Many of you will recognize this name but many will not. Avery Willis was a mentor to my dad and instrumental in the release of Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby when Avery worked for Lifeway (which is the publishing arm of the Southern Baptists).
On Friday, he stepped into eternity with the Father after a long battle with cancer.
Avery's latest contribution to the kingdom was to bring chronological Bible storying to the West from the mission field. Many small group-driven and cell-based churches around the world and now in America are using Bible storying as a way to apply the Word during group gatherings instead of reading the Bible since comprehension levels have dropped to an 8th grade level for half of all Americans.
So today I blog about a man who was dearly loved. His tireless campaign to increase spiritual formation/discipleship in the local church will never be forgotten, and we all owe him a great debt of gratitude for what he did in his lifetime. Even if you have never heard of this man's name before, please take a moment to stop and thank the Lord for his life and devotion to the cause of Christ.
I'm sure that the Lord will give him a big hug and say, "they're thanking me for you right now. Well done my good and faithful servant!"
I met Avery Willis in 1983 or 1984... we were newly married and in a small Southern Baptist Church in Tennessee. We wanted to figure out how to make disciples in that context, coming from a campus ministry experience with Navigators while college students. We ended up attending a MasterLife training course at Ridge Crest. Avery had a lot to do with putting that together, and we met him and heard him speak there. I was greatly encouraged to find a man of his character, spiritual maturity and leadership in that role. Didn't know he had cancer... our loss but his (and heaven's) gain!
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