Navarre called to ‘disciple disciples’

Published 10:36 am Saturday, December 24, 2022

There was a time when Barrett Navarre seemed to have it all. Now he knows he does.

His father, the late Billy Navarre, opened his first auto dealership in Sulphur in 1982. When he died in 2016, Billy Navarre Chevrolet, Cadillac, Honda, Hyundi and Equus was one of the largest locally owned businesses in Southwest Louisiana with 300 employees. Billy Navarre was also known as a community philanthropist. His sons took up this mantle of success.

“Back in 2007, by the world’s standards I was successful with my life,” Barrett Navarre said. “But I felt empty on the inside, I would even go so far as to say, depressed.”

That led to soul searching. Soul searching led him to make a radical change when he gave his life to the Lord.

“He did so much for me, I couldn’t be silent about it,” Navarre said. “He set me free, so I wanted to see others set free.”

Not long after this conversion experience, a customer came to the dealership to test drive new cars. His wife had walked out on him, and he was down. Navarre “led him to Christ” right there in the car.

“Talk about happy hour,” Navarre said. “That man got a new car and Jesus all on the same day,” he said with a chuckle.

Navarre’s enthusiasm didn’t wane. He couldn’t stop talking about Jesus. The first Thanksgiving he spent with his wife’s family, he said it was an opportunity for all of them to “catch on fire for God.”

“It’s contagious,” he said. “There is no success without Him. There is no peace without Him.”

Navarre never set out to become a pastor and says he went to a university to receive his theology degree because he was hungry to know God, to have a relationship with him, to be able to rightly divide the word of truth.

“It’s what He says in His word,” Navarre said, “not what man says. Man couldn’t heal me, couldn’t deliver me or set me free.”

With a nudge from the Lord, Navarre started a sidewalk ministry. The nudge to go into ministry full time raised questions.

“Lord, I already work 60 or 70 hours a week in the car business. How am I going to manage that?”

A few men Navarre trusted and respected spoke into his life, and he started a Bible study as a step of faith. Men from that Bible study asked him to be their pastor but Navarre turned them down and encouraged them to find one. Eventually, he conceded.

“When my dad passed away it just felt like that season (car business) of my life was up,” he said. “I felt like I had been there for him.”

When COVID hit, Navarre saw it as a chance to go all out. The enemy also saw an opportunity. Barrett told about one of the most difficult trials that occurred after he decided to enter the ministry full time.

His wife carried their child for nine months without incident, and when they went to the hospital for her to deliver it, the baby Elijah had no heartbeat. The couple stood fast refusing to let their circumstances dictate their faith. They decided to follow through and make the trip to Israel they had planned. It was during that trip, as Navarre’s wife Amanda was praising God that she received the “promise of babies, not a baby but babies,” Navarre shared.

The Navarres have three daughters who often ask individuals they encounter for the first time, “Do you know Jesus?”

Currently, Dominion Life Lake Charles holds its services at 271 U.S. 171 in Moss Bluff. They have purchased a building on Power Center Parkway in Lake Charles and hope to be in the new location in March.

Navarre doesn’t want to see more people sitting on the pews on Sunday mornings at this location, or any other church for that matter. He said he has seen too many people sit in churches for 10 or 12 years without living the Gospel.

“The longest Paul was with a church was three years,” he said.

Currently his plan is to be used by God to plant small churches, to “reproduce reproducers, disciple disciples.”

There are a lot of motivational speakers that tell you all you need to do is find your ‘why,’ ” he said. “I have found the ultimate why, a why that will never fade.”

Navarre said God is still in the miracle business. He’s seen it.

“Success in life is not about ‘things’ at all, he said, a perfect Christmas Eve reminder. “What we do for ourselves will end with this planet,” he said. “What we do for God will echo for eternity.”