70 Years of Lifelong Labourers

Lifelong Servants of Jesus continue to ‘Set the Pace’ for Generations Yet to Come

Allan and Maureen Goulstone certainly fit the description of ‘lifelong labourers’. They’ve served on The Navigators’ staff for fifty-two years, and their involvement with The Navigators spans sixty-five years—and counting. Wherever they are and whomever they are among, they seek to bring the good news of Jesus.

After initial contact with The Navigators through Eric Wilson in 1958, The Navigators invited them to join the staff in 1969. Allan gave up a secure and stable teaching position and had a young family. They served first with students and administration, then shifted into the community ministry, taking The Navigators 2:7 church discipleship series across the country and within Asia. Their primary focus was training pastors and leaders to use the material. Because the people they ministered to were living in various parts of New Zealand, they spent considerable time travelling to visit and encourage them in their faith. Even now, having retired from staff, they continue to support the ministry in prayer, and as they are able, to reach out to people in their retirement village.

Portrait of Allan and Maureen

“True Navigators, Allan and Maureen Goulstone are motivated in their fledgling community ministry by two things – the commands and promises of God and seeing God changing people,” is a snippet from a Navigators newsletter from 1978 that highlights their shift to community ministry. Through ongoing faithfulness to the Scriptures, prayer, and people, they have established   fruitful followers of God.

One couple they influenced is Ray and Margaret, retired farmers who are now working with Gideons. Ray and Margaret’s faith stemmed from Ray’s brother, Peter, who became a Christian through The Navigators ministry at Lincoln University in the 1970s. Peter shared Christ with his family shortly before he died in a plane crash just months after participating in a Navigators Summer Conference at which he attended a prayer seminar led by Allan. After this, Allan and others began praying for Ray and Margaret’s salvation. Allan and Maureen met Ray and Margaret early in their faith. They began to disciple the couple, travelling to their farm to meet over weekends. They continued these visits and Bible studies for many years.

Throughout their lives, Allan and Maureen have had a faithful, ongoing input into the lives of individuals and couples. After decades of investment in people, they say, “Looking back, we discover people from our ministries who have had, and still have, the hand of God on their lives and are discipling in their contexts all over New Zealand.”

As he reflects on lifelong labouring, Allan says, “We are all builders in God’s Kingdom. I am like a builder who, wielding his hammer on a construction site, finds nails that need attention and gives them a whack. Others are doing the main building work, and I am a helper in the process. We have not been leaders in the work—just part of the team, helping where we can. As long as God gives us strength, we plan to stay with lifelong labouring.”

Lifelong Labouring: Keys to Keep Going

A few Navigators have shared about the practices that have enabled them to persist in lifelong labouring. Unsurprisingly, they are simple and reproducible.

  • Basics – Maintaining a regular quiet time and time in the Bible, prayer, and Scripture memory is key. Lifelong labourers persevere in these practices.
  • Teaming – We’ve got to do this together. Meeting with  others to study the Bible and being with other labourers encourages us to continue.
  • Mentoring – Lifelong labourers are also lifelong learners.  Learning from others ahead of us can show us the way forward. Who are you serving? Who might serve you?

Lynton Brocklehurst summarises it well: “(it’s about) life-on-life, getting alongside people, being totally committed to Jesus, willingness to serve, keeping the gospel pure.”

BASICS, TEAMING, AND MENTORING… Why not take a moment with the Lord and ask if these areas still mark your life as you walk with and serve Jesus.