Navigator and Glen Eyrie History Reading List

For more information on the history of The Navigators and Glen Eyrie, we recommend the following books: The Navigators Amazing Grace, Amazing Hope: The Navigators 75th Anniversary. Colorado Springs: Navigators, 2009. Downing, Jim. Living Legacy: Reflections on Dawson Trotman and Lorne Sanny. Colorado Springs, CO: DawsonMedia, 2007. Downing, Jim. The Other Side of Infamy: My Journey through […]

Materials and Communications, Pt. 2

Summary: This article picks up the story of our materials and communications in the early 1970s, when US NavPress was launched. It largely follows the development of NavPress and how it related to the parent US corporation until the end of Kent Wilson’s tenure as publisher in 2007. Contents NavPress in the 1970s NavPress Strategy […]

US Field Ministries 1960s

Summary: In large measure, the 1960s laid down the tracks on which our ministries would run for many years. It was a very fruitful period: Our US work saw many innovations accompanied by a relentless focus on spiritual laborers. We were organizing for expansion. Key Words Dawson Trotman, Lorne Sanny, Expansion, Mike Treneer, Waldron Scott, […]

The Topical Memory System

The Topical Memory System

The Topical Memory System is one of The Navigators’ most well-loved study methods. How did the TMS come to be? In 1926 Dawson Trotman came to faith in Christ through Scripture memory. One day on his way to work, a passage that he had memorized for a church contest flashed in his head: John 5:24 “Verily, […]



  One of the earliest forms of Navigator correspondence is V-mail. V-mail (short for “Victory Mail”) was a mail process used by the Unites States during WWII for secure and cost-effective communication with soldiers stationed around the world. In 1943 Dawson Trotman began utilizing this method of communication to pass along updates from the early […]

Materials and Communications: Pt. 1

Summary: This article explores our use of materials from the 1950s until the birth of US NavPress in 1975. It reviews our efforts to help people gain a solid grasp of the Scriptures and to support our ministries and objectives. The article addresses our overseas policy conference in 1961 because it was seminal in discerning […]

Navigators among Roman Catholics

Summary: This brief article charts the progress of our Catholic ministries from 1985 until such ministries in the US were separately established in 2012. Other countries have participated. Our ministries among Catholics continue to move forward. Contents Context and Beginnings, 1980s Rich Cleveland’s Foundational Influence Pursuing Wider Navigator Involvement among Catholics Catholic Ministries Outside the […]

Authority and Submission

Summary: The issue of authority is always with us because sin is always with us. Nonetheless, we live in an ordered universe where there is authority and submission to authority. Lorne Sanny taught a foundational series on this topic, during the 1970s. This article attempts to summarize much of his content, so that it is […]

Financing Foreigners

Summary: This article chronicles the extent of the exploratory discussions among our leaders, as the need to help those who were not Americans moved from theory to urgent practice. Again and again, specific cases challenged our general principles. Though circumstances within our partnership are so diverse, Navigators have largely avoided the evils of dependency and […]

Church Planting

Summary: We have always been committed to planting the seed of the Gospel among the nations so that it advances through spiritual generations of laborers living and discipling among the lost. We increasingly recognize the importance of families and relational networks in this process. This article compares our approach with what is often described as […]

Dawson and Lila Trotman’s Hospitality

After several temporary accommodations in the Los Angeles area, Dawson and Lila Trotman rented a house in Whittier, California. Daws noted, “I truly thank God for the little home that he has given Buddie and I in Whittier, for a place to serve him. The home is open to all—nothing hinders meeting oft to pray” […]

The Navigator Home

Summary: The Navigator Home was an early approach to ministry that was especially suited to life-to-life evangelism and discipleship, which was our characteristic emphasis. The desire of servicemen to experience the welcoming warmth of a civilian home supplied added impetus. Contents Origin of the Nav Home Strategic Vision for US and International Navigator Homes Functionality […]

Boards of Directors

Summary: This article traces the history of our parent board, with particular attention to Lorne Sanny’s principled resistance to but gradual acceptance of the degree of governance required by the board of a US corporation. Many other Nav countries have boards, ranging from nominal to directive, but their variety hinders useful generalizations. Contents Incorporation of […]


