Dr. Avery Willis, global missions leader and TWR International board member, went home to be with the Lord on July 30, 2010. He had bravely battled leukemia since January. Dr. Willis lived in Bella Vista, Arkansas. He was 76.
“Avery was a unique blend of a true pastor, a strategic missions executive and an activist for the Body of Christ,” says TWR President Lauren Libby. “There are only several such leaders in each generation, and Avery certainly qualified as one of today’s spiritual stalwarts.”
His son, Randy Willis, posted a message on the www.caringbridge.com website early July 30:
“My dad graduated to Glory early this morning, July 30. He died peacefully, without pain or anxiety. My mom, sisters and brother were with him. I thank each of you that have visited, called, written and prayed over his past seven months. Your words of encouragement meant so much to him and to all of us. What a privilege to hear of the lives he impacted during his 76 years. May that influence extend through the generations.
“My dad’s life verse was Psalm 71:17-18, ‘Since my youth, O God, you have taught me and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation and your might to all who are to come.’ And so he did.”
A renowned speaker and conference leader, Dr. Willis was the executive director of International Orality Network. He served as ambassador-at-large for the Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach at Oklahoma Baptist University. Willis and his wife, Shirley, served as missionaries in Indonesia for 14 years.
Dr. Willis wrote numerous books and has co-authored On Mission with God with Henry Blackaby. He also created the well-regarded MasterLife discipleship materials while serving as president of Indonesian Baptist Theological Seminary. Additionally, Dr. Willis was a former pastor and previous senior vice president of the International Mission Board.
Dr. Willis is survived by his wife, Shirley; three sons, Randy, Wade and Brett; two daughters, Sherrie and Krista; 15 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
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