people can see and experience. Peter wrote, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Hope is so visible that people will come and ask us why we are so hopeful! As we revere Christ as Lord, hope is the natural byproduct.
Finally, a culture of faith brings people together in unity. In faith, believers in Christ are all focused on the same God. We are all submitting our lives to Jesus. Our collective humility before God reduces prideful tendencies that lead to conflict and division. Our Worldwide Partnership is incredibly diverse, but as we worship together in faith we experience increasing unity—even across cultures and languages.
A culture of faith—characterized by a passion for God’s glory in the world, powerful hope, and beautiful unity—is crucial for us as Navigators. Why is it so important? For one, faith is what God wants from us! Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God. And in Luke 18, Jesus asked a compelling question: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
The second reason why we must sustain a vibrant culture of faith is to prevent us from becoming an “empty shell,” an organization (or an individual) that just maintains traditions and lives on memories. A faith culture will keep us pressing onward toward the fulfilment of His purposes and glory in the world. We will be energized stewards of our Navigator vision for reaching the lost and advancing the Gospel through spiritual generations.
Mutua Mahiaini is the International President of The Navigators. Mutua and his wife, Stephanie, led our work in Kenya, then in Côte d’Ivoire, and then as Regional Director for Africa for 13 years. Mutua and Stephanie now live in Colorado Springs. They have four adult children.