Summary: We began as a spreading movement upon which God’s blessing rested. Later, after World War II, our impetus to serve the family of God meant that we loaned some of our most gifted reproducers to other works, which in turn began to dilute the impact of our vision. So, we pulled back in order […]

The Six Critical Factors of a Multiplying Ministry

Summary: The “six critical factors” were developed during the early 1990s by several international leaders who compared and distilled their observations on what would best advance our ministries. The factors proved to be both enduring and flexible, when applied by local leaders. Consequently, the Gospel advanced. Contents Origins of the Six Critical Factors Early Adoption […]

International Associates

Summary: Navigators first called Missionary Associates and later became known as International Associates flourished throughout the 1980s. This designation served primarily to open a path for disciple-makers to serve cross-culturally without the requirements placed on International Trainees. Associates were not classified as staff. They secured employment in their professions and, usually, worked closely with our […]

Military Ministries

Summary: The Navigators ministered among the members of the US military in the late 1930s alongside our extensive work among teenagers. At the end of 1941, as the US entered World War II, ministry on ships and bases spread rapidly. We were stretched and God abundantly blessed. After World War II, so much changed. Thousands […]

International Leadership Conference 1980

Summary: This conference marked a pivotal point in our history. Having recognized that global planning from the center was no longer appropriate, we moved to a much more democratic approach by calling together many of our leaders from around the world. It was a radical shift in concept but proved to be only partially successful. […]

Global Planning 1976 –

Summary: This article picks up where “Global Planning 1966-1975” left off. It takes us through the adjustment phase of the mid-1970s after which we began to encounter stress prompted by the rapidity of our earlier expansion. Therefore, our international leadership conference in 1980 presented two faces: a welcome and fresh commitment to what was internationally […]

Our Enabling Global Society

Summary: The Navigator way of relating internationally, which we called the enabling Global Society, flowed from what we learned during the 1980s about how to best advance our ministries. This involved moving away from top-down delegating and moving toward releasing our leaders around the world to work as they saw best. We did this while […]

IHQ and USHQ Relationships

Summary: This article examines the years from the birth of our international headquarters at the end of 1974 until the appointment of Terry Taylor as US director in 1984. Four later concerns are listed at the end, but none was as widely and persistently contentious as the first traumatic period lasting for about six years […]

The CoMission

Summary: From 1992 through 1996, the US Navigators were powerful actors in a complex drama set against the extraordinary organizational and spiritual evolution of what had been the Soviet Union. The decision of the US Navigators to participate energetically in The CoMission generated both profound excitement and strong opposition within our movement. It tested the […]

The Allocation of Cross-Cultural Missionaries

Summary: Given our commitment to the nations, it is important to follow the thread of how we worked at prioritizing and placing our limited supply of new cross-cultural missionaries. This article traces our trend toward sharpening our criteria for new sending in the 1970s, followed by a broader emphasis on large ethno-religious blocs in 1982. […]

Overseas Training Corps 1965

Summary: In 1965, American and European Navigators teamed together in an innovative and successful summer program in Europe and the Middle East, during which more than three hundred young people trusted Christ as their Savior. This Overseas Training Corps made a permanent impression on many participants, some of whom later became Navigator missionaries. Contents A […]

International Students

Summary: This article traces why and when we began to invest in the numerous international students who come to the US. It also summarizes such ministries by other organizations and ends with notes on what we have done in other countries. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know […]

Apostolic Pioneering

Summary: In recent years, the extent and centrality of an apostolic function has been much debated within The Navigators. This has been a debate about biblical concepts, not merely vocabulary. In order to embrace various viewpoints, I have chosen “Apostolic Pioneering” as the title for this article even though some would argue that this mixes […]

Men and Women Partnering

Summary: Our history is complex, sometimes emotional. To generalize is to invite criticism. It was natural that our military flavor carried forward into the years after World War II. To the extent that resistance persisted to the fullness of ministry by women, it was cultural in some places and theological in others. Continuous debates on […]

Cross-Cultural Missions

Summary: From the beginning, Navigators have had the world on our hearts. Where should we focus and why? This article follows the increasing depth of our engagement with foreign cultures. Companion articles explore our understanding of the nations: our systems for allocating resources among competing cross-cultural needs, our emerging contextualization. Then, an article on “The […]

