My friend and professional mentor, Jim Reapsome, has died at the age of 88. I worked with Jim for about a decade at World Pulse and Evangelical Missions Quarterly. Jim was patient and kind with me. His management style was to throw me into the deep waters and see if I could swim. (I’m still here, so I guess I passed the test.) He hired me from a distance, after I had freelanced for him during grad school.
His “Final Analysis” column on the back page of every Pulse newsletter was required reading in the evangelical missions community. Here is one of his best columns, from EMQ: “The Pierced Ear,” https://emqonline.com/node/582. I learned much from his down-to-earth, practical, take-no-prisoners style. Jim always remembered that missions was about God and about people. He had little patience for theories and practices that lacked foundation in the real world, but he always made his points with humor and grace.
Besides his pivotal work in missions journalism, Jim played key roles at the Sunday School Times, at Christianity Today, and as a writer of many IVP Bible study guides, often with his beloved, refined, and accomplished wife, Martha. (A professional biography can be found at the link below.) Besides Martha and missions, Jim’s other main passions were his children and grandchildren … and golf.
Jim took an interest in all his employees, inviting us over to his and Martha’s home on Washington Street time and again, all the while complaining good-naturedly about the varmints raiding their cornucopian garden.
Jim’s was a life lived flat out for the kingdom. I fear that few such men–with warm hearts and a burning passion for the glory of Jesus around the world–are left in our day. May those of us who follow you remember your example.
Well done, Jim. Enjoy your crown. RIP.