Billy Graham Center

Paul Stough interview excerpt

We had our own elders and eventually we had our own ordained pastors. We had two of them because there were two tribes on that station... I've never forgotten when we had the ordination service for these two men and after the service we sat down and took our place in the front with the elders and the pastors then went on and carried on the communion service for the first time. It really was a moving thing for me to realize that these folks that we had grown up with, or they had grown up with us, were now taking responsibility in the church leadership. These men had had two years of training in the Bible school and they had many, many years of practical experience in church leadership and on the basis of their knowledge of the Word they were chosen (and responsibility and experience) they were ordained as pastors.

Every Thursday we used to gather in my office...[to review] any cases that came before the church. ...The church took care of all matters of discipline problems and so forth. Well, I tried then to put myself in the background and let the elders carry on. ...It was always a bit embarrassing you know. Sometimes they had met beforehand. Before they came to the office they'd sat around their fire somewhere and discussed these things and so a case would come to the office and they'd say, "Well, now this case we have before us involves this and this and this. What, what would you do in a case like this, Bwana?" And they'd put me on the spot and so I would think for a few minutes and say "Well, I think we should do thus and so." And then they would sort of smile and say, "Yeah, we discussed this already before and that's the decision we came to." I was always very gratified and relieved when I found out that I'd came up with the same answer that they had, and if my answer was different of course then I'd explain why I had come to my conclusion.

Excerpt from an oral history interview conducted by Archives staff in 1979 with Rev. Paul Stough. Stough grew up in Wheaton, graduated from Wheaton College in 1923, and worked in both Zaire (1928-1964) and Kenya (1964-1976) with Africa Inland Mission. Stough served as an evangelist, supervisor and trainer of national evangelists, church planter and administrator. While in the Belgian Congo/Zaire, he observed both the country's independence movement in 1960 and a nationalist uprising in 1964. Stough died in 1992. If you would like more information about Stough, want to see abbreviated summaries of this three interviews, or want to read full-text transcripts of those, click here.

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Last Revised: 8/8/00
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2005