“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. . . .” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:21, 23)
In 2013, friends of Wheaton College established an endowment in Rev. Dr. John R.W. Stott’s name for the Human Needs and Global Resources Program. The endowment substantially increases affordability for student interns and makes possible many new initiatives that broaden the Program’s impact on Wheaton’s campus and beyond.
Many convictions evident in John Stott’s ministry are mirrored in the Human Needs and Global Resources Program. Stott distinctively held together his sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through biblical teaching and preaching with his understanding that social action is integral to the life of discipleship. These convictions deepened over the course of his life and ministry. They were anchored in Stott’s unwavering insistence that we recognize the fully transformative reality of the Lordship of Christ over all of creation and in every aspect of a Christian’s life. As challengingly expressed in his final book, “Our common way of avoiding radical discipleship is to be selective: choosing those areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly. But because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority” (The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling [later subtitled “Wholehearted Christian Living”], 2010, pp. 15-16). For Stott, evidence of Christian commitment should be visible through the disciple’s everyday actions and behavior. He often said: “Pretty songs…don’t prove anything. It’s only in daily life that you prove, through obedience, whether or not you love Jesus” (quoted in Christopher J.H. Wright, Portraits of a Radical Disciple: Recollections of John Stott’s Life and Ministry, p. 239).
Notably, Stott’s commitments extended to substantial and long-standing involvement in multiple institutions that reflected his understanding of integral mission and for which his theological contributions were formative. The 2019 Symposium highlights three institutions that exemplify such involvement.
- The Langham Partnership, founded by Stott in 1969 and funded by income from his books and speaking honoraria, grew out of his profound commitment to supporting global church leadership by developing resources and supporting theological education and biblical training for pastors.
- Since 1968, Tearfund has joined compassion with practical action, serving as a leading evangelical voice in Christian social engagement. Tearfund equips and mobilizes local churches and other organizations to support communities working to overcome poverty, violence, and disasters. Stott served as Tearfund president from 1983-1997.
- A Rocha engages and equips Christians in twenty countries to deepen their connection to God through the active care of creation. A committed birdwatcher, Stott served on A Rocha’s Council of Reference from their 1983 founding to the end of his life, and he informed and inspired A Rocha’s theological framework.
The Fall 2019 Symposium in Human Needs and Global Resources will convene a diverse group of people from around the world who demonstrate and embody these same commitments in their work, ministry, vocation, and life. We look forward to hosting you for this celebratory event.