Bill Bright Names John Maxwell To Succeed Him at GPN
- Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
- 2003 6 Mar
As his battle with pulmonary fibrosis takes its toll, Bill Bright, founder and chairman emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ and co-founder of Global Pastors Network (GPN) has selected John C. Maxwell to succeed him as chairman of GPN following his death. Bright, 81, has been fighting pulmonary fibrosis for more than a year.
"It appears that what God has prepared for Bill in heaven is about ready," Vonette Bright wrote in a letter that was posted on the ministry's Web site Feb. 20. "Bill entered the hospital for the second time on Saturday, February 16th. Yesterday, the doctor told Bill, (when Bill asked), that he might live 6 months or less. He shared with both of us that it was time for us to seek help from Hospice care. We have known from the beginning of diagnosis, that without a miracle that Bill's time on earth is limited. We have prayed and are still praying for that miracle. We know too, when the miracle comes, it will be to honor Christ only, no person or group."
Vonette Bright, who co-founded the evangelical Christian organization, noted her husband's accomplishments in the time since his diagnosis in the fall of 2000. "Bill has surprised us all with two years of great productivity including 16 new books and the launch of the Global Pastors Network, and the Discover God movement, which is unfolding," she wrote.
Global Pastors Network is a worldwide Internet portal and gateway for distributing training content and materials from the Christian community to pastors around the world. Launched in 2002 in a partnership with James O. Davis, founder and president of Cutting Edge International, GPN is a growing coalition of Christian ministries working together to train and equip and assist pastors everywhere.
Already, GPN is accessible in 237 nations, provinces and territories, and is preparing to introduce a core curriculum of training materials in all the major languages of the world.
Bright has called GPN "the most important project I have ever been part of in my life." A new headquarters facility for GPN, The Bill Bright Leadership Center, is being planned near the Campus Crusade for Christ headquarters in Orlando.
Expected for completion in early 2005, The Bill Bright Leadership Center will be open to pastors year-round, and will offer teaching and training materials live onsite and via the Internet and satellite 24 hours per day, every day of the year. John Maxwell will provide strategic leadership for the capital campaign for this new center.
Maxwell is the founder and chairman of the INJOY Group, based in Atlanta. Also a noted author and speaker, Maxwell trains leaders around the world through his non-profit organization, EQUIP. Recently, he launched a plan to train one million Christian leaders worldwide by 2008 through leadership conferences, certified national trainers, partnerships with other ministries, and technology.
It was Maxwell's passion for training and equipping pastors that led Bright to ask him to lead the GPN upon his death. The two met in Orlando in December and reached an agreement that was unanimously approved by the GPN board of directors.
GPN's 40-member board of directors includes:
Larry Burkett, Crown Ministries
Michael Coleman, Integrity Music
Steve Douglass, Campus Crusade for Christ
Paul Eshleman, The JESUS Film Project
Franklin Graham, Samaritan's Purse
Jack Graham, Southern Baptist Convention
Michael Little, Christian Broadcasting Network
Roy Peterson, Wycliffe Bible Translators
Robert Reccord, North American Mission Board, SBC
Adrian Rogers, Bellevue Baptist Church
Thomas Trask, Assemblies of God
Kenneth Ulmer, Faithful Central Bible Church
Campus Crusade has more than 26,000 full-time staff and more than 225,000 trained volunteers serving in 190 nations, making it one of the largest interdenominational Christian organizations in the world.
Meet John Maxwell
Maxwell's childhood in 1950s small-town Ohio, along with the solid example of his parents, laid the foundation for a life and career of service to others. He professed his faith in Christ at the age of three, and by the time he was a teenager he was intently focused on his goal of becoming a pastor. He earned his bachelor's degree at Circleville (Ohio) Bible College in 1969, married his high school sweetheart Margaret that year, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, to pastor his first church.
Soon after, Maxwell began to realize his true gift for affecting the lives of people - lots of people. Sensing a call to evangelism, he accepted an invitation to another church in 1972 where he set a bold goal to lead 200 people to Christ in one year - outside of his pulpit ministry. Over the next 12 months, 186 people were forever changed by his influence.
Maxwell began to study the correlation between leadership effectiveness and effective ministry. What he observed was the tremendous impact that strong leadership skills could have on a pastor's ministry. He began to dissect and understand the art and science of Christian leadership, which remains his primary focus to this day.
In 1976, Maxwell envisioned a ministry to other pastors, which became a growing avocation alongside his traditional pulpit ministry. Then, after a brief but successful tenure in Wesleyan denominational leadership in which he guided the growth of 15 churches, Maxwell returned to the pulpit in 1981 with a slightly different focus.
With the blessings of his new congregation at Skyline Wesleyan Church near San Diego, Maxwell further developed his mentoring relationship with a growing number of pastors. In 1985, he founded INJOY.
Seeing the explosive growth of INJOY, Maxwell finally faced the decision to resign his pastorate at Skyline in 1995 to devote his full attention to the company he had founded. His ministry at Skyline had been very successful, but Maxwell saw even greater potential in the thousands of lives that could be reached through INJOY, and that remains his focus today.
Along with hosting and teaching at INJOY conferences, Maxwell speaks frequently for organizations such as Promise Keepers, Focus on the Family, Sam's Club, Chick-fil-A, Mary Kay, and various Fortune 500 companies.
Expanding into broader territory, John established EQUIP in 1996. EQUIP's mission is to see effective Christian leaders fulfill the Great Commission in every nation. EQUIP's most powerful component is the Million Leaders Mandate, an exciting initiative to train and equip one million church leaders, worldwide, in basic leadership skills.
Visit Campus Crusade for Christ online.