Q&A with Lindy Black

Q&A with Lindy Black


Lindy Black has been on staff with the Navigators for 34 years. She currently serves as the Associate U.S. Director, with a focus on bringing support and leadership capacity to the U.S. Director, Doug Nuenke, and the three U.S. Field Directors. She also oversees staff development teams. Lindy has served as a member of the National Leadership Team since October 2010. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband of 37 years.

Q: In the research, people express a desire for one-on-one mentoring relationships—yet also admitted these relationships are hard to get into. How can Navigators help bridge this gap between mentors and those looking to be mentored? 01

Navigators are well equipped with tools to be used as needed. They in turn can help others develop toolboxes. Begin with a few areas—for example, how to help someone have motivation and a plan for a consistent quiet time over the next three months. And as a person grows in confidence, they can add more resources or tools. With time, you will be able to improvise or adapt to the needs of a particular person. As a mentor steps out in faith and offers what they have experienced, they can understand how to make practical discipleship reproducible.

A suggestion to those looking for mentors – ask yourself what you enjoy or have a real desire to grow in (for example, reading the Bible, sharing your faith, memorizing Scripture) and look for someone who is modeling in this area and invite them to help you further develop. Often we go to an area we are very weak and unmotivated and think this is where we need help. Most of us learn by doing. Doing with others who can share their lives multiplies the impact!

Q: What gets in the way of personal discipleship and disciple-making as a ministry activity?

When the goal becomes doing, we can quickly become self-focused. Discipleship is knowing and becoming like Christ—living in vibrant, fruitful relationship with him. What we do (personally or with others) is to be a means, not the end. We read the Scriptures to know him—not to make ourselves more acceptable to him. We pray to seek and know his heart—not to manipulate or impress the Lord. Even disciple-making can become a project or activity in and of itself rather than a privileged participation in the work of the Lord.

Q: In the research, leaders often express a need for discipleship to be organic and not programmatic. How do The Navigators take advantage of programs, systems and structures without getting tangled up or bogged down in them? 03

The strength of programs and systems is often in providing a beginning point and concrete steps to a greater end. The Navigators utilize time-tested programs like the Topical Memory System or the 2:7 series to incorporate spiritual disciplines and give mentors tools for discipling other. We have numerous Bible studies published through NavPress that give structure to digging in to the Word. Developing discipleship plans gives direction to enable intentional building into another person’s life. These are means to knowing Christ and making him known, and helping others do the same.

Q: What is helpful (and what is unhelpful) in the onboarding process for discipling relationships? 04

It’s important to define expectations. Sometimes people are looking for friendship more than intentional input, but they ask to be discipled. You need to clarify how often you will meet and why you will meet. It is usually good to set an initial timeframe (like two to three months) and then re-evaluate. It’s important to agree on how long your commitment is, how you will structure your time together and how long your meetings will last, as well as what you will prepare (or not prepare) ahead of time. It’s critical to ask and answer the question, “What do we hope to see from this relationship?”

Q: Aside from one-on-one mentoring relationships, what other types of relational discipling have you seen be effective? What has made them effective? 05

God uses friendships of many kinds to bring an “iron sharpening iron” effect. Smallgroup Bible studies and discussion groups provide the opportunity for peer learning, motivation and encouragement. Pairs, trios or groups meeting for prayer often open the door to experience God through others and to grow in faith. Doing life together with others in a like season of life and faith can bring support and mutual strength. Beginning a new ministry outreach with several others (where you live, work or play) can be a great stretching and learning opportunity that leads to wisdom and maturity in the work of the Kingdom.

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