Nav Night Message: The History and Vision of The Navigators

I love to teach. It really has become one of my favorite things to do. Usually at around this time of year I’ll be leading a Bible study for college students with the FSU Navigators, but not this semester due to the influx of new staff. So when I taught at the Navs’ weekly meeting on September 21 it was even more fun for me than usual. My topic was the history and vision of The Navigators ministry, something you’d think I’d know a lot about since I’ve been a Navigator in one capacity or another for over eight years. However, I needed to refresh my memory in order to teach about it. It turned out to be one of the most challenging topics I’ve ever taught in terms of preparation, but still a very enjoyable process.

You can listen to this message online by streaming it below, plus even more by me, other staff, and our student leaders on the FSU Navigators Podcast.

A Preparation Challenge

So why would this talk be so difficult to prepare? After all, it’s mostly just a bunch of stories, right? Surely it must be more difficult to piece together a message filled with Scripture. I thought the same thing as I began. But I completely underestimated the value of my concordance. You see, if I can’t quite put my finger on a passage in the Bible I’ll open up my concordance and through it will usually find the verse I was trying to find. But there is no concordance for Nav history. When I couldn’t remember a detail I wanted to mention in my talk I had to manually find it using less precise tools. Google was sometimes helpful, but much of what I was looking for was not available online, not even on The Navigators website. As a result, I ended up reading all of Living Legacy by Jim Downing and rereading most of Daws by Betty Lee Skinner.

What Will Inspire These Students?

I opened my talk by stating that my desire was for my words not to be construed as some type of “hero worship,” that the founders of The Navigators were just people like us who were taking steps of faith. My challenge and my hope was to find stories that would not only inform but inspire the students I was teaching. I wanted them to get a vision for how God could use anyone devoted to Him to do big things. Since I only had a short time to speak (I think I was given 30 minutes and took roughly 45, which is par for the course when I teach), I took care in choosing anecdotes and videos that I thought might accomplish this effort.

Below I’ve embedded the three short videos I showed.

Sources and Influences

Aside from the two books I’ve mentioned and the videos above, I also relied heavily on this page on the history of the Wheel Illustration on The Navigators website.

If anyone is wondering whether I cleverly invented the line “one death to live, no death to die” or if I stole it from someone else, I must confess that it is not my original creation. It’s a lyric from the song “Fully Yours” by the long-defunct band Dog Named David. Their album “Acoustic Canine” has been a favorite of mine since my friend Elijah gave it to me during my freshmen year of college.


This giveaway has ended. Thank you for your interest.

Daws: A Man Who Trusted God

When my old roommate Joe was moving out last February he gave me his copy of Daws (okay, I rescued it from the Goodwill pile). I already had my own copy, but I figured I’d be able to give it to someone else. I’ve decided to give it away right here on my blog. This giveaway is open to students who have been involved with The Navigators at FSU (note: even if you’ve only been checking the ministry out this semester that counts).

To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post (the original, not the Facebook Note) and mention at least one thing about The Navigators you’d like to know more about. That could be about its history or what it’s doing right now.

If you “Like” this post or tweet a link to it that will count as an extra entry (two extra if you do both). Buttons to “Like” and tweet are at the top and bottom of the post.

Get your comment in before noon on Sunday, October 3. I’ll get the book to the winner at Nav Night. Good luck!