This article appears in the Fall 2023 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.
Many young athletes find their way through the hardships of life by pouring themselves into sports. We constantly train, push, get knocked down, fight to get back up and strive to improve. Back in my high school days, sports were indeed my idol. I'd asked the Lord into my life early that first year, but I attended church infrequently, preferring to pour myself into athletics–motivated by cheers, rankings and accolades.
For me, as for many, the competition, coaches and camaraderie from sports offered validation and a sense of purpose. These were the spaces where I felt seen and heard, where life seemed to make sense, and I could begin to believe and even dare to dream of a future. At the same time, I struggled under the crippling weight of enduring the present on the way to unfulfilled dreams and longings.
I was in that place when I sustained a significant injury to my leg during my junior year that left me with an uncertain future. The doctor said I would need surgery, would likely never run again, and would probably walk with a permanent limp. My world suddenly felt suffocatingly small. I cried out to God in desperation, pleading for miraculous healing. After receiving such a grim prognosis, my dad gratefully sought a second opinion. This time the X-rays revealed something very different—supernaturally different. My leg remained painfully swollen from thigh to ankle, but I was discharged on a regimen of Motrin and ice baths to the glory of a merciful God!
To this day, I have no idea what happened, but I discovered that God is not only real, but He is actively engaged. The Lord met me in that dark place, providing hope. I've committed the entirety of my life to serving Him and leading others to become His disciples and disciple-makers.
Know that you, being part of God's Kingdom, are also a Kingdom leader. As Kingdom leaders today, and for such a time as this, we need to persevere with a Kingdom perspective for our God-given purpose.
We are part of God's disciple-making team! We are leading in the season between the resurrection and Jesus' promised return to establish the new Jerusalem. We are called to persevere in this period between the now and the not yet, leading and living in counter-cultural, Kingdom-cultural ways despite what we see, think or feel. God has"The Lord met me in that dark place, providing hope."
-Marvin Campbell shown me repeatedly across many years that He is greater than any adversity.
Adversity is the training ground for our leadership. It renews our perspective on what is most important. It grounds us in reality, both physically and spiritually. Most of Paul's addresses in the book of Acts are about bringing perspective to non-believers yet Acts 20 reflects a message specifically to an entirely Christian audience: Christian leaders. In Acts 20:18, Paul begins his coaching session by reminding the leaders how he lived among them as an example of how to minister. He's not boasting; he is providing the necessary context. Paul offers perspective on what these leaders have experienced and what they will experience.
Jesus commissioned Paul to preach the Gospel and plant Gospel communities. Paul obeyed at all costs—through many tears, experiencing physical abuse, imprisonment and continuous opposition. Still, Paul persevered because he had a new long-term perspective: a Kingdom perspective. God's promises that we cling to and bring to those we lead are our stewardship of the Gospel. Perseverance is always rooted in this perspective.
A Kingdom leader must also act with a clear purpose. This goal informs our perspective, fueling our perseverance to endure for the promised victory. God has established His purpose for us. We join the Abrahamic covenant as beneficiaries and ambassadors of God's promise to bless ALL nations!
God has a plan and a purpose for us all. We have entered a new era: a calling into greater Holy Spirit dependence and much bigger faith in a BIG God. These years should challenge us to pursue unprecedented impact as we engage, equip and employ multitudes of everyday, Jesus-loving, Word-living disciples and disciple-makers! It is not enough to be a cheering spectator on the sidelines. We are critical in the game. We long to see the glory of God increasingly showing up everywhere.
Prayer: Lord, as Kingdom leaders, direct, coach and move us on the mission field with perseverance through Kingdom perspective for Your purpose and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bio: Marvin Campbell came to faith his freshman year of high school. He met The Navigators in 1985 at the U.S. Naval Academy when a Navigator student invited Marvin to read the Bible with him. Since beginning volunteer work with The Navigators in 1994, and joining staff full-time in 2002, Marvin has served in various leadership roles in Military, Neighbors, Collegiate, 20s, Workplace, Cities, and Field ministries. He was selected to be The Navigators U.S. President in 2021. The Navigators is a ministry partner of FCA.