‘Gentle Giant’ Missions Leader Floyd McClung Dies At 75
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Floyd Lee McClung, Jr., the global missions leader, bestselling author, and international speaker, has died after a long illness, his wife confirmed Saturday. He was 75.
“My “gentle giant” Floyd went to be with his beloved Jesus at 1:15 am on Saturday, May 29, 2021,” said his wife, Sally McClung, in a statement monitored by Worthy News.
He passed away in Cape Town, South Africa, after an extended illness he had battled since 2016, which left him incapacitated, hospitalized, and unable to speak for over five years.
“Although I knew this could happen at any time, it still came as a bit of an emotional jolt. I will miss him for the rest of my life,” she said. “As my children commented, he was “the love of my life” since I was 16 years old. I’m glad he is no longer suffering. I’ll see him again someday!”
In his more than 50 years in full-time ministry, McClung lived in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, worked on every continent except Antarctica, and authored 18 books. Those books included his acclaimed international bestseller, The Father Heart of God.
A tireless traveler and speaker, McClung spoke and lectured on over 100 college and university campuses, traveled to more than 190 countries, made dozens of TV appearances, his family said. His life and work featured in countless publications, including Time magazine and The New York Times.
McClung was born in Long Beach, California, on August 3, 1945, to the late Floyd Sr. and Enetha McClung.
After spending his freshman year at Taylor University in Indiana, McClung transferred to Southern California College (now Vanguard University) in 1964. He was elected student body president and named captain of the basketball team. He graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in New Testament Studies.
McClung first joined Youth With A Mission (YWAM) on missions trips during school breaks from college. On a 1965 spring break outreach in Las Vegas, Nevada, he met his future wife, Sally. They got engaged in 1966 in Jamaica.
As dating was not permitted on outreaches, “Floyd proposed to Sally by handing her a note while standing in line for refreshments after a meeting, ” friends and family recalled. She responded with a note of her own the following day. They married the next year and celebrated their honeymoon by leading a missions trip to the Caribbean.
“Our married life was full of adventure from day one,” said Sally McClung, “although I don’t recommend a honeymoon outreach with 75 young people for everyone!”
While newly married, the McClungs traveled the country recruiting young people for summer mission trips to the Caribbean. In 1971, following a yearlong around-the-world outreach, they moved to Central Asia. They led missional communities in India and Afghanistan along the hippie trail, followed by many young Westerners.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
In 1973 they moved to the Netherlands, where they led the work on the Ark, two houseboats moored behind Amsterdam’s Central Station that served as an outreach center among hippies and drug addicts.
After the Ark, McClung pioneered other ministries in the Netherlands, most famously in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, while growing in his international leadership role in YWAM. “It doesn’t matter to people how much you know until they know how much you care,” was one of McClung’s favorite sayings.
He served 35 years with YWAM, including 18 years in the Netherlands and nearly eight years as YWAM’s International Executive Director. YWAM co-founders Loren and Darlene Cunningham said in published remarks that “Floyd McClung was a vital foundational leader, serving for many years in YWAM.”
They said he pioneered works in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, the Netherlands, California, Colorado, and other locations. “His life, his teaching, his books, his leadership, and his Godly influence deeply impacted YWAM.“
He has so much lasting fruit – both inside YWAM and among those who came to Jesus through the initiatives he led. Only eternity will reveal the depth and breadth of his legacy.”
In 1991, McClung moved back to the United States and started many leadership training programs. In 1993 Floyd and Sally co-founded All Nations, an international leadership training and church-planting network. Their vision for All Nations was “to see Jesus worshipped by all peoples of the earth, reaching the least, the last and the lost.”
Initially, under the umbrella of YWAM, All Nations eventually became an independent organization and now has hundreds of full- and part-time workers in over 40 countries worldwide.
McClung left YWAM to join Metro Christian Fellowship (MCF) in Kansas City, Missouri, where he pastored from 1999-2005. Since 2006 the McClungs have lived and worked in South Africa, where they pioneered a new All Nations ministry that now sends workers across all of Africa and worldwide.
Don Stephens, the founder of Mercy Ships, recalled his time as McClung’s co-worker in their early years in YWAM. “Floyd McClung was a world changer of the highest order. Inside his towering 6-foot-6 frame were a heart, soul, and mind of gentleness, sharpened through active listening to the issues of our generation,” he said. “Floyd held a rare capacity for offering intimate friendship and trust. He inspired thousands through his prophetic speaking and writing. It was one of my life’s great privileges to have been his colleague and friend.”
In his lengthy career, McClung wrote 18 books, numerous booklets, and countless introductions, forewords, essays, articles, and chapters for books and other publications.
His most well-known title, The Father Heart of God, has sold an estimated two million-plus copies in nearly 40 languages, according to estimates. His other works include Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, Learning to Love People You Don’t Like, Follow, and Leading Like Jesus.
“Thousands of people from all over the world can attest to the profound impact Floyd had on their lives,” said Sally. “While he has gone to be with the Lord, his voice is not silent. His books and recorded teachings will continue to inspire and challenge. His legacy continues,” she said. “The day Floyd became ill, he spoke to a group of All Nations students. In what turned out to be a prophetic word, he asked them, ‘If I can’t continue, will you finish the race?’ His prayer would be that thousands will heed the call to go to the nations.”
He is survived by Sally, his wife of 54 years, and two children, daughter Misha Thompson and son Matthew McClung as well as grandchildren Kezia and Luke Thompson.
Other surviving family members include brother Alan and wife Patricia McClung, their daughter and two grandchildren; sister Judy and husband Jim Orred, their two daughters and two grandchildren, his family said.
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