Discipleship Any Follower of Jesus Can Do by Jim Hiskey - page 1

From the Fall 2011 issue of Knowing & Doing


Discipleship any Follower of Jesus Can Do
The Legacy of Roy Cook

by Jim Hiskey
Co-Founder, C.S. Lewis Institute

Have you heard of Roy Cook?

Not many people have.

He was a shy person, introspective and withdrawn. At his funeral earlier this year, his best friend said his schoolmates thought he was a nerd. He was often rejected. Once while a teen he thought about strapping himself with bombs and blowing himself up at the school.

It has been my pleasure to be mentored by and to walk with some influential spiritual leaders, including Dick Halverson, Carl F. H. Henry, Jim Houston, Bill Bright, and Charles Malik, all of whom have impacted the nation’s capital in some way.

But I know of no one who has had a more far-reaching ministry of discipleship than Roy Cook. Nor unnoticed.

And, how he did it, can be emulated by any child of God.

St. Paul was Roy’s model. After Paul had been with new believers in Thessalonica, he wrote them a letter. He applauded these brothers and sisters for being models of Jesus. He reminded them that he and his companions Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy had wanted to be examples for them. “We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children,” he wrote. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thess. 2:7–8 NIV).

Note our lives as well. This verse became Roy Cook’s DNA.

“Roy Cook gave his life for me,” Doug Coe said as he spoke at Roy’s funeral. “He could have become a concert pianist. He was good enough, but he gave it up."

“My mother connived a way to get Roy and me together,” Doug said. “When Roy went off to college in Minnesota, she arranged for us to be roommates. When I quit school and came back to Oregon to marry Jan, Roy quit too.

“When I decided to go back to college at Willamette University in Oregon,” Doug said, “Roy was in a couple of my classes. He’d followed me.”

Doug had throngs of friends at Willamette, but no one was attracted to Roy. Doug liked Roy, because Roy was older and had been a merchant marine. “I liked to hear Roy tell stories,” Doug said.

Loda Coe, Doug’s mother, introduced Roy to Jesus. Dawson Trotman and his friends with the Navigators helped him get his start with a daily practice of time in the Scriptures, prayer, and Scripture memory. He began to read the Bible systematically, book by book, and memorize three verses a week. He continued this discipline all his life, and at one time had cataloged about four thousand verses that he had memorized.

Yet hardly anyone knew of his knowledge of the Word. He never drew attention to himself.
Roy was funny.

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