Youth Ministries

Summary: As this century began, we were privileged to minister among those not yet of college age in some twenty countries. This extensive segment of Navigator service had deep roots going back to Dawson Trotman’s energetic initiatives in the 1930s. Realizing that the childhood years are often when one’s moral compass is set and that, […]

Travel-Training Ministries

Summary: Our largest travelling ministry by far was among the Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe from the early 1970s until they opened to the West in the late 1980s. This article explores this strategic initiative. We chose the phrase “travel-training ministry” to capture our conviction that whatever the challenge is, our ministry was not simply […]

Transitioning Our Navigator Presidents

Summary: This article contrasts the simple process by which Lorne Sanny was appointed in 1956, upon the death of Dawson Trotman, with the much more sophisticated process that Lorne later developed with his team and that we used to select Jerry White in 1986. The essence of this process was often used later as a […]

Surge and Stress: Missions in the 1970s

Summary: The 1970s were a transitional period. We emerged with remarkable speed from the American sending program of the 1960s into an urgent challenge to our strongest “receiving” countries to join in becoming “sending” countries. Despite these efforts, it soon became clear that even within the US we were unable to sustain the level of […]

Structures in the 1970s

Summary: This article reviews the 1974 separation between our International HQ (IHQ) and our USHQ, though it is more concerned with our field structure, it explains the subsequent alignment of our divisional directors as a team committed to working with the president in forwarding our overall or global mission. The move away from Management by […]

Ministry Among Nurses II

Summary: There were two remarkably fruitful eras of our ministry among single women. First, the work among nurses in the US in the 1940s and 1950s, which has been well described in Dr. Bob Ridley’s article. Second was the work in London which spread out internationally from the late 1950s until the early 1980s. This […]

Lorne Sanny’s Role as President

Summary: This article opens a window into how Lorne saw his responsibilities and offers insight into his temperament and gifts. It is not an assessment, but an uncovering of how he felt from time to time about being President Contents Carrying the Weight of Leadership Clarifying Sanny’s Role Lorne’s Views on His Role in the […]

Directors’ Conference: 1951

Summary: This brief article consists of excerpts from the earliest directors’ conference, held on February 22-24, 1951 in San Francisco. It reveals how we were thinking about how best to minister outside the US, and the beginnings of our publicity within the US. Attention at the conference was given to servicemen Conference Participants Directors Dawson […]

The Kingdom of God

Summary: We see how we were broadly in line with the resurgent attention given to the kingdom among evangelicals, during the 1970s. This helped us establish our identity and legitimacy, as taught in our FOM seminars. Nevertheless, many Navigators did not internalize the profound implications of the kingdom until much later. We look at how […]

Fundamentals of Navigator Missions

Summary: This article traces our cross-cultural experience in developing our missions program from the aftermath of our 1972 Global Strategy until the introduction of our Fundamentals of Navigator Missions in 1998. It should be read alongside the other articles listed at the end. Occasional quotations from other sources are sprinkled throughout the article. The process described […]

Navigators among the People of God

Summary: This article traces Dawson Trotman’s strong commitment from 1948 to helping other works, stimulated by his close friendships; our turn to “demonstrating” in 1961; our increasing cooperation with local churches; our struggle to discover how best to implant our vision among those beyond our organization; the emergence of the 2:7 Series. Internationally, the article […]

Burgeoning Youth Ministries Almost Sink a Boat

In 1942, Navigators held camps for boys and for girls. The Big Bear Boys Camp used a Presbyterian Lodge, with participants “from grammar school through college age, assigned cabins and leaders according to age groups. . . . The whole camp being divided into the Polar Bears and the Grizzly Bears.” Harold Chrisman, Elroy Robinson, […]

Collegiate Ministries

Summary: The story of our work among students starts in the 1930s, but it became quiescent until ministry spread out from Northwestern College into other colleges in Minnesota’s Twin Cities in 1949. A lasting resurgence began in the Midwest from 1957, stimulated by LeRoy Eims and others. By this time, small collegiate ministries were surfacing in […]

