This past Saturday, Kelly and I attended the memorial service for Stuart Briscoe at Elmbrook Church. It was a joy to reconnect with friends and former colleagues I hadn’t seen in some time and to celebrate God’s work in and through Stuart’s life. My first full-time vocational role in ministry was as the Pastor of Collegiate Ministries at Elmbrook after Stuart had already retired. Although I did see Stuart from time to time during those years at Elmbrook, I actually grew to know him more personally during my last decade or so at Eastbrook. During my first at Eastbrook, I reached out to Stuart to talk about transitions in ministry, specifically how to best follow a founding pastor. I asked him if he had any advice about how to fulfill my calling as a new Senior Pastor, and he shared his oft-repeated essential advice for pastoral ministry: preach the word, love people, and pray for the Spirit to move. Before I left, Stuart gave me a signed copy of his memoir, Flowing Streams. In recent years, I enjoyed other opportunities, both formal (see further below) and informal to connect with Stuart and Jill. Their down-to-earth manner, filled with commitment to Christ and a healthy sense of humor, encouraged me greatly. You can view Stuart’s memorial service, which was about two hours long, below.
Through all this, I was reminded of the Leadership Community gathering we hosted at Eastbrook three and a half years ago with Stuart and our Pastor Emeritus, Marc Erickson (no relation, believe it or not). Stuart began the night with a 20-minute message on three distinctly Christian aspects of the leader’s character. During the next portion of the gathering, I facilitated a Q&A with Stuart and Marc about the character of a leader. This led us to explore some important questions in our current era, as well as many interesting insights and funny stories from their own lives. I hope you enjoy this view into the lives of two pastors who have steadfastly walked with Christ over the years.