Bishop Julian gave us an inspiring talk about Rev John Stott at June’s Pubmeet. You can make a good case for the claim that Stott had more influence on the Church than any other British Christian who lived in the 20th Century. As well as being a gifted preacher of a large London church, Stott was a much in demand conference speaker and a prolific writer. Julian brought along over a dozen books from his own library all written by Stott; I’ve managed to find nine on my shelves.
It’s worth noting that Stott became a Christian at the age of 16 while he was a schoolboy at Rugby. Chapel is very much part of life in an English Public School and so Stott had been exposed to daily prayer and Bible readings, and countless sermons. However, in his own words, Jesus was only “part of my mental furniture.”
Things changed one Sunday afternoon in February 1938. A visiting clergyman called E. J. H. Nash came to speak at an informal Christian Union meeting at the School. His subject was the question asked by Pontius Pilate: ‘What then shall I do with Jesus?’
Stott writes: “That I needed to do anything with Jesus was an entirely novel idea to me, for I had imagined that somehow he had done whatever needed to be done, and that my part was only to acquiesce. This Mr Nash, however, was quietly but powerfully insisting that everybody had to do something about Jesus, and that nobody could remain neutral. Either we copy Pilate and weakly reject him, or we accept him personally and follow him.”
Stott chose to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord and follow him; and the course of his life was changed
John Stott wasn’t the only young person converted through the ministry of Mr Nash. Nash, or ‘Bash’ as he was affectionately known, was particularly gifted with that age group and for many years would regularly organise camps to nurture the Christian faith in young men and boys. Before he was ordained Stott himself was to become heavily involved in this ministry with Nash.
All this leads me to one our Vision 2026 priorities for our young people over this summer. The teenage years often prove to be the crucial ones when it comes to Christian commitment. It’s the stage in our lives when many of us decide whether or not to follow Jesus. So we dearly want as many of our young people as possible to attend a Christian camp. In particular there’s one being run by Yorkshire Camps for Years 6 to 10 at their fantastic facilities at Netherside Hall near Grassington in the Dales from 23rd to 26th August. The parish has funds available to subsidise places so it would only cost £40 per child. We can even help with transport.
If you’re a parent/grandparent please encourage your children to go. It could be one of the best things you ever do for them.
Yours in Christ