College Church members John Maust and Stan Guthrie posted tributes to Jim Reapsome, who joined the cloud of witnesses on June 27. Jim and his wife, Martha, mentored and influenced many of us at College Church.
In the few days since James W. Reapsome’s passing . . ., I’ve been impressed by how many people have described him as their “mentor.”
He was certainly that to me.
In the early 1980s, when Jim was managing editor at Christianity Today magazine and my boss, he knew about my interest in missions and Latin America and encouraged me to explore and take next steps toward cross-cultural ministry.
“Why don’t you go to Costa Rica and study Spanish for three months, and then you can come back and work with Spanish-speaking writers,” Jim proposed, and then helped make it happen.
This became the first step in a journey that would ultimately lead me years later to Media Associates International (MAI). Jim would even become an MAI Board member and provide continued guidance and encouragement.
Early in his career, Jim planned to go out as a missionary before circumstances prevented him. Then, as a journalist and editor of The Evangelical Missions Quarterly for 33 years, he arguably did more to advance the cause of world missions than any other communicator of his time.
Pastor, author, teacher, beloved husband and father, one-time sportswriter, champion of clear and concise prose, avid golfer and gardener, friend, mentor. Jim was, and did, lots of things. But you always knew that Jesus was his first love and priority.
When it came to faith, Jim always kept things real. He was a godly man, but not a holier-than-thou personality. When he talked or wrote about Jesus, evangelism or world missions, he avoided all the clichés and abstract jargon. He sprinkled his writings with a liberal dose of humor, pithy language and pertinent examples. In the process, he gave you the desire to know God and Scripture better.
Please remember Jim’s beloved wife, Martha, and family in your prayers as they mourn his loss and find comfort that Jim is in his Lord’s presence. And, if you’ve never read any of Jim’s work, I encourage you to do so.
“It’s hard to say good-bye to these men and women who have meant so much to us,” a friend commented about Jim. “May their example continue to spur us on as we run the race.”
My friend and professional mentor, Jim Reapsome, has died at the age of 88. I worked with Jim for about a decade at World Pulse and Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Jim was patient and kind with me. His management style was to throw me into the deep waters and see if I could swim. (I'm still here, so I guess I passed the test.) He hired me from a distance, after I had freelanced for him during grad school.
His "Final Analysis" column on the back page of every Pulse newsletter was required reading in the evangelical missions community. . . I learned much from his down-to-earth, practical, take-no-prisoners style. Jim always remembered that missions was about God and about people. He had little patience for theories and practices that lacked foundation in the real world, but he always made his points with humor and grace.
Besides his pivotal work in missions journalism, Jim played key roles at the Sunday School Times, at Christianity Today, and as a writer of many IVP Bible study guides, often with his beloved, refined, and accomplished wife, Martha. . . . Besides Martha and missions, Jim's other main passions were his children and grandchildren ... and golf.
Jim took an interest in all his employees, inviting us over to his and Martha's home on Washington Street time and again, all the while complaining good-naturedly about the varmints raiding their cornucopian garden.
Jim's was a life lived flat out for the kingdom. I fear that few such men--with warm hearts and a burning passion for the glory of Jesus around the world--are left in our day. May those of us who follow you remember your example.
Well done, Jim. Enjoy your crown. RIP.