In Memory of John Stott

After the 2004 elections, in which political pundits conjectured that the "values vote" was the deciding factor, my friend David Brooks wrote an insightful oped in response entitled "Who Is John Stott?"Stott was a family friend, and I was blessed knowing him growing up.  Dr. Stott was a remarkable man, and his recent passing is important for many reasons.  He left a remarkable mark on the world, especially "the least of these" with the whole Gospel.  Another friend, David Jones, who oversaw Stott's ministry, has written a brief essay for us with his reflections.Mark Rodgers---------------------------------------------------------John Stott died July 27, 2011 at the age of 90 years and three months. In the time since his passing, I have done a number of interviews about Uncle John (as he was called by so many around the world) and have discovered something in my remembrances after his death that I didn’t fully appreciate during his long life.Uncle John was a serial entrepreneur. Not in the sense of launching businesses or making money – no, his particular brand of entrepreneurialism was to help envision something that needed to be changed or done and then to encourage someone to do something about it!John Stott was Senior Rector of All Souls Church, a very prominent parish in central London (on staff for over 60 years!), a leader of the Lausanne Movement and principle architect of the Lausanne Covenant, Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the World.  His death has brought back so many memories of these roles as well as remembrances of his great sense of humor, his remarkable teaching, preaching and writing abilities, as well as the many trips we took together over the years.However, the picture that has constantly registered in my brain over the last month has been of John Stott patiently sitting in one committee meeting, planning session, or board meeting after another, serving with grace and humility.And here is the kicker: none of these ministries or non-profits or educational institutions was solely dependent upon him or his personal leadership. John helped launch a large number of organizations, but he primarily served as friend and mentor, not as leader. He empowered others to serve, to lead, to fully utilize their God-given gifts.I will miss Uncle John dearly. But, there are literally hundreds of top leaders around the world that John mentored and who remain dear friends to help fill the void.It is appropriate to end this brief remembrance with the words of one of these leaders, my friend Tyler Wigg Stevenson, who served as one of Uncle John’s Study Assistants (our son Chris Jones was his last Study Assistant). Here is how Tyler ended a recent statement about Uncle John’s death:

“In the coming days there will be a new tombstone in a tiny churchyard in Dale, a stone’s throw from the Hookses (John Stott’s writing cottage), and it will read April 27, 1921–July 27, 2011. But John Stott did not die today. He died more than a half century ago, when he accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf. And as Paul declares in 2 Corinthians, Uncle John bore that death every day since, until his last, as he sought to reveal with word and deed the life that was no longer his, which was hidden in Christ. I have never known a man who so conformed to the image of his savior. And so, though he is taken from us and I miss him dearly, he is even closer at hand tonight than he was this morning, wholly consumed, at last, in the life and likeness of the Lord he loves.”John Stott was indeed the most Christ-like person I have ever met. And, that image of Christ was seen in countless committee meetings where Uncle John helped launch yet another effort to improve the lives of people this side of heaven.David JonesPrincipal, Strive ConsultingFounding President, John Stott Ministries
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