“Jesus is the answer to the questions most people aren’t asking.” Spoken by Mike Pilavachi years ago, this small, passing sentence has stuck with me ever since, even helping provide the initial vision behind You Are Loved. In being a part of the Body of Christ and going to church week in and week out, we are constantly encouraged to witness, or share Christ with others. When I was young, with great zeal and hope, I set out to do just that. However, it didn’t take many attempts for me to find this to be a challenging and often frustrating task. I gradually began to realize that, as we shared Christ with non-believers, many of us had just been pushing God into people’s lives as the answer to a question that these people hadn’t even been asking. The result of this approach was discouragement for me, which sadly turned into me sharing the gospel with fewer people each week.
With this realization in mind, I began You Are Loved during my senior year of high school in December of 2006. The story of You Are Loved proves that God can use anyone, and that people from all walks of life can do something significant. Through the support of several individuals and organizations, You Are Loved got its start. To this date, over 90,000 pins have been distributed in some unique ways!
I feel God’s plan for You Are Loved is simple, but profound. The plan is to freely spread pins to all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Anyone can get three free pins mailed to them through our website, yet spreading larger quantities has come through the donations of generous individuals and those who can afford to purchase them in order to give them away. Through our online ordering system, various groups and individuals have continued to help spread this message of love by purchasing pins for others.
With all of this in mind, God continues to ignite these purposes as I travel to speak to various groups, bringing pins, a message, and challenge. My challenge begins by asking others to do something as easy as offering a simple pin with a simple message. My goal through You Are Loved is to help others put their faith into action, enabling them to begin conversations with others in sharing who Christ is, as well as the life He offers.
In closing, it’s important to realize one thing: these pins don’t love anyone on their own. As God’s people, as His hands and feet, we are the ones called to love others. The purpose of these pins is to help raise questions and start conversations in an inviting, non-threatening way. At the same time, however, these pins can function as a real, everyday reminder that we are called to love people in practical, concrete ways. So, I encourage you to allow your pin to not only raise questions and start conversations, but to also function as a reminder that since God first loved us, we too should love others (1 John 4:19).
Dave Navarra started You Are Loved, during his senior year (around age 17) of high school in 2006. At this young age, and clearly sensing God’s leading, Dave sought the discernment and wisdom of others in order to help him launch the organization. While his intentions were hometown-focused, You Are Loved quickly grew and has since distributed well over 100,000 pins worldwide.
Since the start, Dave has directed and run You Are Loved as a not-for-profit organization hoping to influence as many people as possible with a simple, yet profound message. Dave’s life goal has been and continues to be helping people simply understand how loved they are. His hope is that, in the process of discovering this love, people will discover the greatest love of all: that of Jesus Christ. A passionate speaker who has enjoyed sharing this message of love with diverse audiences, Dave looks forward with excitement, discernment, and trust to where God continues to open doors for You Are Loved.
Long before Dave launched You Are Loved, he felt God’s call to a lifetime of vocational ministry. Dave has spent over a decade serving in youth ministry and recently assisting in weekend worship services with a Church in the Bay Area of California. For a year spanning between 2016-2017, Dave and his wife Katie are serving internationally in Belgium working with Operation Mobilization (a global mission movement) and a local international church. Dave loves people, the local Church, and the ways the love of the gospel has the power to change everything.