John Edmund Haggai: pastor, evangelist, friend, mentor, preacher, encourager, and visionary founder!

One year ago this week, God took Dr. John to Heaven. I think about him so often, and this week I am both rejoicing that he is with Jesus while reflecting on the inspirational, visionary leader he was throughout his life. What I found fascinating about him was not only was he a strategic thinker, but he was also extremely creative in how he executed his strategies. What pastor do you know who purchased a hearse, painted it with the message “Don’t wait for this to bring you to church,” and had church young people in a top hat drive it around town? I remember the twinkle in his eye when he would tell that story!

Each of you reading this post was likely inspired and encouraged by Dr. Haggai in some way, even if you never had the opportunity to meet him. For those of us who knew him, we have our own stories about his special impact on our lives and how he inspired us. While these are a few of my observations, I hope they will be a catalyst for you to think about his legacy in your life as we remember him this week.

Dr. John was a zealot for the Gospel — he had a passion for souls that was unsurpassed! It seemed as if he saw the Great Commission as God’s sole directive for his life, and accomplishing it was absolutely his personal responsibility. He quoted and lived by the maxim attributed to Ignatius of Loyola: “Work as if everything depends on you; pray as if everything depends on God.” It was the passion and the purpose to which he committed his life with contagious fervor and enthusiasm.

God gave him an amazing vision that would not only bring salvation to many but one that would result in local leaders transforming their nations as they work in their spheres of influence. His intent, upon developing the strategy to equip strategically positioned leaders, was to hand it off to his denomination or an already established large global organization to implement. When it became clear no one was interested, he understood that this was the race that God had set before him to run with endurance, and so he did at great personal sacrifice. His perseverance, tenaciousness, and never-ending obedience for over 50 years made an impact on the world for the Gospel that we will only know when we, too, get to Heaven.

Dr. Haggai’s faith in God was unwavering, and his big prayers to an almighty God sustained him. I have come to understand that this deep well of faith and prayer not only carried him through many challenges and opportunities, but it was also what fueled his leadership and propelled this ministry forward.

I am grateful that Dr. John was at ease living in this world and had a keen understanding of it as well as an innate business sense. I knew the wisdom he shared from his many years of experiences was real, practical, and down to earth — even on spiritual matters. What a joy it was to spend time conversing with and learning from him!

While Dr. Haggai avoided publicity at all costs, in my view, he was truly the father of modern missions. The work of indigenous leaders reaching their own nations with the Gospel has never been more important! Often when Haggai leaders asked him about the future of the ministry in the years to come, he would simply reply, “I don’t know! Like David, I have simply served my generation.” When I get to Heaven, I plan to tell him that he was wrong! All that he accomplished when he was on this earth served not only his generation, but the current one as well and, God willing, many generations in the future will come to know Jesus because of his obedience, perseverance, and faithfulness to the race God set before him. I pray that I will do the same!

How grateful I am to God for the life of Dr. John Edmund Haggai!

Dr. Bev Upton Williams
CEO, Haggai International

John Edmund Haggai: pastor, evangelist, friend, mentor, preacher, encourager, and visionary founder!

One year ago this week, God took Dr. John to Heaven. I think about him so often, and this week I am both rejoicing that he is with Jesus while reflecting on the inspirational, visionary leader he was throughout his life. What I found fascinating about him was not only was he a strategic thinker, but he was also extremely creative in how he executed his strategies. What pastor do you know who purchased a hearse, painted it with the message “Don’t wait for this to bring you to church,” and had church young people in a top hat drive it around town? I remember the twinkle in his eye when he would tell that story!

Each of you reading this post was likely inspired and encouraged by Dr. Haggai in some way, even if you never had the opportunity to meet him. For those of us who knew him, we have our own stories about his special impact on our lives and how he inspired us. While these are a few of my observations, I hope they will be a catalyst for you to think about his legacy in your life as we remember him this week.

Dr. John was a zealot for the Gospel — he had a passion for souls that was unsurpassed! It seemed as if he saw the Great Commission as God’s sole directive for his life, and accomplishing it was absolutely his personal responsibility. He quoted and lived by the maxim attributed to Ignatius of Loyola: “Work as if everything depends on you; pray as if everything depends on God.” It was the passion and the purpose to which he committed his life with contagious fervor and enthusiasm.

God gave him an amazing vision that would not only bring salvation to many but one that would result in local leaders transforming their nations as they work in their spheres of influence. His intent, upon developing the strategy to equip strategically positioned leaders, was to hand it off to his denomination or an already established large global organization to implement. When it became clear no one was interested, he understood that this was the race that God had set before him to run with endurance, and so he did at great personal sacrifice. His perseverance, tenaciousness, and never-ending obedience for over 50 years made an impact on the world for the Gospel that we will only know when we, too, get to Heaven.

Dr. Haggai’s faith in God was unwavering, and his big prayers to an almighty God sustained him. I have come to understand that this deep well of faith and prayer not only carried him through many challenges and opportunities, but it was also what fueled his leadership and propelled this ministry forward.

I am grateful that Dr. John was at ease living in this world and had a keen understanding of it as well as an innate business sense. I knew the wisdom he shared from his many years of experiences was real, practical, and down to earth — even on spiritual matters. What a joy it was to spend time conversing with and learning from him!

While Dr. Haggai avoided publicity at all costs, in my view, he was truly the father of modern missions. The work of indigenous leaders reaching their own nations with the Gospel has never been more important! Often when Haggai leaders asked him about the future of the ministry in the years to come, he would simply reply, “I don’t know! Like David, I have simply served my generation.” When I get to Heaven, I plan to tell him that he was wrong! All that he accomplished when he was on this earth served not only his generation, but the current one as well and, God willing, many generations in the future will come to know Jesus because of his obedience, perseverance, and faithfulness to the race God set before him. I pray that I will do the same!

How grateful I am to God for the life of Dr. John Edmund Haggai!

Dr. Bev Upton Williams
CEO, Haggai International