An excerpt from Daws: A Man Who Trusted God
“You have a New Testament tonight, gang, because the apostles believed in follow-up. Paul’s letters were follow-up letters – Corinthians – Thessalonians, the first book written. I found twenty-four places that indicate Paul felt responsible to follow up the Thessalonians. Why didn’t I see it before? Nobody told me. That’s why a lot of us don’t see anything. Everything we know of the Bible is what somebody told us was in it instead of what we have searched out ourselves.”
The crisp air of the June night carried the scent of pine and spruce into the big tent auditorium at Hume Lake. Daws gripped the front of the lectern, seeming ready to spring at his audience. “Did Peter believe in follow-up? Hah, he’d better; he had a special message on it from the Lord Himself. `Peter, do you love Me?’ `Yes.’ `Feed My lambs. Do you love Me?’ `Yes.’ `Feed My sheep. Do you love Me?’ `Yes.’ `Feed My sheep.’ And Peter got the message. Whether or not it was agapao or phileo – the point of His message was to feed the sheep.
“When Paul wrote to the Colossians, was he satisfied for just a few in the church to be out and out for Him? Christ in you, the hope of glory-that’s for every believer. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we way present every man perfect in Christ. Where does damage to the church come? Not from outside, but from those in the church who are not bringing glory to His name. That’s what we preach now: every man a victorious Christian, every man a producing Christian. God isn’t glorified in raised hands, but in lives trained and taught the Word of God. . . . And that’s the responsibility of the spiritual parent.”
Daws liked to illustrate from nature this responsibility to feed, protect, and train the young. “Why does a hen hatch only fifteen chicks? Why does a bird hatch only four eggs at most instead of a dozen? Because it keeps both parents busy bringing ing enough worms to feed four hungry mouths. And those little birds are protected and fed constantly until the day when they are pushed out of the nest and learn to fly off and find their own food. That’s normal. Here’s a hen in the chickyard taking her little brood around and scratching for them and uncovering nice worms for them to eat. And pretty soon they see how she did it, and they start scratchin’ up worms for themselves. And that hen that is selfish by nature will stand back and cluck to show her chicks where the food is instead of gobbling it up herself. That’s normal: the parental instinct to provide for the young.”
The mood of the 1949 Navigators Conference was expectant. The 165 choice men, including a few key high schoolers from the clubs, showed seriousness of purpose that made them a stimulating audience; they seemed to sense anew their own strategic importance to the Great Commission. Later in Los Angeles, the six-week Navigators Seminar enrolled thirty-seven men and seven girls invited for indoctrination in New Testament ment “Navigator” principles long neglected in the church but now stirring the consciousness of Christian leaders here and there.
Dawson had hit the ground running on return from China last year, his job clarified in the Big Dipper illustration and urgent requests received from missionaries and pastors in almost every place for “a man to teach us these things.” In December he sent Roy Robertson as the first Nav representative overseas to help Dick Hillis establish follow-up in parts of China and train a few men as quickly as possible before the impending Communist takeover forced missionaries out. Robertson had only five months to work before Shanghai fell, but he prudently arranged for the Topical Memory Systemn’s distribution from four centers across China and stayed to train seven men in 2 Timothy 2:2 methods designed to carry on person to person even when no church meetings were allowed.
Mitchell, faithfully training his four men in Calcutta, was waiting for the Navigator God would send to help in India. In the May 1949 issue of the Log, the first in almost three years, Dawson wrote:
About 17 years ago we began to ask our Heavenly Father, as did the Lord Jesus, to give us the heathen for our inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for our possession. Not long afterward we were permitted to start the Navigators work, reaching men from every state in the Union. Some of these men have gone . . . a host of them are preparing paring to go. In the last two or three years we have specialized in certain phases of work God has given us to do, so in addition to providing manpower to established missions for regular missionary and translation work, we are training chosen key men who will go to foreign countries as representatives for The Navigators.
These men, he said, would impart and demonstrate the multiplication idea as they worked alongside missions and national churches, supplying the emphasis of working with individuals to supplement group and mass ministries. They would seek to change the pattern of missionary practice by eventually making themselves unnecessary.
Noting calls from twenty countries for Navigator materials and methods, Daws explained that these would be ineffective without men trained to use them. Robertson was the first man sent out and more must follow soon. “I’m glad we’re under way in China now, even though it is late,” Daws wrote to Rohrer. “A delay of one year means that seven years later we have accomplished only six years’ work. And we haven’t lost the first year, but the seventh, which could be crucial.”
He had regained his balance and confidence briefly lost in the 1945 ordeal and could now boldly present multiplication as a missing link in world missions, key to “reaching the greatest number of people in the most effective way in the shortest possible time.” He hit it hard in this summer’s conferences and seminar. “I believe now this mimeographed letter and the whispering campaign it set off in 1945 was Satan’s first attempt to stop this thing we were teaching: follow-up and the 2 Timothy thy 2:2 principle. I believe he saw we were coming close to the very key to carrying out the commission of Jesus Christ and put on his main attack to try to destroy the work.
“In the early days of The Navigators we spent lots of time with one man. Then the war brought hundreds of contacts in on us and everything was Bible classes; we lost sight of the necessity of man-to-man training in making disciples. Then in Honolulu I found Navigators teaching forty Bible classes a week. I should have rejoiced, but I didn’t. I said `Fellows, something’s missing.’ And we began to see it. The word I used was producing reproducers. It was just the gray dawn beginning to appear. . . . and the day I left Honolulu this attack came that threw even some leaders off balance who had begun to see this principle. For almost a year the work suffered.
