Longtime editor, author, missiologist James Reapsome leaves rich publishing legacy

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By Sara Schmidt

James Reapsome, former editor of the Evangelical Missions Quarterly and longtime editor, author, professor, and pastor died June 26 at the age of 88 in Downer’s Grove, IL.

Reapsome’s writing career began as a sports and news writer while in college, seminary, and the Armed Forces in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Texas. His foray into Christian publishing started with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Chicago, then the Sunday School Times in Philadelphia, and later Christianity Today in Wheaton, IL., where he served as managing editor.

He founded the Evangelical Missions Quarterly in 1964, serving as its editor for 33 years. A thought leader in missiology, Reapsome’s writing and editing reshaped the conversation, encouraging analysis and fostering innovation.

A prolific book, magazine, and curricula writer, he and his wife Martha also wrote numerous Bible study guides for InterVarsity Press and subsequently for Harold Shaw (now part of Random House) and Zondervan, selling more than 640,000 copies of their IVP study guides alone.

jim-reapsome-portraitIn 1991, Reapsome received the Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Evangelicals. He mentored countless journalists, students and missionaries, and at various times served as a professor at Malone College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Columbia International University. He served on the boards of Latin American Mission, Arab World Ministries, and Greater European Mission.

He pastored as well, in the early years pastoring Congregational Bible Church in Marietta, PA, where he inspired members to engage actively in global missions. After he retired from the Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Reapsome served as associate pastor at Western Springs Baptist Church, and after moving to Oak Trace Community, he preached frequently at Oak Trace Chapel, delivering his last sermon in May.

His most recent study guide, “The Jesus Paul Knew,” will be published posthumously by InterVarsity Press.

Reapsome was a long-time supporter of many missions outreaches and organizations, including Magazine Training International, where he was a member of the Board of Advisors. Those who would like to honor his life may donate in his memory to the organization at http://magazinetraining.com/donations/memoriam-jim-reapsome/

Or, donations may be made in his memory to FOCUS Mulago Child Project, Kampala, Uganda c/o Faith and Learning. PO Box 480 Wheaton, IL 60189.

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