The Beginning of a Worldwide Discipling Movement

The Navigators was founded in 1933 by Dawson Trotman. As a result of mentoring United States Navy sailor Lester Spencer aboard USS West Virginia, 135 additional Sailors on Spencer’s ship became Christians before it was sunk at Pearl Harbor. By the end of World War II, thousands of men on ships and bases around the world were learning the principles of Christian discipleship.

The collegiate chapter of the Navigators was founded in 1951 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The organization was established by a group of students, who along with Trotman, decided to spread the organization onto the college campus. The collegiate organization of the Navigators has since spread to over fifty different campuses in the US and many more worldwide.

Since WWII, The Navigators has grown into a worldwide organization with representatives in most countries.

Dawson Trotman (right), founder of The Navigators, with evangelist Billy Graham

The Navigators in Singapore

Roy’s team. L-R: Philip Tan, Selene Chew, Phyllis Robertson, Roy Robertson, Han Su Kim, Tom Lee, Richard Soo and Jim Chew (photographer)

In 1949, Roy Robertson was sent to China as the first Navigator Missionary. From China, he brought the gospel and the disciple-making distinctives of The Navigators to various countries in Asia. Roy and his wife Phyllis arrived in Singapore on August 27, 1962.

Roy set out one Sunday to claim God’s promise in Genesis 13:17 for the Navigators’ work in Singapore ”…walk through the land in length and breadth of it; for I (the Lord) will give it unto thee.”

As he walked (approximately 30 km) across the breadth of the island and observed the ships in the harbour, he prayed, “Lord, just as these ships carry cargoes out of Singapore, I pray that You will one day send dedicated men and women from here all over the world with the Gospel of Christ.“

April 1967. The Navigators Training Camp for Singapore and Malaysia, Tanah Merah.

“Spiritual Generations” traces a baton of faith handed down from our founding missionary, Roy Robertson. The song used is ” Heed the Call” composed by Desmond Hong and sung by Cliffton Tay.

Anniversary Video of Navigators

Watch the 50th Anniversary video where 4 former National Directors recount the history of The Navigators in Singapore and God’s faithfulness on the journey.