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EFAC Australia

Church Leadership

Wei-Han Kuan

John Stott was inducted as the new Rector of All Souls’, Langham Place in 1950. He outlined in his first sermon five criteria that he believed ought to be applied to their local church ministry.

These were published that week as his ministry manifesto in the church newsletter, All Souls. Timothy Dudley-Smith writes that Stott at this time knew himself to be, ‘a product of Iwerne and CICCU’; that is, a product of the famous and influential public school (English private school) camping ministry of the Rev’d ‘Bash’ Nash, and of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union—a progenitor of the AFES and IFES movements. Their methods of ministry informed his five criteria:

  1. The priority of prayer;
  2. Expository preaching;
  3. Regular evangelism;
  4. Careful follow-up of enquirers and converts; and
  5. Systematic training of helpers and leaders.

RichardTristRichard Trist is Dean of The Anglican Institute, Ridley College, Melbourne

What a privilege it was to get to know John Stott when my family joined the congregation of All Souls’ Langham Place in the mid-1990s.

By the time we had arrived, ‘Uncle John’ had retired as rector of the church and was carrying out a wider preaching and teaching ministry. He still however attended church services, prayer meetings and staff gatherings as often as he could.

Our first encounter with John occurred just after we arrived in the parish. We were busily unpacking boxes and settling into our apartment when the phone rang. ‘It’s John Stott here. I just want to wish you a warm welcome to London and to All Souls. I have been praying for you all. How are you and the children, Luke, Sophie, Lily and Grace?’ Apart from the fact that one of my theological heroes had just phoned and invited me to join him for afternoon tea the following week, what struck me was that he was interested in us as a family. He knew each of the children by name. He had been praying for this new Australian clergy family, and amidst his busy schedule was willing to find out how we were. What a model of pastoral care!

Julia Cameron

John Stott, one of the most productive leaders of recent times, had an unusual capacity for hard work, a gift for focused concentration, and a constant sense of being 'dissatisfied'.1

The fruit of his work, and of his ideas, was multiplied, in human terms, through four means: (i) his fellow workers, (ii) his industry, (iii) his instinctive sense of strategy, and (iv) his unique symbiotic relationships, especially with IFES2 and the Lausanne Movement. There was, for him, a porous line between friend and fellow worker. We look here at his fellow workers, glancing at the networks which extended his ministry.3

Stott's global ministry first rested on a team of two, himself and his secretary, expanding eventually in 1980 into a team of three. They called themselves 'the happy triumvirate' after Charles Simeon's use of the term for himself and his curates.4 But let us not rush ahead.

PeterAdamWe have good reason to thank God for John Stott.
Here I focus on his preaching, both method andmessage.
PREACHING METHOD
John visited Australia in January 1965, and this visit—one  of many—had a profound effect on Australian  preaching.1 He gave Bible studies on 2 Corinthians at the  CMS Summer Schools in several states in Australia. Much  Australian preaching at that time was on 'a text', that is,  on an individual verse from the Bible, often without much  regard to its context. In his Bible studies John Stott was  demonstrating the obvious value of preaching from a  passages of Scripture, and from consecutive passages of  Scripture. His example had a profound impact on  Australian preaching.2 One person who was profoundly  affected by this change in preaching style was Sydney  evangelist John Chapman, who reflected this way on  Stott's influence:

'Prior to that, I had tended to get an idea from a passage and  leap all over the Bible supporting the idea from other parts so  that the people I taught knew the "idea" but not the passage  from which it came or how that passage fitted into some overall  argument from the Scriptures … He provided a model for  expository preaching that I could copy and make my own.'3

ChrisWrightChris Wright is the Global Ambassador & Ministry Director, Langham Partnership International

'I am a great believer,' John Stott would often say, 'in the importance of BBC. Not the British Broadcasting Company, nor Bethlehem Bible College, nor even Beautiful British Columbia. But Balanced Biblical Christianity.' In my own assessment of John's life and ministry I suggest a biblical balance of Old and New Testaments by saying that the scale and scope of John Stott's significance within the global church has been both Abrahamic and apostolic.

ABRAHAMIC

John Stott was Abrahamic in two ways, of which the first is the most obvious.

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