Narrow Gate started almost 15 years ago as a seed of an idea: help young men discover a life that matters by helping them discover their identity and purpose. Our journey to where we are right now began with an offer to give two young men a place to crash for a few days. That seed, that kernel, that tiny step of faith has since grown into a mighty oak of transformation and discovery. Since that weekend in 2004, we’ve served more than 350 young men, impacting both their families and friends in the process. Because when real transformation happens in the heart of an individual, they can’t help but encourage change in everyone they encounter.
As this mighty oak that is Narrow Gate Lodge began to dig deep and grow strong roots, discipling more young men and growing a staff of passionate disciple-makers, the inevitable happened: another branch in our tree began to grow. Five years ago, what started as a way for our students to be taught how to be makers and craftsmen, turned into what today is known as Narrow Gate Trading Co. NGTC is a legitimate business that has employed more than 35 graduates and is helping us spread our mission and message to an audience we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
So let’s review: we’ve gone from a refuge for two young men to a discipleship program serving more than 350 students, to a business selling high-quality wood and leather goods. But God seems to just be getting started. In 2018, we watched Him open doors for Narrow Gate to impact the NATIONS through a new initiative: Narrow Gate Exchange. God put it on the heart of a man named Joe to introduce a man named Mike to a man named Bill Spencer. And the rest is Kingdom history. Through Narrow Gate Exchange, our little seed of a dream (helping young men discover lives that matter), will be and has been extended across the world to be fleshed out in wood shops in Uganda and jungles in Fiji. Sustainable businesses are being created and young men are being trained and given real hope for the future because of that tiny kernel of faith that was sown fourteen years ago.
One of the basic characteristics of any life form is growth. So if it looks like things are changing in the world of Narrow Gate, it’s because they are! And the reason things are changing is because we’re growing. What will never change is our mission and commitment to making disciples – in whatever environment the Lord calls us to. Whether that means making disciples under an elm tree in backwoods Tennessee, in a woodshop in Indiana, by a sawmill in Uganda, or on a dirt floor in Liberia. We are walking in obedience and faithfulness with the God who moves mountains, asking that He would advance His Kingdom through us – His willing vessels.
So what’s your kernel, your seed, your tiny hope or dream? Has God asked you to do something that doesn’t make sense to everyone else around you? Is He asking you to step out and trust that what He’s asking you to do today will all make sense when we’re looking back from the perspective of eternity? Bill and Stacy Spencer couldn’t have fathomed being where they are today the week that they let one young man crash at their house for a few days. So even though you can’t see the big picture, trust that this next step you know God is calling you to is worth the risk. We all know an oak tree doesn’t sprout in a day, so don’t be discouraged by meager beginnings. Don’t give up before you’ve even started because you’re not sure how it’s all going to work out. Trust the God who placed that seed in your heart, and sow it with the faith that He has a plan. Because if we are faithful to say “yes,” He is faithful to cause growth, transformation, and change like we never could have imagined.
Thank you for faithfully being a part of this Narrow Gate journey. We can’t wait to see what growth and change lie ahead.