Michael Green passed away on Wednesday 6 February 2019 at the age of 88. Michael had been actively involved in Christian ministry for nearly 70 years as a church minister, author, theologian and international evangelist. He had spoken at hundreds of mission weeks around the world, particularly across Europe and Eurasia. This gifted, godly man leaves behind a remarkable legacy.
A heart for global mission
Michael was a huge supporter of IFES and over the years partnered with a number of IFES movements around the world. He was not afraid to go to places hostile to the gospel to speak at evangelistic events. Often it was his impressive academic credentials that opened closed doors into the university and gave him a platform to preach the gospel. Even in such places, Michael had great confidence in the power of the gospel to save and transform, and many students came to faith through his ministry.
IFES Regional Secretary for Europe, Tor Erling Fagermoen, shared:
“I have prayed today that God will raise up more people like Michael in all countries in Europe, who can be energetic, Christ-loving, gracious, intelligent and impatient to see new people coming to faith. What an example Michael was; what a giant. Let the mantle multiply!”
Investing in the next generation
Michael was also passionate about investing in young evangelists across Europe and Eurasia. One of the ministries he was particularly involved in was FEUER (Fellowship of Evangelists in the Universities of Europe), a joint initiative of IFES and UCCF that seeks to train and equip evangelists for mission in the university context. Michael spoke of how it was one of his greatest joys and encouragements to meet with the FEUER community and hear the reports of university evangelism across the region.
Evangelist Michael Ots, who is also involved in the FEUER network and has partnered with Michael Green at numerous mission week events over the years, wrote:
“Today Michael Green went to be with Jesus. What a welcome awaited him as he met face to face with the One he has known, loved and preached for 70 years. I will miss him very deeply. He has been far more than just a mentor, whose example has shaped my ministry perhaps more than any other – but also a close friend and such a faithful encourager.”
CCX Ukraine staff worker Marina Gnatyshyna is one of the young evangelists who has been trained through FEUER. She writes:
“Michael Green has left a permanent footprint in my life and others. I met him for the first time as a student at a mission in Exeter. He and Michael Ots encouraged us to start doing mission weeks in Kyiv where, lately, both of them came as speakers. Since then we’ve held mission weeks every year.”
Facing death with resurrection hope
Michael never really retired. At the age of 88, he was due to speak at a university mission week in the UK just days before he died. Ill health prevented him from attending, but the transcript for his talk was shared in advance. His timely words demonstrate the confident hope with which he faced his death:
“If Jesus is raised from the dead, and if He promises that His followers will share His life after their death, that changes everything. I am a lot nearer death at 88 years old than any of you. But I can honestly say that I am looking forward to being with Christ in this further dimension of life after death. The solid historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection convinces me that I am not kidding myself but that, as the apostle Paul once put it, to depart and to be with Christ is far better.”
Michael’s prayer for students today
Michael was very much a man of prayer and is remembered fondly as one who would often interrupt a conversation to pray. What was his prayer for the student of this generation?
“I pray that in the next ten years there will be a renewed confidence in the power of the gospel, a new courage to be bold in testimony, in drama, in music, in dance, and in inventing other ways of bringing the gospel home to friends. And that confidence of course comes from going back to the cross again and again, and realising what the Lord has done for us. And if He’s done it for us, He’s done it for others. So woe to us if we don’t proclaim the gospel.”
Join us in thanking God for Michael’s faithful and fruitful ministry in the university over his lifetime, and for the many young people who have indeed found a renewed confidence in the power of the gospel through him.