A Pedestal of Influence: A History of the Development of the Navigator Nurses Work

by Robert L. Ridley, MD The nidus of Navigator nurses’ ministry began in the San Francisco Bay area of California, in 1942. Bill and Marge Goold arrived there that year, and started a Nav-sponsored Christian Nurses Fellowship (CNF). They called it “Nurses Martures Club,” and it consisted of five nurses from three Bay area hospitals. […]


Summary: This article is the second in a triad of articles: Nationalizing, Internationalizing, and Contextualizing. Having raised up staff to serve as nationals in their own countries, to what extent would they join in reaching and discipling those of other nations? This was our urgent hope as we worked towards what we called “sending countries.” […]


Summary: This article is the third in a triad: Nationalizing, Internationalizing, and Contextualizing. After recognizing the uniform approach of our early years, as we projected our American experience into other cultures—which was both natural and typical of that era—this article traces the acceptance of “contextualization” among evangelicals in the 1970s and 1980s. How did we […]


Summary: This article is the first in a triad of articles: Nationalizing, Internationalizing, and Contextualizing. It moves from the 1960s through the 1980s, giving particular attention to our early expectations in 1961 until we reach the maturing reflections of our leaders writing in 1986, some twenty-five years later. Contents Introduction Early American Cultural Influences Twentieth […]

Hay Loft Operas, Hootenannies, and Whing Dings

Hay Loft Operas, Hootenannies, and Whing Dings

We began to put on annual collegiate conferences at Glen Eyrie in 1957, when the target was “college and young business people with a special emphasis on collegiate.” The amount of “fun” with a Gospel purpose seems to have reached a peak during this period of cooperation between LeRoy Eims and Bob V. . . […]

College Student Demographics in the 1960s

Although many other Christian organizations started campus ministries before The Navigators, we officially did not become identified with collegiate ministry until the late 1950s. This may have been the result of Dawson Trotman’s devotion to his axiom: “Never do anything that someone else can or will do, when there is so much to be done […]

Navigator Growth During WWII

Excerpt from “A History of Our Calling” During World War II, the Navigator work spread to one thousand ships and bases and camps. Our strongest work was in Honolulu. Keeping up with the growth became harder and harder for Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators. He even dreamed of using a plane as his […]

Table of Contents

Use this Table of Contents for selecting “Worldwide Partnership” articles. Titles displayed in bold font have been published and are hyperlinked. Click on bold titles to go directly to the article. The remaining articles in the list will be added in coming months. The home page will display a summary of the most recently published […]

The Approach to The Core

Summary: This article is a companion to the article titled “A History of Our Calling.” Taken together, they tell the story of how we have sought to obey God’s leading through some seventy-five years. Although the Spirit of God chose to give us The Core in 2002, this article picks up the story in the […]

The Nations

Summary: This article discusses how we gradually developed an understanding of the scriptural terms describing the nations, and how this was then used internationally to assess our progress among peoples, languages, countries, and cities. These four facets were seen by us as concrete and accessible ways of approaching the general term “nation” (ethnos). The text […]

A History of Our Calling

Summary: This article spans the evolution of our Calling from the beginning until the Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry in the early 1990s. Attachments sample the documents in which we defined our sphere of service. The language changed but the root elements endured. God has held us accountable Contents Dawson Trotman’s Evolving Vision Lorne Sanny […]

Management by Objectives, 1968-1974

Summary: In 1961, our leaders committed to demonstrating that our vision “worked” through the multiplying of disciple-makers, “producing reproducers.” This led naturally to assessing our progress. Lorne Sanny was attracted to the emerging secular tool called Management by Objectives (MBO): It offered a disciplined approach and standards that should keep us on track. After all, […]

Short Reads

The “Short Reads” collection contains excerpts from articles in the Worldwide Partnership collection.

US Navigators

Articles and images in the “US Navigators” section explore the history of The Navigators in the United States.

Worldwide Partnership

“Worldwide Partnership” articles focus on the evolution of The Navigators from its US origins to become a cross-cultural movement in 115 countries.

Rod Sargent Photographs

Here is a small sample of the images that The Navigator Archives has of Rod Sargent. For more information or to use these images in a publication, presentation, or website, please contact The Navigator History Department.

