Last year was an odd sort of year for the Navigators at UCR. Each year up until that point, we had seen pretty decent growth in numbers (not that numbers matter), but for some reason, last year we only had a few newcomers join us. At the time, I remember wondering, “God, did we do something wrong?”
God is faithful and good. I can only describe last year as truly a deepening year, where each of our students developed deeper roots and firmer foundations in their faith in Jesus. Those who began wobbly are now rock stars. Those who were already firm, firmed up even more.
Not only that, but it was a unifying year for our ministry. The students are no longer acquaintances, but brothers and sisters in Jesus. Brothers and sisters who serve one another, love one another, call each other out on sin, redirect one another, pray for and with one another….it is a gift to us as “spiritual parents” to witness!
This deepening led us to the formation of our first student leadership team. This core group of students have shown dedication to their walk with Jesus, and a heart to serve and love on others, in addition to a heart to reach out to those who do not know Jesus. They live and breathe with the heartbeat of Christ.
We are endlessly and beyond blessed by these amazing students. God has been so faithful and good to us. As I sat in our very first student leadership meeting, I was reminded of when RJ and I first moved here two years ago. At that time, we could barely get five students out to our weekly dinners. In fact, during our first quarter, even two would have been a stretch! But to be so blessed as to have God allow us to see the fruits of our labor is indescribable. It brings tears of joy to my eyes.
I truly believe that after a year of deepening, these students are ready to go out for a year of widening! They are ready to disciple, they are ready to lead Bible studies of their own, they are ready to pursue those who do not know Jesus…our man-power has tripled from spring quarter until now! Already, these students have been faithful in calling back freshmen, in organizing events, in meeting and caring for freshmen, and it is only the second week of classes. They are doing our work for us! And we believe that God is going to reach to the ends of campus and to the nations through these students and the students who these students disciple. And we are excited to be a part of that.
God’s hand is moving at UCR in mighty and deepening and widening ways. It is an exciting time to be a part of this ministry!