Updated: Jun 7, 2019
It’s hard to describe the full extent of Bob’s influence and ministry.
Born in Northern Ireland, he was zealous for God from an early age, and in his 20’s made the bold decision to move to America. There are many stories of a young Irish preacher, packing out community halls, large arenas and the occasional stadium, with a message for the lost.
Bob met most of the largest Christian figures in his time. Something that was confirmed when thousands of people attended his 50 years in ministry celebration in Atlanta just a few years ago.
At the height of his ministry, Bob received a prophetic word that he needed to write, and writing would reach millions more than his preaching. He relayed one time I heard him, that he didn’t know how to receive that as he thought he ‘preached pretty good’.
Always the Irishman, his story telling and humour was magnetic. He had a way of meeting someone and within 10 minutes, making them feel like they were his long lost family member. He loved the Lord, He Loved Life and He certainly Loved people.
That prophetic word proved to be so true. Bob started to jot down some thoughts and gradually put together what is now known as The Word for Today. He offered this simple devotional to Ian Mackie from the UK who was establishing United Christian Broadcasters. The devotional was well received and kept the vision of UCB UK alive while they applied for licenses to broadcast radio nationally.
Bob’s writing career was born and soon, doors began to open which he physically couldn’t have walked through if he kept to preaching alone. Soon, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Spain and of course the USA were distributing The Word for Today.
In more recent years, the Word for Today’s annual circulation globally to 20 countries is over 8 million copies every quarter. In the UK I was responsible as the Director of Ministry at UCB for the Word for Today for about five years.
In one of those years we ran a growth campaign and distributed 1.6 million copies of the Word for Today in just one year, which was an amazing experience and a privilege to work on.
Like so many others, I bumped into Bob many times, Often in UCB, as well as dinners in London, during recordings he did in TBN UK, in a conference in New Zealand and twice in his office in Atlanta.
No matter what was going on Bob was focussed on the moment with you. He lived out his ministry in person and was sincere throughout. If a 10 minute meeting took an hour, so be it and everyone felt the benefit.
Knowing he was getting older, Bob started around 15 years ago to write two devotionals per day, so there would be a writing legacy long after his death. So imagine you can still read the word for today for the next 5,475 days without worrying.... Bob got promoted to heaven - his voice through the Word for Today has not been silenced.
On a more personal note. When I left UCB to chase after a vision to win 100m million souls to Christ, I happened to have scheduled a visit to Bob & Debbie in Atlanta. They didn’t know but our little family needed by faith that month about £1,800 to cover mortgage and bills. Debbie stated that they had prayed and felt they should gift us £3,000. I immediately phoned Rebekah, who cried !! God answered our prayer through them. They also covered some of our ministry bills for the next twelve months..... That single investment allows us to carry on running an internet evangelism project which has now seen over 18,000 people make a decision for Christ.
I knew they had done this kind of thing for many people in lots of places around the world. We felt so privileged none the less.
Bob was an inspiration to me and I know, to literally thousands of others that have had the opportunity to meet him for any length of time. I just hope when I grow up I can walk the kind of journey this statesman in the faith has walked, touching so many people.
See you later Bob....
You can continue to read the Word for Today through UCB. Just visit www.ucb.co.uk