The Navigators in WWII

The Navigators in WWII

Here are some images of several young Navigator men and women who were involved in the Second World War.  For more information on The Navigators involvement in WWII, please see our post In Love and War featured on this website.

Whing Ding

Whing Ding

In 1965 hundreds of young men gathered at Glen Eyrie for the famous Whing Ding.  The Great Hall at Glen Eyrie didn’t have enough space for all of the conference attendees so the Glen staff got a little bit creative with the seating arrangements, building scaffolding up to the ceiling! The 1965 Whing Ding remains […]

Jim Downing Images

Jim Downing Images

Here is a small sampling of the images that The Navigator Archives has of Jim Downing. To use these images in a presentation, publication, or on your own website, please contact The Navigator Archives and History Department for rights and use information.  

Dawson Trotman Images

Dawson Trotman Images

Here is a small sampling of the images that The Navigator History Department and Archives has of Dawson Trotman. To use these images in a publication, presentation, or on your own website please contact us.

History of the Glen Eyrie Carriage House

History of the Glen Eyrie Carriage House

by Susan Fletcher In 1871 General William Jackson Palmer began construction on his new home in a peaceful valley a few miles away from the fledging townsite of Colorado Springs.  His landscape architect John Blair named this new estate Glen Eyrie – Valley of the Eagle’s Nest.  The Stable (now known as the Carriage House) […]

The Biblical Importance of Remembering History

The Biblical Importance of Remembering History

by Susan Fletcher In Isaiah 46:9 the Lord commands, “Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have – incomparable, irreplaceable – From the very beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, […]

Born To Reproduce

Watch a short video about the early history of The Navigators and how Dawson Trotman became involved with The Billy Graham Crusades:

Via Affirmativa: The Way of Affirmation

Via Affirmativa: The Way of Affirmation

by Susan Fletcher   The movement that we now call Via Affirmativa began as a conversation among four friends at an Italian restaurant. In 2004 Donald McGilchrist, Gary Bradley, Eddie Broussard, and Jim Petersen met to talk about the connection between God’s beauty and the movement of the Gospel.  The friends wrestled with the narrow […]

In Love and War

In Love and War

By Susan Fletcher (To see a full-color version of this article, including maps and images, please see:  In Love and War Booklet) America and the Navigators, December 1941 In the mid-to-late 1930s, The Navigators were a small group of men and women working primarily in the Los Angeles area. Young sailors who desired to study […]

Clarifying Our Calling: 1960s

Summary: This article examines the work that Lorne Sanny led in the 1960s to strengthen our foundational understanding of what Navigators are called to do, culminating during the next decade in the Fundamentals of Nav Ministry. We look at how our thinking evolved, from 1961 to 1969, in both concepts and vocabulary Contents Lorne Sanny’s […]

Overseas Policy Conference 1961

Overseas Policy Conference 1961

Summary: This conference was historic because it was the first occasion on which Lorne Sanny called together the directors of our young ministries outside the US. We needed to take stock of how best to connect with other agencies and churches, and to distill the essence of the Navigator contribution to God’s purposes. Our five […]

Global Planning: 1966-1975

Summary: This is the first of two articles that explore our progress in global planning, carrying the story forward into the 1980s. Two overall trends are evident: First, planning deliberately moves to more local levels as we decentralized, and, second, the setting of numerical targets declined, especially after 1975. From 1982, strategic planning was largely […]

Navigator Enterprises

Navigator Enterprises

Summary: After noting our early ventures in the US in the 1940s, this article touches lightly on the evangelical history of missional enterprises and then moves into the awakening Navigator interest in such enterprises in the 1970s. To respond to restrictions on traditional missionaries, we moved broadly through three phases: cover stories, relevant employment, authentic […]

Early Navigator Businesses and Enterprises

Early Navigator Businesses and Enterprises

From the 1930s onward, Navigators have ministered alongside men and women in their daily workplace contexts. Indeed, during World War II, our main emphasis was among naval personnel on their ships. After World War II, almost all our contacts dispersed. Many of them enrolled in colleges and seminaries. The small nucleus that remained around Dawson […]

Ethos and Values

Summary: This article considers the sources that shape our shared experience as Navigators and the relational journeys that contribute to our Values. This article has many lists! Such an approach seems necessary to trace the evolution of our Values and thus to follow the various ways in which a deep Value such as our dependence […]

