“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
This year marks the centenary of the founding of UCCF by Norman Grubb. To celebrate this anniversary, we are exploring the connection between WEC and UCCF through Grubb’s leadership and development of WEC.
After CT Studd’s death in 1931, WEC faced major challenges to the survival and advance of its mission to reach unevangelised peoples. Norman Grubb, Studd’s son-in-law took on the role of UK branch leader and developed WEC’s direction through profound personal faith and a call to greater fellowship among WEC workers.
Grubb led WEC into a period of change, growth and transformation. In the face of global economic depression, Grubb looked to trust in God to provide more workers and the necessary financial resources to expand WEC’s mission to reach more people untouched by the gospel.
Grubb’s optimistic goals were supported by an increase in the prayer life of WEC. Prayer time and devotionals became more open-ended as an invitation for God to lead the mission into new regions and ministries. Grubb’s commitment to living by faith saw God provide more missionaries year by year.
First, they were to trust God to provide 25 new members, then 50 the year after and 75 the next: within five years of CT Studd’s death, WEC’s missionary staff increased by over 400%. Through a call to live by faith, Grubb encouraged WEC to a deeper dependence on God’s provision despite the obstacles.
“Prayer meetings are dead affairs when they are merely asking sessions; there is adventure, hope and life when they are believing sessions, and the faith is corporately, practically and deliberately affirmed.” ~ Norman Grubb
Many remember Norman Grubb as a man with a gift for encouraging and discipling new leaders. Alistair Kennedy, a future leader of WEC, recalled that Norman had a gift for discerning the abilities of those he worked with and encouraging and releasing them into new ministries. He trusted their vision and ability to make key decisions. Under Grubb’s leadership, many new ministries arose as part of WEC. Missionary Training Colleges in Scotland and Tasmania opened and a sending base youth ministry soon followed.
Grubb’s leadership saw more links between sending base ministry and overseas ministry. John Lewis was profoundly influenced and encouraged by Grubb, resulting in the founding of gospel broadsheets Bientot (founded by Fred and Lois Chapman) and SOON (founded by Lewis) in the 1960s. Much like other sending base ministries of WEC, these newspaper ministries established greater links with supporting churches in the UK whose members supported overseas readers through prayer and writing letters of encouragement.
"Good morning Lord! What are you up to today? Can I be a part of it. Thank you. Amen." ~ Norman Grubb
Grubb’s period of leadership also saw the development of literature ministry through the Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) directed by Ken and Bessie Adams under Grubb’s encouragement. CLC later developed into its own ministry distinct from WEC. The legacy of Norman Grubb is evident in WEC’s varied ministries and partner missions: WEC Camps, CLC, SOON and Mission Training Colleges, to name just a few. Without Grubb’s democratic leadership and gifts in raising new leaders for grass-roots ministries, the face of WEC today would look very different today.
In later years, Norman Grubb focused on his own ministry as a prolific Christian author. During his time as General Secretary for WEC, Grubb encouraged all those involved in WEC’s mission not just to plant churches around the world but chiefly to grow in awareness of their relationship with Christ. He regularly contributed to prayer meetings and wrote devotionals encouraging WEC staff to a greater love and knowledge of the Lord. As a result, WEC became a place of fellowship and unity in the leading of the Holy Spirit, increasing the appeal and reach of the mission organisation throughout the world.
Grubb’s insightful reflections on Christian character and the call to holiness through transformation by the Holy Spirit gave the evangelical movement greater spiritual momentum to reach the unreached with the news of the gospel. And to do so as family in Christ This is the legacy of Norman Grubb for the WEC of today, an infectious atmosphere of unity, close fellowship and encouragement to share the gospel in the farthest reaches of the world.