Visit of J.John

Bruce Geeves writes about the visit of evangelist J. John to Hobart

One thing as you get older is that it’s good to compare notes with friends.

I first met J. John some 40 years ago when I was with the Church Army (a society in the Anglican Church which trained lay people in evangelism.)

Michael Green, theologian and writer, had phoned Bishop Witt, because he had a young evangelist who needed to get some experience. He said this evangelist could handle anything! So the bishop asked me to organise his program, which I did – this included the student bar at Sturt University and some high schools.

When I was introduced to this short, Greek man with an accent, I thought he was going to go over like a lead balloon. But I found that he mermerised all those he spoke to and challenged.

Ten years later I was organising a parish mission. J. John was going to be in Australia and I asked him to come to Sydney where I was on staff at St Anne’s, Ryde. When John challenged those who attended, half the hall got up. I was embarrassed because I had 38 follow-up kits for the 100 who responded. So I learnt a big lesson – be prepared.

During the mission, the rector’s son became a Christian. He now heads up a youth organisation called Soul Survivor. Others became missionaries, and staff workers with Scripture Union.

When I got a letter to say that he is coming to visit me and also to run a seminar on evangelism I sought permission from the Bishop to run an event. This was held on 6 November at St George’s in Battery Point and the centre of the church was packed with people ready to listen.

Here’s a few comments.

  • ‘Quite disarming while at the same time being very provocative and enabling.’ Revd John Langlois
  • ‘The thing that stuck was to talk to our neighbours about Jesus. Take the message out of church to our neighbours.’ Yuki Burns
  • ‘Wonderful morning with an evangelist who not only knew his stuff but also stirred our collective passion for the lost.’ Facebook
  • ‘Fantastic reminders of some home truths.’ Ruth Langlois
  • ‘Motivational, inspired, enthused and delivered straight from the heart, about Jesus.’ Bill Harback
  • ‘Really refreshing, like a breath of fresh air. The challenge of “giving”. It’s been all my reading since.’ Nicky Williams
  • ‘There’s always enough time in the day to do God’s will. Pray and walk with expectation of God’s answer.’ Arthur and Jeanne Wherrett
  • ‘A prayerful step-by-step approach, being all we do with the purpose of evangelism. No gimmicks, no quick fixes, just a grassroots daily focus on being attractive for Jesus in our own Jerusalem, praying our neighbours into the kingdom.’ Meredith Campbell

For me it was another series of blessings to see John in action as he pointed to prayer, sharing, caring. He said that prayer should be central to our mission work.

I had a lot of time to catch up with him and talk about how we had been humbled as God used us. There were also the lessons that we had learnt over the years. Our situations are very different but I was reminded about what it means to have a partnership in the gospel, as Timothy has said we have been entrusted with.






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  man dark clothes, holding microphone, speaking from front of church

J.John speaking at St George's Church, Battery Point.