Fundamentals of the Navigator Ministry

Summary: The Fundamentals of Ministry (FOM) served as the basic guide to the scope and direction of our ministry for a decade, starting in 1978, though changing contexts tended to dilute its influence towards the end of this period. It was and is a remarkably lucid exposition of the particular path along which the Spirit […]

International Trainees

Summary: This article describes the early phases of short-term Navigator missions, beginning in 1962. Young short-term missionaries, usually single men and women, were first called “staff trainees” and later called “international trainees.” The article also documents what leaders saw as the benefits of the program for our cross-cultural work. Contents Beginnings IT Program Benefits New […]

Lorne Sanny’s Pursuit of Simplicity and Clarity

Lorne Sanny’s Pursuit of Simplicity and Clarity

In the early 1960s, Navigator leaders gave much attention to describing the Navigator mission and objectives. Less than a year after he became president of The Navigators, Lorne Sanny declared that “our basic objective is to recruit, build, and send men.” . . . During his thirty years as president, Lorne held to a strong […]

A Wounded Marine’s Passion for the Nations

A Wounded Marine’s Passion for the Nations

By Donald McGilchrist From as early as the extended days of prayer for the nations that Dawson Trotman undertook in 1931 in the hills above Loma Linda, California, Navigators had a vision for planting the Gospel in every country. World vision was the shorthand for reaching the nations—and it was preached with passion. One example […]

The Scriptural Roots of Our Ministry

Summary: The development of the Scriptural Roots of Ministry (SRM) in the late 1980s came ten years after the development of the Fundamentals of our Ministry, in a shift which illustrated an increasing sensitivity to contexts and a renewed commitment to discerning what the Spirit was calling us to be and to do. The SRM was […]

Developing Our Worldwide Partnership

Developing Our Worldwide Partnership

Over the years, The Navigators came to be called a Worldwide Partnership. This term is a powerful expression of our approach to international interdependence around a common calling, values, and vision. It is helpful to understand the history behind this idea of a Worldwide Partnership. Through the 1980s, as the Navigator work spread to more […]

Lorne Sanny’s Focus on People

Lorne Sanny’s Focus on People

Lorne Sanny became president of The Navigators in 1956. For thirty years, we were to be led by Lorne, a master of clarity. It is not accidental that Lorne often declared his first responsibility as “to clarify, communicate, and maintain the purpose of The Navigators.”   In 1958, after being president for two years, Lorne […]

How the Bible Mobilized Cross-Cultural Navigator Ministry

How the Bible Mobilized Cross-Cultural Navigator Ministry

Over a long process in the 1980s and 1990s, The Navigators conducted a study of the Scriptures that involved Navigators from around the world. It had an immense impact on our work, and reaffirmed the foundational importance of following the Bible, as opposed to popular trends. The study also helped us arrive at the biblical […]

Eight Ways the Kingdom of God Shaped The Navigators

Eight Ways the Kingdom of God Shaped The Navigators

Through the decades, Navigator leaders have pursued a deeper understanding of what the Scriptures say about the kingdom of God. During the process of drawing out what became The “Core” (Calling, Values, Vision), we were absorbing the paramount significance of the kingdom, in at least eight ways. These are briefly discussed below. The kingdom, as […]

Early International Youth Ministries

Early International Youth Ministries

As the Navigator movement spread throughout the US in the 1940s and 1950s, God also opened doors for our international youth ministries. By the late 1950s, we find several examples of energetic international Navigator high school ministries. Okinawa and Kenya are prominent. We teamed with Orient Crusades to minister in twenty-three of the public schools […]

Dawson Trotman’s Youth Ministries

Dawson Trotman’s Youth Ministries

Ministry among children and those not yet launched into adult life has always been part of the fabric of The Navigators. Soon after his conversion in 1926, Daws began to teach a Sunday school class of six boys in the church in Lomita, California. Through the challenges they presented he was forced to develop and […]

Searching for a Few Good Men

Searching for a Few Good Men

Dawson Trotman realized that he had to focus on and invest more deeply in a few receptive men in order to set them up spiritually for the long haul. So, he focused on a few “strong fellows.” The idea of man-to-man ministry was born.