Little did I know in the early 1980’s during my first semester at the University of South Carolina, that I was about to become a part of a radical movement started by Jesus Christ. Before His departure, Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples in all the nations. These few men imitated Christ and invested their lives into many other men and women, who in turn, were instructed and empowered to do the same with others (2 Timothy 2:2).
A couple of months into my freshman year, a hall mate introduced me to a man who said he was with “The Navigators.” My friend invited me to a Bible study that this man, Henry Clay, was going to start in his dorm room. Thinking that these “Navigators” might be a cult, I rarely attended the study.
But, Henry took an interest in me and invited me to lunch. Reluctantly, I agreed and to my surprise, I found out he was a Presbyterian! As we met each week, I discovered that he had a lot to say about how to grow in my relationship with Christ. That began a three to four year discipleship relationship with Henry. Through Henry’s investment into my life, I learned how to have a daily devotion time, about fervent prayer, a love for Bible study, how to share my life with others, a vision for the world, desire to be a man of integrity and to be a man who endures.
I remember one night, Henry invited me to pray with him for the campus on the top deck of an empty parking deck across from my dormitory. When we arrived, he proceeded to teach me by example how to pray vigorously for the salvation and spiritual growth of my friends and dorm mates. I was most impressed by how he took Scriptures he had committed to memory and used them to pray for God’s power to spread the Gospel of Christ all over the university.
Regarding being a man who endures
The Navigator students at USC met weekly to play volleyball at one of the university gyms. One afternoon while walking on campus with Henry, he started to give me a number of tips on how to improve my volleyball game. But, his instruction was not really about the game. Instead, his coaching was more about being a man who is alert to what is going on around him and who gives his all in whatever he pursues. Who would have thought that someone could use volleyball as a tool to make a disciple!
While every Christian has been impacted by the Gospel in some way via relationships, not everyone can trace back in detail these relationships. Yet, each Christian can commit himself to becoming the “spring water” from which a new line of growing disciples may flow. In whom are you investing your life?
Henry continues to be an encouragement to me, occasionally checking in with our family to see how we are doing. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Colorado Springs, CO, where Henry is serving with the Navigators as the Director of Staff Care and Development for Navision’s. He is also working with the Leader Development Network Team, traveling around the world teaching on leadership. The LDNT has a website full of free resources for discipleship available in both English and Spanish at http://www.resources4discipleship.com.