Q & A with Jane Sheppard
Let’s get to know another one of our new Ministry Apprentices. This time from our Melbourne Labouring Community.
How did you come to be with Navigators?
As a young adult I had asked God to provide me with a godly woman who could be a spiritual mentor to me. After persevering 20 years in prayer, I was blessed to connect with a sister in the Lord in April 2021 who was also a long-term labourer with Navigators.
The natural and sincere way that Fran [Johnson] connected with me and cared for my spiritual wellbeing was unique and deeply enriching. It came at a time when I needed the close nurture of a ‘spiritual mother’ after my husband’s death in 2020. Indeed, the Lord’s timing is perfect – His ways are not my ways.
How have Navigators helped you grow and develop your vision?
Being in close community with other like-minded disciples has greatly encouraged how I am seeking God’s guidance for a vision to serve Him. I have a burden and passion to serve in my local community, in particular, the vulnerable, young people and the nations represented within them to know Jesus Christ – His hope and His salvation. Serving solo in ministry is a lonely activity. We need the encouragement of the saints around us – those who can spur us on to love and good works, and to labour with us in the harvest (Hebrews 10:24). During this year I have seen how the Lord brings His disciples together to support each other in these things. I can see how there is much joy as we serve in interdependent relationships in the body of Christ in advancing the gospel.
What are you praying God will do during your time as an apprentice and in the future?
It occurred to me recently how much as believers in Christ we yearn for Christian friendship. It is the kind of friendship shared between those who know that they are disciples of Jesus, and who also share a heart for making disciples. These friendships have been rare in my Christian experience.
Being welcomed into the Navigators community through the apprenticeship is like being welcomed into a family who grows together intentionally, helping one another ‘to know Christ, and make Him known.’ I have deeply valued the opportunities to develop and grow in my understanding of what it looks like to be part of a body of disciples making disciples. God is stretching and challenging my spiritual disciplines and how I engage with people to help them abide in Jesus, to grow fruit-bearing lives, and know the joy of life-long obedience to Christ (John 15:4-11). I pray that my heart will be grounded afresh on these foundational principles of Christian living so that I may be able to take up my cross daily (Luke 14:27) and run with confidence and endurance the race set before me (Hebrews 12:1-2).