Q&A with Mike Jordahl

Q&A with Mike Jordahl


Mike Jordahl and his wife, Nancy, have served with The Navigators in Iowa, Kansas, New England and Colorado. Mike previously served for six years as the U.S. Collegiate Director for The Navigators. Today he serves on the Leadership Team of The Navigators 20s Mission and as the National Director of CityLife. Mike is passionate about empowering men and women in their 20s to live intentional and missional lives rooted in a vibrant relationship with God.

Q: When you look at practicing Christians’ main motivations for spiritual growth (to become more like Jesus) compared to non-practicing Christians (it’s important to improve/ grow in all things), how do you think these different motivations affect people’s pursuit of or prioritizing of discipleship? 01

In Psalm 27:4 David says, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” David was asking God to allow him to be in his presence. More than anything else, David said, he wanted to be with the Lord.

We can learn a lot from David’s focus. David did not say, “These many things I dabble at.” No, he was a man with focus and his focus was on desiring and being with the Lord.

Jesus said the same thing several times, including in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus wanted us to seek God’s kingdom above all else. This leads me to pray often for myself “Lord, help me seek your kingdom (your rule in me)—and to seek you yourself above all else.”

Some who profess faith in Christ have the erroneous belief that just because they went through a Christian ritual at some point, or because they had a season of truly seeking God, that they are “set for life.” Others think showing up at a church service once in a while is all they need. And some, in their pursuit of many things, miss out on the one big thing of truly following Jesus.

Helping non-practicing Christians yearn for and learn to cultivate a passion to know Christ is one of the biggest challenges facing the Body of Christ today. Hopefully, the research and findings in this book will help us all move forward in proactively accomplishing this task.

Q: Practicing Christians are, not surprisingly, much more likely to participate in any discipleship activity (such as Sunday school, Bible reading, or a mentor relationship). This seems to illustrate a real need for helping those Christians who are not currently attend- ing church to engage in these activities. How are The Navigators specifically poised and equipped to reach out to these Christians out- side the walls of the church? 02

We know the statistic – just about 20% of all adults in the U.S. attend any kind of church on a given weekend. A similar percentage of adults never attend a church. And then, there is the 60% in the middle – those who rarely or only occasionally participate in a church service.

What can we do to reach and disciple all these people? In John 1:14 we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (NIV). The Message says it more graphically, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

The New Testament reality is that God himself did not beckon people to meet him in a certain place. Instead, he became one of us! In essence, he came to us, became one of us and met us— with his message—on our turf.

This model of relational ministry is at the heart of The Navigators’ approach. Navigators go to and live among people right where they are: where they work, live, play and study.

NavNeighbors and Navs Workplace are just two examples of ministries that focus on empower-ing and equipping believers to reach out to and disciple others in the context of where they are. We find again and again that men and women who never or rarely go to a church are eager and willing to read the Bible, talk about God and begin to seek him on their own turf.

Perhaps the great challenge of our day is to equip believers everywhere to reach and disciple people in the good news of Christ in the living rooms, boardrooms, pool halls, street corners and happy hours of our culture.

Q: Why do you think it might be important to focus efforts on these non-practicing Christians? And what are some activities or places in which to do that? 03

Casual followers of Christ are nothing new. Jesus had a lot of them in his day. We recognize them as the “multitudes” or “crowds” in the Gospels. On the one hand, Jesus clearly welcomed these casual followers, declaring to them “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37).

On the other hand, Jesus consistently called these crowds to go beyond being his casual followers: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple’” (Luke 14:25).

Many new believers have a passion to live for Christ but they don’t always know what to do to live out that passion. Without help to grow as a disciple they slowly drift into the realm of casually or barely following Jesus.

What can we do to address this? Personal disciplemaking is essential if we are to see masses of casual followers of Christ become his committed followers.

Although I had a regular diet of church services and sermons, my faith didn’t noticeably deepen until Barry, a college senior involved with The Navigators, began to spend personal time with me. We did Bible study together, shared our faith with others and he began to help me practically live as a committed follower of Christ. He began to disciple me.

And, as friends of mine began to put their faith in Christ, Barry and others taught me how to personally disciple them. Churches will be well served to encourage mature followers of Christ to actively engage in sharing their faith with the people around them and in intentionally discipling new and casual believers.

Q: How might Navigators encourage or aid pastors in the discipleship work their churches are doing? 04

Many churches today have one or more Navigators sitting in their pews. These are laymen and laywomen who at some point in their lives were personally discipled to follow Christ and who received some level of training in how to reach out to and disciple others.

We repeatedly hear from these people that they are asked to serve in their local churches through jobs like teaching, ushering, taking care of babies, ministering to students and shut-ins and sitting on committees.

But they are rarely encouraged to use their Nav training by making time to reach out to their neighbors or co-workers with the gospel. And rarely are their outreach and disciplemaking efforts in their natural contexts celebrated by their pastor or local church.

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