John Stott on Mission
John Stott’s contribution to missiological thinking has been succinct, seminal and strategic. Let me illustrate.
To be comprehensive, clear and pithy first requires mastery. John Stott wrote over 50 books, almost all concerned with aspects of mission, each with an economy of style, and a clear flow of argument; and they have been translated into some 60 languages. His sermons, a byword for succinct thinking, were disciplined in thought flow and in timing.
To choose just one highlight: his accessible biblical theology of mission, in Chapter 21 of The Contemporary Christian, under the title ‘The Christology of Mission’, is a great gift to the Church.
As Chris Wright explains, John Stott was a major influence in helping Christians see that mission is not only to be traced through the whole Bible, but that it is also to be carried out through the whole of our lives. This was seminal thinking, new even in the 1980s. In 1982 Stott founded the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity and IVP published what became his groundbreaking book: Issues Facing Christians Today.
Through his close links with IFES, John Stott was ‘Uncle John’ to thousands of students and national staffworkers across the world. His symbiotic relationship with Lausanne built on this, and fed into it. He kept in touch with hundreds of students and young graduates through correspondence, and in this way, over the years, came to know personally more of the sharpest evangelical thinkers in a range of disciplines than probably anyone else.
His three ministries gathered together under Langham Partnership would help to build national churches in the global south on firm foundations, under strong leadership, and based on a clear grasp of scripture.
New perspectives and new angles on John Stott’s legacy will come to light over decades to come. It is not surprising that he has already passed into the history books.
Julia Cameron has led communications and publishing endeavours for IFES, OMF International, and the Third Lausanne Congress, and was the first Director of Publishing for the Lausanne Movement. She is currently the Senior Editor of Dictum Press and author of several books on John Stott.
John Stott: Pastor Leader, Friend