John Stott died yesterday at age 90. If you haven’t heard of John Stott, he’s been an Anglican pastor and a significant leader in the world-wide Christian church and in particular the Evangelical stream of the Christian faith.
I’ve never met Dr. Stott nor ever had the opportunity to hear him speak yet his teachings through his books have had a significant impact on my life and work.
In particular one little book titled Basic Christianity has influenced my theological perspective and approach to ministry. What makes it so powerful and timeless is the simplicity in which Stott describes, without compromise, the foundational truths of the Christian faith.
I first read it as part of my training to become a volunteer Young Life leader because it framed so well the message we wanted to communicate to kids on a weekly basis.
A couple of years after coming to SpringHill we began evaluating the content of our daily and weekly lessons for summer camp. SpringHill’s a non denominational ministry so we don’t address controversial and “peripheral” doctrinal issues in our work but instead “major on the majors”. But at the time some folks were asking if we needed to expand our list of “majors”.
In stepped John Stott and Basic Christianity. I had our key staff read the book and then we as a team discuss its content. When we finished we all agreed Basic Christianity defined the piece of the Christian message SpringHill’s called to share with kids.
And to this day you’ll see copies of Basic Christianity around SpringHill and more importantly you’ll still see its outline weaving through all our lessons and curriculum and as a result still impacting the lives of 1000’s of SpringHill kids and families each year.