“So we’ve been emphasizing man-to-man about three and a half years – spending lots of time with one man. Also the need to teach a man that no matter what else he does, he should ask God for an Isaac, a Timothy who will be faithful to reproduce duce a man who will in turn be a reproducer.
“Now let me warn you, fellows, Satan tries to corrupt any truth or make you misuse or get it out of balance. And because man-to-man is effective, don’t start thinking it’s the only ministry. try. One fellow in this room wouldn’t go to a Youth For Christ meeting where I was speaking because he didn’t believe in mass meetings – even though the very fellow who taught him man-to-man was speaking at a mass meeting. Now that’s going out of balance. Even if you do major in man-to-man, group work is tremendously important. You can have precious fellowship in a group that you can’t have just one with another. And there’s a challenge in seeing others down to business and hear them sing the praises of the Lord. What a big thrill it was when I first heard 3000 young people at Christian Endeavor convention sing `Since Jesus Came Into My Heart’! I felt I was in heaven hearing 3000 voices united in praise to the Lord.
“A group also gives balance to your life and keeps you from being just one man’s disciple. Members of the group rub off on one another as each contributes something different. This may be one reason the Lord commands us in Hebrews 10:25 not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. So it’s obeying the Lord, and we have plenty of examples of this in Scripture.
“One thing about group ministry is that it redeems the time. If I can put a point over to twenty of you at once, it’s a timesaver, saver, isn’t it? Right now in this group I’ve got your attention. Some of you may be glad your neighbor is getting this message and some may be hurt because I’m drivin’ too straight in your direction – but I do have your attention. Later when I work with you I can start from here and build on what you already know. So it’s redeeming the time.
“Now let it be clear that man-to-man is not the same as the 2:2 ministry. By 2:2 we mean continuing propagation – any chalk around?” He placed the blackboard where all could see it. “Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others also. Joel to the old men, your children, their children, another generation, in Joel 1:3. They were concerned that the chain not be broken. And when we work with a man we’re concerned to know what he does with his man. And it takes time and patience, seeing the work go on to third and fourth generations. If this man is being reached, I can die in peace. Because you cannot see this man reached” – stabbing a bony finger at the fourth man in line – “without knowing your man passed on the idea to faithful men able to teach. It’s the system God inaugurated at the beginning, creating every living thing with the seed within itself for propagation. And when through the Gospel He makes a new creation, He fully intends him to be self-propagating. The entire world was populated as a result of God’s command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply; it makes sense that if Christians would be fruitful and multiply the entire world could be evangelized.
“So the 2:2 principle as we refer to it is the Christian reproducing after his kind, and man-to-man is more the idea of father and son, parental nurturing and training up in the faith. They are interwoven. Man-to-man is basic to the 2:2 ministry but won’t reach the uttermost part of the earth; 2:2 will. And I hope none of you fellows will be satisfied until you see your great-grandchildren in the Lord. It’s a goal every one of you could aim at. I’m no longer concerned about accomplishing a lot for God. If I can see my great-great-great-grandchildren strong, in the Word, reproducers, that’s all I want.
“When I visited Sanny in Seattle he introduced me to ten men, one of them Charlie Riggs. Charlie had caught this vision and was spending time with nine fellows, one of them George Clark. Clark worked with eight men and one was Bostrom. Bostrom had four, one of them Leierer. You saw them at Hume Lake last year, all going on and producing. We counted back on one chain and it averaged six months from the time a man started until he began to work with his man. If we extended that figure so that at the end of each six months each man took on a new man to help, in a year there’d be four, in two years there’d be sixteen. And in fifteen and a half years we’d reach the world – we’d have over two billion!
“Where are we now on this basis? I don’t know, and I don’t care. The question isn’t how many we have but how strong, how virile, how pure, right? This method loons slow and it is, at first. After it gets going there’ll be the numbers. Suppose you decided to make your whole ministry personal work, winning souls day in, day out all your life. If you won say three a day or 100 a month, that’s 1200 a year – in fifteen years you’d have 18,000. Or suppose you were an evangelist and held the biggest meetings America has ever known, getting 1000 decisions for Christ in a three-week campaign. If you could hold twelve campaigns a year you’d have 12,000 decisions or 180,000 at the end of fifteen years. You’d go down in history, wouldn’t you? But this way, through multiplication, it would be 2,174,000,000.
“But please, don’t use this six months’ deal on a mechanical basis – it’ll get us in Dutch. This is only an idea, a blueprint, showing what would happen, and we have a few examples. We don’t say 2:2 is reaching a guy in six months and getting him to get another. It may take five years to get his first man – or he may get him in three months. So lay off trying to keep score. It takes more than six months to bring a spiritual child to maturity, and it takes help from the grandparents. Don’t push your babes or contacts out to get more contacts and get a weak, anemic heritage – does that make sense? We don’t want any high-powered reports of great-great-grandchildren, so don’t worry. Just pray – believing – and wait God’s time. Obey God. He gives the harvest.”
The seminar, characterized by experiment, was counted a success. Time between classes and discussions was filled with team projects, enjoyable fellowship, and merciless critiques. At the end it was clear that next summer’s seminar would be different. But the caliber and response of the young men and women only spurred Dawson to expect a greater session next year at Hume where the lodge would be ready to use, away from telephones and other distractions of the city.
Betty Skinner. Daws: A Man Who Trusted God (LifeChange) (Kindle Locations 3608-3645). Kindle Edition.