The Mission Imperative - C T Studd

'For me to live is Christ...'
(Philippians 1:21)
Charles Studd was born in 1869 into a wealthy English family who had made their fortune during the days of the Raj in India. Educated in Eton and Cambridge, he also became a well-known cricketer nationally. He was batting when England lost to Australia and the stumps were burned to become 'The Ashes'. A radical conversion experience with a commitment to a fundamental faith and then world mission under the influence of Hudson Taylor led to nine years in China where he met his wife. Cricket was a thing of the past.
Ill health brought him back to England but a few years later he proceeded to India where he pastored the Union Church in Ootacamund. I got to know the church, largely because our son was at school there. I recall listening to a speaker urging us to consider the opportunities for mission to 'tribals'. It was not C T Studd speaking, but his influence lingered there nearly a hundred years later. It had an impact on my own emphases as I encouraged colleagues to recognise evangelistic opportunities.
But the inner conviction to return to 'mission' overpowered his wife's plea and medical advice not to leave Britain and he proceeded to Africa where he established the Heart of Africa Mission. It later became World Evangelisation for Christ, and more recently WEC International. His wife remained in England, largely to administer the office - another important part of 'mission'.
In 2003 Glenn Schwartz of World Mission Associates invited me to meet up with several other executives involved in mission. I had the good fortune to sit next to Patrick Johnstone, former executive director of WEC and author of Operation World. We discovered we shared so many values, priorities and hopes. The day galvanised my own commitments!
On the death of his father, C T Studd gave his inheritance to several missionary causes, among them to Commissioner Booth-Tucker for his work with The Salvation Army in India. When I visited its headquarters in Mumbai I was told that his donation had contributed to its construction. He knew how to deny himself, to take up his cross and follow Christ.
To all who questioned the wisdom of his choice, Studd’s reply could be found printed on the postcard that graced his desk: 'If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.'

October 2022