May 2009 - Vol. 30
Words of Tribute to Steve Clark

Jean Barbara (left) and Steve Clark at the ICM in 2008

A Great Man of God

by Jean Barbara, President of the Sword of the Spirit

Jesus is our model because he set his face like flint in serving the mission that his Father had entrusted to him. I have the privilege of honoring one of Christ's disciples who also, some 40 years ago, set his face like flint to serve the Lord in the communities movement and the mission of the Sword of the Spirit. (Years before that, he was already serving the Lord in the Cursillo Movement.) He is a man who, like the Apostle Paul, did not count his life of any value nor as precious to himself, if only he could accomplish his course and the ministry he received from the Lord. 

Is Steve a great man of God? By all means. Many years ago the Vatican newspaper líOsservatore Romano praised his books, giving a laudatory front-page review of his book, Man and Woman in Christ. In the charismatic renewal he is a legend. Among many Evangelical and Free Church brethren, such as Charles Simpson, the Council on Biblical Manhoood and Womanhood, and more than one of the recent Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, he is regarded as a peerless teacher. The whole first generation of Servants of the Word were personally taught and formed by Steve. All of us in the Sword of the Spirit have been directly or indirectly impacted by his wisdom, his teaching, his sincere love of the brethren. More importantly, those who know him well testify to the excellence of his character, the visible fruit of the Spirit in his life. 

Has this great man of God always been the object of international praise and recognition? No: [during a time of crisis for the Sword of the Spirit in the early 1990s] he was sometimes vilified, insulted, and defamed ó even by some of his closest friends and allies.

What was his response? He looked to the Lord, and then did not count his great gifts nor his due position ó as one of the fathers of charismatic renewal and as the founder of the Sword of the Spirit ó as something to be grasped, but rather emptied himself, doing nothing out of selfishness or conceit, counting others as better than himself. Humility is a virtue that is forged in fire, extreme fire, both within and without. Steve joyfully went through the fire. And the fruit of humility is not something to be enjoyed by the humble person, but rather by those around him. For a humble servant becomes the channel of the life and wisdom of God to those he serves. 

Steve is also a man of patience, a man of long suffering, a gentle man of God. I have seen him deal patiently not only with less than perfect teachers and theology, but with brothers and sisters and situations, where the patience of many others would have been severely put to the test. Once again the fruit of patience is not primarily for the benefit of the patient man, but on others who through this gentleness experience grace, confidence and renewed faith. For every notable public accomplishment, there were scores of quiet conversations in which Steve encouraged the down-hearted, guided the perplexed, gently corrected the wayward, imparted vision and built up leaders and community members of all ages.

Steve is a man after Godís heart. As I said before, there is a mystery in divine election, but I would add, in particular in Godís appointment of a founder. A mystery, however, that reveals something of Godís nature, of Godís own heart. A man after Godís heart is also a man who like his master does not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear, but with justice and mercy deals with his brethren. 

I once heard of a definition of three different types of leaders. The first is the one of whom the people say: he accomplished all these great things in our midst. The better leader is the one of whom people say: he and we accomplished all those great things. But the greatest of the three is the one of whom the people say: we accomplished all those great things. 

So, I can gladly say to Steve on behalf of my fellow coordinators: all those great accomplishments in the Sword of the Spirit. ďWe did them!Ē

[Jean and his wife, Marie-Therese have four children: Victor, 22, who is serving as a gapper in Detroit; Nicole, 20, UCO leader in Lebanon; Peter, 19, a gapper in Belfast, and Philip, 8. Jean served as Senior Coordinator of the People of God, Lebanon, from 1990 until 2008 and currently is head of the Community Building Team for the European and Middle East Region and leads the Sword of the Spirit mission in the Middle East. He was President of the European and Middle East Region of the Sword of the Spirit from 1999 until 2005, and Moderator of Christ the King Association until 2002.].

Words of Tribute: Go to > Next Page
> A Great Man of God, by Jean Barbara
> A Vision for Christian Community, a brief overview of Steve's life by Michael Shaughnessy
> A Founder and Spiritual Father, by Carlos Vargas
> Ecumenical Contribution, by Paul Dinolfo
> Steve's Generous Investment, by Andy Kebe
> Books by Steve Clark
> Articles by Steve Clark in Living Bulwark 
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