Author • Teacher • Coach
It began fifty years ago.
I was on a mission when I started college in 1968. I had told God to shove off, my heroes were the radical left, my culture was defined by rock and roll, and I was madly in love with a girl named Peggy. Then I met Ed.
Ed lived across the hall from me in the freshman dorm. We bonded as friends around the shared challenges of college life. Only this friendship was different. Ed claimed to be a Christian. I had never known anyone my age who centered their life around their faith. Ed whet my appetite for Jesus.
Through reading the gospels and conversations with friends like Ed, the Lord lovingly drew me to Himself and I became a Christ-follower my sophomore year. I found a new hero in Jesus, a new culture in the body of Christ, and a new passion for loving God. Then Ed gave an invitation that altered the next fifty years of life.
While sitting in his dorm room, excitedly describing my new-found faith, Ed posed a question, “Want to meet in the study lounge tomorrow and read the Bible together?” This simple request from a friend to a friend ushered me into the life of the Great Commission — Jesus’s disciples help friends become disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
Ed and I spent hours together in that study lounge. He taught me how to pray, study the Bible, and share my faith. He invited me to a campus ministry called The Navigators.
I never felt like a project to Ed. He passed-on his faith in heart-to-heart ways and my life has never been the same. Loving God and giving my life to others became my new life mission. Ed showed me how to do this by coming alongside me. I was hooked on making disciples.
My mission became a vocation
My life mission to make disciples became a vocation after graduation. I joined The Navigators as a staff person in 1975. Since then, I’ve ministered to college students, graduate students, professors, dentists, physicians, and business leaders. Whatever the context and whoever the person, my passion is to come alongside people, helping them become a wholehearted follower of Jesus. These followers live on mission for Him where they live, work, or play. Then the church called.
The church phone call
“Bill, I heard that The Navigators are all about making disciples. Can you help our church become a disciplemaking church?” asked the pastor.
“You bet I can!” I replied.
That phone call happened over a decade ago. This simple request led me to join The Navigators Church Ministries. We help churches build disciplemaking cultures — moving disciplemaking from the margins to the mainstream, from a ministry of a few to the passion of many, from the domain of the professional to the everyday Christian. Our vision is for churches around the world to send an army of everyday disciplemakers to do the Great Commission where they live, work, or play.
Writing The Ways of the Alongsider
The church world presented a challenge. People in the church often assumed that making disciples was the ministry professional’s job. When regular Christians ventured into disciplemaking, it was a complicated program of Bible studies and topics. I made it my goal to de-professionalize and simplify disciplemaking.
First, a new name was needed. Since being a disciplemaker was either an unfamiliar term or an intimidating one, I used the word “alongsider.” An alongsider focuses on relationships and not programs. It invites many to be involved in the Great Commission not just the professional few.
Second, I decided to simplify the process. Alongsiders are everyday Christians who know how to build authentic relationships, help others read the Bible, ask questions, encourage application and accountability, and give affirmation. Simple practices that many can do. What’s the goal of these practices? We stick with people until they get it — until they become wholehearted followers of Jesus.
Lisa HarrisonElementary Reading Specialist and Woman’s Leader
I so enjoy using The Ways of the Alongsider. It encourages disciplemaking to be a natural part of life where we come alongside people, helping them move closer to Christ. God has used the book to build confidence in women’s lives, that they too can disciple others. In using this book with women, we found…
Joe ValentinoCampus Pastor, Upper Arlington Lutheran Church; Lytham Road Campus
How does a church change its culture to a place where disciplemaking is a way of life? Bill Mowry’s book “The Ways of the Alongsider” is helping us do this. The Ways of the Alongsider maps out an intentional guide for disciplemaking. The book teaches such simple tools as building authentic relationships, helping others love…
Teaching to build disciplemaking cultures
Disciplemaking must be more than the ministry of a few in a church. The mission of The Navigators Church Ministry is to build disciplemaking cultures. Disciplemaking cultures are marked by a shared language, shared values, a shared history or vision, and shared practices. Cultures outlast leaders and makes the mission of disciplemaking sustainable over time.
We invite church leaders into a relationship and a process to build a culture. The relationship is with a Navigator staff team. We model with church leaders how to disciple people in heart-to-heart ways. Our process moves a church from a leadership core of disciplemakers to building a culture of disciplemaking and releasing disciplemakers to impact a local community.
Aimee WorleyConnections Director
The Navigators did something different in their disciplemaking training. They led us back to our neighborhoods! Our church family has always had a heart for serving in our neighborhood but it was often limited to a one time, do good event. Now, since we’re making strides to build a disciplemaking culture, our outreach and service looks different….
Rev. Eric WatersSr. Pastor, St. John Lutheran Church
I’m excited about what God is doing through our partnership with Bill and The Navigators to build a disciplemaking church. We started small with a Discipleship Leadership Team, whom I led through The Ways of the Alongsider. Last September, each person on that team applied what they learned from the Alongsider by leading a discipleship…
Coaching to sustain the give and take of leadership
If you’re a leader you’ve probably experienced the “give and take” of leadership. You “give” your life away to many “takers.” Who is giving back to you? Cultures are nourished and sustained by godly leaders. Leadership development must not be taken for granted. The New Testament minimizes leadership competencies and majors on leadership character.
We offer a life-enriching coaching process to help leaders develop a personal life and ministry plan. Our goal is to help you be the leader that God wants you to be — a leader who serves from character and not the illusion of competencies. Our coaching is tailored to your schedule and needs and provides the accountability, application, and affirmation needed for growth and change.
For further information on coaching, contact Bill.
Fred BlackmanBusiness Owner and Church Leader
As an elder in my church and small business owner trying to manage a multitude of challenges, I prayerfully enlisted Bill’s help to coach me through the changes and challenges that I face as a leader. Bill has helped me not only with the day-to-day challenges of staying connected to Christ in a busy schedule…
Rev. Malcom DavisSenior Pastor, Cental College Presbyterian Church
Bill’s gifting is not only in helping leaders to understand the necessity and potential of creating a discipleship culture in the local church, it is a life coach – discipling leaders to greater faithfulness and fruitfulness in their calling as Christ followers. With Bill’s partnership, I am experiencing renewed passion for the work of the…
Sheriff Russ MartinDelaware County Sheriff, Executive Director PLI Global
Despite being a senior law enforcement executive, I knew I wanted to stay focused and finish strong in both my personal and professional life. Bill coached me through the process of determining my personal vision statement and priorities. As a result of our time together, and Bill’s mentorship, I’ve gained a richer insight into how…
Bill and Peggy Mowry live in Columbus, Ohio. Both are avid “yardeners” and Peggy is a certified Master Gardener. Bill and Peggy have two adult children, two special grandchildren (Ronin and Leo), and a coon hound named Ginger. They live on “Above and Beyond Acres” where they want to create a little place of beauty in a fallen world where people can reflect on the goodness of God.