As a college student at Oklahoma Baptist University, Avery Willis, Jr., was struck by the words of British revivalist Henry Varley: “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” And just as young Dwight L. Moody had said decades prior, Willis responded, “By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”
The son of an evangelist, Willis finished college and enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with the intention of pursuing evangelism and church planting. After several years of pastoring and planting churches in the United States, however, God began pointing the Willis family’s gaze overseas, to the millions upon millions of people who’d yet to hear the name of Christ and the good news of his salvation.
Their journey to Indonesia and back again would lead Willis and his family through political unrest, an attempted coup, horrific genocide, incredible revival, and revolutions in missions and discipleship strategy. His experience in international missions uniquely prepared him to lead the International Mission Board through a time of restructuring and reorganization, and provided the missions insight he would need to create such resources as LifeWay’s MasterLife and Bible storying curriculum for oral learners in the U.S. and around the world.
This week on Missions History Podcast, his daughter Sherrie Willis Brown joins David Brady and Scott Peterson to share about her father and the new biography she’s written about his life and ministry: I Aim to be that Man: How God Used the Ordinary Life of Avery Willis, Jr.
I Aim to be that Man: How God Used the Ordinary Life of Avery Willis Jr. by Sherrie Willis Brown (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1642998524/)
MasterLife: Developing a Rich Personal Relationship with the Master by Avery T. Willis, Jr. and Sherrie Willis Brown (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805401652/)
Making Disciples of Oral Learners by Avery T. Willis, Jr. and Steve Evans (https://www.amazon.com/Making-Disciples-Learners-Avery-Willis/dp/1599190184/)
Learning to Soar: How to Grow Through Transitions and Trials by Avery T. Willis, Jr. and Matt Willis (https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Soar-Through-Transitions-Trials/dp/1600066976/)
The Biblical Basis of Missions by Avery t. Willis, Jr. (https://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Basis-Missions-Avery-Willis/dp/B00128JP50/)
Indonesian Revival: Why Two Million Came to Christ by Avery Willis, Jr. (https://www.amazon.com/Indonesian-Revival-Million-Came-Christ/dp/0878084282/)