Thousands Celebrate Ralph D. Winter's Life, Impact

0
Sign Up for Free eNewsletter ››
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Over 2,000 people, including Pastors Rick Warren and John Piper, commemorate the life of Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., speaks about his relationship with Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Greg Parsons, general director of the U.S. Center for World Mission, introduces over 2,000 people to a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service held at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Linda Dorr, the third daughter the late Dr. Ralph D. Winter, speaks during her father's memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    David Winter, the younger brother of the late Dr. Ralph D. Winter, reflects on why his older brother's life made such an impact on the world during a memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Dr. John Piper (second from the left), senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, speaks to the Rev. Dr. Rick Warren (second from the right), senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: The Christian Post / Hudson Tsuei)
    Over 2,000 people attend the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Tricia Johnson, Dr. Ralph D. Winter's fourth and youngest daughter, shares memories of her father at the memorial service for him at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Todd Johnson, married to Dr. Ralph D. Winter's fourth and youngest daughter Tricia, shares memories of his father-in-law during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Roger Bosch, missions and evangelism at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, Calif., reads the scripture from Psalm 34 during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Dr. Greg Waybright, senior pastor of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, gives the closing prayer and benediction during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Dave Koser, senior adult ministries at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, Calif., gives the call to worship and invocation during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Robert Blincoe, U.S. director of Frontiers and a Ph.D. candidate under Dr. Ralph D. Winter, speaks at the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., speaks about his relationship with Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., speaks about his relationship with Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., speaks about his relationship with Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    The Rev. Dr. George Stulac, senior pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Mo., delivers the sermon entitled "No Wonder We Do Mission" during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009. Stulac was the one who performed Dr. Ralph Winter's and Barbara's (second wife) wedding on July 6, 2002.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Prudence Dancy, Dr. Ralph D. Winter's first secretary at the U.S. Center for World Mission and the founder of Renewed Living Ministries, speaks about her former boss during Dr. Ralph D. Winter's memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Paul Cedar, former pastor at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, Calif., recalls a conversation he had with Dr. Ralph D. Winter before he died during Winter's memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Greg Livingstone, founder of Frontiers International, speaks during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    David Bryant, founder of Here's Hope, speaks during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Chuck Kraft, a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., shares humorous stories of Dr. Ralph D. Winter when he was also a professor at Fuller during Winter's memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • (Photo: Hudson Tsuei)
    Brad Gill, married to Dr. Ralph D. Winter's first daughter Elizabeth, shares memories of his father-in-law during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • Hudson Tsuei
    David Bryant, founder of Here's Hope, speaks at the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • Hudson Tsuei
    The Rev. Dr. Greg Waybright, senior pastor of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, gives the closing prayer and benediction during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • Hudson Tsuei
    Todd Johnson, husband to Dr. Ralph D. Winter's fourth and youngest daughter Tricia, shares memories of his father-in-law during a memorial service at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • Hudson Tsuei
    The Rev. Greg Parsons, general director of the U.S. Center for World Mission, introduces over 2,000 people to a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Ralph D. Winter during a memorial service held at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
  • John Piper, Rick Warren
    Hudson Tsuei
    The Rev. Dr. John Piper (left), senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, sits beside the Rev. Dr. Rick Warren (right), senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., during the memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
1/28
By Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post Reporter
June 29, 2009|8:17 am

PASADENA, Calif. – The memorial service for Dr. Ralph D. Winter ran one hour past the scheduled ending time, but no one was complaining.

Instead, the more than 2,000 attendees clung to each story and each memory that was being recalled by family, friends and colleagues.

The children of the influential missiologist, who died last month at the age of 84, remembered a fun and loving father who included them in all his mission projects and adventures. His friends told amusing stories about the eccentric genius, who would often exasperate his colleagues with his unconventional ideas and habits.

But the underlying message in every testimony was that Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission, lived a life that had a profound impact on the global Christian community as well as on individual lives.

“I loved this man for almost 40 years,” said the Rev. Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life.

Winter, it turns out, had a very long and intimate influence on Warren tracing back to when the present-day megachurch pastor was in his early twenties.

Follow us Get CP eNewsletter ››

Warren recalled that the first big step of faith that he and his then newly-wed wife Kay made was committing to donate $1,500.95 to the U.S. Center for World Mission at a time when Winter was trying to mobilize one million evangelicals to give $15.95 for the cause of unreached peoples. Back then, Warren was in his early twenties and working with inner city gang members.

Later when the Warrens started Saddleback Church, it was Roberta Winter – Dr. Ralph D. Winter’s first wife – who was the keynote speaker at the church’s first retreat.

Through Winter, Warren learned that a church should not be judged by how many people it seats, but rather by how many people it sends to mission fields. Basing his church on that model, Warren said his church has now sent thousands of people to some 100 nations, and by next year, could be the first church to send people to every country in the world.

“He has placed a stamp on my life,” stated Warren, who said Winter was one of three Christian leaders who influenced most in the world. The other two were world renowned evangelist Billy Graham and Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.

And while many people have heard about Warren’s PEACE Plan, a global effort to mobilize 1 billion Christians to combat the five biggest problems in the world, few know that Winter was the first person Warren called after God gave him that vision.

“He is the only one I know who thinks bigger than me,” Warren joked.

Similar to Warren, Pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis also shared about the deep impact Winter had on his personal and ministry life. Because of Winter’s “relentless pushing,” Piper said, he learned to “fix his gaze” on the unreached people.

Winter is best known for his presentation about hidden – or unreached – people groups at the 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. It was during this global conference convened by Billy Graham that Winter demonstrated through statistics and graphs that over two billion people still could not hear the Gospel in their own language and cultural setting, and that cross-cultural evangelism was still needed.

The presentation has since been hailed as a watershed moment that shifted the global mission strategy from one focused on countries and territories to one focused on distinct people groups.

An unreached people group is one that lives in a place where there is no viable, indigenous, evangelizing church movement.

Winter had devoted much of his life advocating for pioneer outreach among unreached people groups.

Others who spoke at the memorial remembered Winter for his faithfulness, humility, devotion to sharing the Gospel, for being a visionary, and for his strong sense of integrity.

His younger brother, David, noted, however, that while there are many people who possess the qualities of being bright, energetic, and creative like Winter, they do not make a great impact on the world.

“It wasn’t just genetics that made him who he is. But he made a choice,” said David Winter.

“He took his gifts and decided to give himself wholly to the Lord and try to make a difference,” said the younger Winter, who is the former president of Westmont College in southern California.

In addition to hearing testimonies, those who attended the memorial also watched a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Winter and sang his favorite hymns.

The memorial service was held at Lake Avenue Congregation Church in Pasadena, Calif. – a church that Winter had attended since he was in elementary school and until his death.

Winter died on May 20, 2009, at his home in Pasadena, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Barbara, four daughters, 14 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

 

Videos that May Interest You

Ralph Reed Talks About Christian Voters Impact On 2014 Elections

Advertisement