BREAKING NEWS: Call2all Co-Founder Avery Willis Dies At 76
By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent
WASHINGTON DC. USA (Worthy News)– Missionary Avery Willis, the co-founder of one of the world’s largest evangelistic movements ‘Call2all’, has died after losing his battle with leukemia, his family and the movement’s president confirmed Friday, July 30. He was 76.
“My dad graduated to Glory early this morning, July 30. He died peacefully, without pain or anxiety,” said his son Randy Willis in a statement obtained by Worthy News and its news partner BosNewsLife. “My mom, sisters and brother were with him,” he added.
He said many Christians had encouraged his father since he announced he had been diagnosed with leukemia in January this year. “What a privilege to hear of the lives he impacted during his 76 years. May that influence extend through the generations.”
Call2all, launched in 2007, was one of Willis last major efforts to reach the world with the Gospel. The movement, which has been holding international congresses around the world, is aimed at encouraging the Christian church to what it calls “a renewed, focused collaborative effort to fulfill the Great Commission.”
The ‘Great Commission’ is a reference to Jesus words in Bible verse 28:18-20: “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Willis made clear he believed the Call2all movement could play a major role in realizing that Great Commission within the next few years.
A former pastor, he became internationally known for his passion for missions and evangelizing at a young age. He became a missionary as a young man in 1964 and later used his experiences to supervise several mission-related projects, including as vice president of the International Mission Board of the US-based Southern Baptist Convention denomination.
Willis said in recent comments to Baptist Press news agency that he realized “the urgency of the missions task” and said that although he was surprised by the leukemia diagnosis, God was not.
“It’s really going to be interesting to see what God has in store for all of this, especially in light of the fact that 2010 is probably the biggest year that I’ve been involved in missions and prayer and discipleship,” Willis said at the time.
He also developed the MasterLife disciple process, encouraging people through training and writing to get “a more personal” relationship with Christ.
“Avery was a truly godly, humble and gentle man, but a giant in world missions,” said Call2All President Mark Anderson. “He helped launch the Call2all movement and served on the Executive leadership team, in many ways his life embodied what Call2all is.”
Anderson said he would never forget a worship time with Willis at a Call2all congress where “a loud, youth orientated band” was playing on stage”. It was “certainly not this 75 year’s old favorite style of music,” Anderson recalled. Yet, Willis, “was on the front row and I was actually concerned that the volume levels would bother him. Instead, to my amazement he laid face-down sprawled out on the carpet worshiping Jesus.”
When the worship set finished Anderson said he looked “at the spot where he had been laying, it was wet from his tears. He had been weeping” while he worshiped.
“It might be difficult for some to adjust to heaven, but I don’t think that will be true of Avery Willis. He will be right at home,” Anderson added.
Randy Willis agrees. “This is not a time to mourn as those who have no hope,” he told BosNewsLife in a statement. “If my dad were still here, he would say: “We should be mourning for those that have no hope – those that do not know the Creator of the universe, the Forgiver of sin, the Eternal God – for the billions of people in the world that do not know the power of the name of Jesus.”
He said funeral “and memorial arrangements” would be announced later. Instead of his late father asked donations to be made to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or the International Orality Network, two major Christian mission groups, Randy Willis added.