Igniting a Movement of Disciple-makers
Mar 20, 2014
AFAM Congress on Discipleship inspires and equips ethnic Navigator ministries.
This year’s African American (AFAM) Congress on Discipleship brought more than 400 Navigators and local believers together for equipping, worship, and networking. Held in Cleveland, Ohio, this Navigator AFAM Network-sponsored event was open to anyone with a heart for discipleship in the African-American community. The general AFAM Congress was held March 6-8, while the AFAM Collegiate Congress held student-specific sessions March 7-9. College students from 16 schools attended.
Participants followed one of five tracks—marketplace ministry, racial reconciliation, urban discipleship, military discipleship, and effective discipleship in the urban church. Workshops covered subjects ranging from sexual purity to building bridges between cultures. Keynote speakers included Wheaton College associate professor Dr. Vincent Bacote, Philadelphia pastor Bishop C. Milton Grannum, Cleveland pastor Reverend Kevin James, and AFAM Network National Director Richard Berry.
Richard, one of the original pioneers of the AFAM Network, says he was encouraged to see attendees both inside and outside The Navigators excited to invest in discipleship within their communities and churches.
“A substantial number of Navigator staff attended and committed themselves to coaching and following up those who attended,” Richard says.
Co-Conference Director Janeen Davis watched months of preparation and prayer bear amazing fruit as the three days unfolded.
“I left the conference feeling that the AFAM Network added many new family members,” Janeen says. “It felt like home being around everyone. There was so much love and celebration! I loved that people from all ethnicities came with the spirit of teachability and humility.”
Mike Rodgers attended to represent NavMissions, and to start a conversation about how AFAM and NavMissions might partner to advance the Gospel in our global culture. Mike served in Brazil for eight years, and is acutely aware of how much listening and learning is required when ministering cross-culturally.
“I grew up in a very white northern suburb, and I currently live in a very white town,” Mike says. “I miss the way that interacting with people of other cultures changes me, reveals new aspects of God to me, and helps me become more like Jesus.”
Robert Daniels, an African American Collegiate Nav Associate at the University of North Texas, found great encouragement in the exciting growth of the AFAM Network.
“Having been at the AFAM Congress in Harlem six years ago, the biggest thing I took away this year was the evidence of generations and multiplication,” Robert says. “I was richly impacted by guys like [Associate U.S. Director] Eddie Broussard, [Field Director] Marvin Campbell, and Bishop Grannum in Harlem, and to be on the platform myself this year, sharing the love of God with students, gripped my heart.”
The Navigators Senior Vice President and Associate U.S. Director Eddie Broussard says he is thrilled by the increase in organizational collaboration with the AFAM Network.
“Momentum is building, especially in partnerships with the Navigator Missions,” Eddie says. “This is a place where staff and the students they are reaching can come and be charged with vision.”
Field Director Marvin Campbell echoes this excitement.
“This was the best-attended ethnic conference to date by the National Leadership Team, Mission leaders, and headquarters personnel,” Marvin says. “This sends a wonderful message of shared ownership! There remains a rich legacy, heritage, and fruitfulness among AFAM Navigators, that with moderate investment and significant intentionality could reproduce itself relatively quickly.”
Strategy and stats aside, for many participants, this conference was a refreshing and simple reminder that diversity displays the heart of God.
“I believe that each culture uniquely reflects aspects of God that are not as clearly reflected by other cultures,” Mike says. “I felt I saw God in new ways at the AFAM Congress.”