From Students To Navigator Student Staff

Critical life choices are usually never made in an instant but sometimes there’s a sense you will be doing that very thing one day.  So, when the dream opportunity presents itself, you just know it’s right.  For Ben and Dee, it had been 14 years of preparation with a strong sense from God that one day they would be moving from conventional income roles to a faith ministry and last month it became a reality.

They met through The Navigators in their university days before Ben worked as an Engineer and Dee as a teacher. Ben completed an internship with The Navigators in those students’ days and now they have both come full circle from students to Navigator student staff with the clear goal of reaching university students with the gospel.

Why did you say yes to joining The Navigators staff team?

“I have always wanted to be obedient to Christ no matter what His calling or cost; discernment was always going to be the tricky but most essential part of the process. God has graciously given us complete and unwavering confidence in His leading into these roles. We are absolutely and primarily responding to God’s calling and do so with real joy because of the desire He has placed in us, not simply out of ambivalent obedience.”  Ben

“We are all in.” This is Dee’s motto. “We always felt like we would be in ministry one day, but this specific year it felt very clear. But just actually the “where” – that has taken a lot of prayer.”  Dee

What most excites you about student work?

“The opportunity to train and equip students in discipleship for four years of their life and then send them out across New Zealand and the world to have impact for Christ’s Kingdom.” Ben

“For me, it is the light bulb moments as people truly understand grace and then seeing them re-prioritise Jesus. It is like they see the fog clear in their life.” Dee

How can we best support you both in your work?

“The support we have had so far has been amazing! We are so grateful for that. People who are partnering financially with us, a number without us even asking, has provided such encouragement. It has been a real endorsement in the work we are doing.” Ben

“We have even had two people from our church offer babysitting to free us up to participate in the student bible studies one night a week. In fact, if we had a few others available to help in this way we could set up a roster and spread the load across more people. Little offers like that really help.” Dee

Ben and Dee Burnell joined The Navigators staff team at the start of February and are working to disciple students at Canterbury University and invest in graduates. Ben will also continue to co-lead The Navigators Christchurch City team. They are also passionate that their kids have an opportunity to contribute alongside them as they journey as a family in this work. If you wish to get involved in supporting them in prayer, in financial partnership or in a practical ways like babysitting or sending a simple encouragement, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].