November 14, 2011
John Stott Memorial
Since his death on July 27, more than two dozen memorial services have been held for John Stott on every continent, in such places as Addis Ababa, Auckland, Delhi, Hong Kong, Lima, Manila, Singapore and Vancouver. On November 11, a memorial was held in the United States at College Church, Wheaton, Illinois.
Along with several hundred people, I sang and prayed and listened to remembrances from several of Stott's closest associates, including Christopher Wright, author of The Mission of God and Stott's successor as International Director of Langham Partnership, the institution Stott founded to train Majority World pastors. While the church is too often characterized these days by harsh, disputatious rhetoric, Wright praised Stott for his patient, measured voice of reason.
Keith Hunt, host for Stott's first international ministry trip from the mid-1950s, recalled a friend and mentor who became a world Christian before anyone knew what a world Christian was. Mark Labberton, author of The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor and one of Stott's early study assistants, also spoke, saying, "The greatest gifts in John's life were not his talents. It was actually his character."
Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, quipped that being given the honor of preaching at the service simply meant he got to talk a bit longer than the others. He noted a number achievements that Stott has left to us as his legacy.
Finally, Keller left us with a call for all of us to be empowered by the knowledge of his present glory. This is the hope we are all called to, a hope that offers us the motivation and strength to carry on the work that John Stott personified in word, deed and character.