REMEMBERING A GREAT LEADER
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
~ Hebrews 13:7
Recently, Stuart Briscoe, the longtime pastor of Elmbrook Church passed away. When I learned of this sad news, the days that followed moved at “slow motion” for me. Terry and I had taken a vacation to visit family and friends in July. Among our stops was a rejuvenating stay in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. While there, we actually stayed in the very same home where, ironically, I met Stuart Briscoe for the first time in the summer of 1972. I was 16 years of age, possessing a rebel heart with little interest in spiritual matters. The godly couple whose home I happened to be staying at invited Stuart to come and speak to a roomful of teenagers. I was one of those teenagers. That living room talk, along with several other providential episodes, resulted in my becoming a Christ follower a year later. Six years after, Terry and I married and my job relocated us to Milwaukee where we began attending Elmbrook Church. Under Stuart’s watchful eye and care, we were spiritually nourished by his biblical preaching, invited to serve on his staff, developed in our callings, exposed to the global church, afforded opportunity to plant a “Brook” Church, and encouraged in every way.
After returning from my vacation, Stuart graciously invited me to visit him and Jill. On the day before he passed, I was privileged to visit the two of them at their home in suburban Milwaukee. During our conversation, I was able to share with him about my visit to the place where I had met him 50 years earlier. As we concluded our time together, Stuart saw me to the door and offered me his usual words of encouragement about life, ministry, and the importance of the work of BrookLink. Little did I know then, this would be my last conversation with him. I’m going to miss his wise and careful counsel, his care for us, his humble and unpretentious leadership, his sense of humor, his no-nonsense realism, his unusual selflessness, his towering character, and unassailable integrity. I’ve been reminded during these days of the words of Hebrews—remember your leaders, consider the outcome of their lives and imitate them!
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Stuart at Elmbrook Church last January.
You recall that last November, Ian and I had the privilege of resuming our teaching in south Asia. While there, we saw the area our friends were considering for expanding their seminary ministry. Because of your generosity and assistance, they have been able to buy a piece of land in Lahore, Pakistan. Its purpose is to construct a Center for Christian Leadership training to be run by the Full Gospel Assemblies Bible Seminary. Praise God! FGA is now the legal owner of the land. In a country where just 3% of the population identifies as Christian, it is no small thing that they have been granted possession of this land. Their next step is to construct a building to be used for leadership training activities. Lord willing, Pastor Tariq, along with the church’s leadership hope to launch the construction project in 2023, trusting that the Lord will provide remaining funds. “We trust in God’s goodness for this.” Pastor Tariq joyfully adds, “We are looking forward to having Lee and Ian back with us in early November.” Believe me, I am just as excited as Tariq to return to Pakistan!
Travel to see this site again this fall is underway!
I am preparing to teach at two pastors conferences in Uganda in late August. Your prayers are deeply appreciated for safety in traveling and for the topics of “Missional Discipleship” and “Marriage and Family.” Please pray for the pastors and church leaders who plan to attend and that my teaching may equip and empower them to be released to proclaim God’s Word without hindrance.
Also, I want to remind you of BrookLink’s annual Windows to the World gathering on Sunday October 23rd. After not being able to host WTTW for over two years because of Covid, I sincerely hope you will join us for this wonderful evening of worship, reflection, encouragement and light refreshments.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be back serving full time in this ministry I love and have missed more than words can say. Your faithful generosity, prayers and support during these past few years is nothing short of amazing. I look forward to seeing many of you in October! Until then…
PS: For those who may be interested, there will be a Memorial Service for Stuart Briscoe on Saturday, Spetember 17th at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield. Visitation is from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm with service to follow.