Q Conference - Ed Stetzer and The Future of Discipleship

Ed Stetzer at the Q Conference. Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

Ed Stetzer at the Q Conference. Photo by Cathleen Falsani/Sojourners.

Share the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.

The phrase is usually attributed to St. Francis of Assisi and is often invoked by the timid Christian, the too-cool hipster Christian, and basically every Christian ever who is afraid of evangelism.

Ed Stetzer—president of LifeWay Research, speaking from the Q conference on Tuesday—said there are two problems with that statement: it’s not true, and Assisi never said it.

“We don’t want to separate those two because biblically we can’t, and statistically we don’t,” Stetzer said.

Saying Goodbye to Uncle John: My Memories of John Stott

John Stott died this Wednesday. He was 90 years old. What many people don't understand is that he was the most influential 20th-century evangelical leader in the world, with the exception of Billy Graham. Stott became the Anglican rector of All Souls Church in downtown London at the age of 29 in 1950, and he stayed there for his entire ministry. But from his parish at Langham Place in the city's West End, and right across from BBC headquarters, John Stott spoke to the world with 50 books that sold 8 million copies. He also traveled the globe , speaking, teaching, convening, mentoring, and bird watching -- a personal passion.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this man is all the personal stories about "Uncle John" that the world is now hearing, from many Christian leaders around the world who were profoundly influenced, encouraged, and supported by John Stott. And secondly, how such a giant in the Christian world remained so humble, as testified to by those who knew him who say how "Christ-like" he was.

Joyless Christians and The Lord of the Rings

My favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings are the Ents -- an ancient race of giant living, talking, breathing trees in J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional land, Middle Earth. I have a little confession to make: Whenever I hear a reading from Isaiah 55 where it says, "The mountains and hills before you shall burst into song and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands," I always picture the Giant Ents from The Lord of the Rings. And then I picture these clapping trees from Isaiah holding little Hobbits in their branch arms in what ends up a willful conflation of Middle Earth and Major Prophet.


Was the cry they heard a kestrel’s or a distressed gull
or a passing soul or one not wanting to, a disciple
asked as fog burned off the harbor and left the water

glazed with fire: Jesus roused from dozing lightly. Sun
turned the shore rocks ocher. A bee thrummed near;
they watched it hover. John, who squatted to mend a net,

said he once saw a crack open in midair through which
a shadow appeared, some darkling creature from
its dark lair, up across the wall, as if watching, and no light