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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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:

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 […]

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 […]

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.