The Class of Chappo (Grace Abounding Books), edited by David Mansfield

It’s just over 10 years since Sydney evangelist, John Chapman, went ahead to glory, and his good friend David Mansfield has asked 28 of Chappo’s “students” to say how he helped them – and then show how he helped them by providing a mini-sermon.

I’ve read one testimony and sermon each day and it was an absolute treat.

Partly because the group of 28 (and there could have been hundreds included in the volume) come from a wide range of places. There are men and women, clergy and lay, home and overseas, high profile and low profile: builder, farmer, lecturer, principal, bishop and archbishop. So many people were touched by John’s life and ministry. 

The other gift in the book is the way the contributors have recalled vital lessons learned from John. There are theological lessons to do with having confidence in the word of God and a desire to see Christ known and honoured. There are pastoral lessons such as his love for people, his passion in preaching, the determination to simplify, abbreviate, illustrate and, increasingly, be brief.

We are reminded through these friends (the Chappo “class”) that he could be very serious, very joyful, very urgent, very funny, very confronting and very liberating – all in the same sermon. Quite a few mention the clarity John had – you couldn’t miss the point of the passage or its application. Others experienced the “blowtorch to the belly” as John would provide feedback on a talk in a way that was tough but kind.

How helpful it was for me to be reminded in these pages that not all “gospel” opportunities are equal in their helpfulness! To speak into chaos, bad planning and poor inviting is difficult. And yet, as one contributor says, quoting Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2, even if it doesn’t feel like a good time, still do it.

The mini-sermons are full of riches – helpful insights, illustrations and thoughtful prayers. Nearly all the sermons deal with different passages, so it’s a good resource for everyone. 

A great echo of a great man.  

The Class of Chappo is available at The Wandering Bookseller.