Evangelism Explosion International remembers Dr. Thomas H. Stebbins, Former Executive Vice President and COO, as An Evangelist, Mentor, and Equipper of Evangelists posted by John Sorensen on Feb 15, 2018
Tom was born in Hue, Vietnam, the youngest child of pioneer missionaries. He trusted Christ as Savior at age nine and received God’s call to ministry when he was 17. After college, he married Donna Stadsklev, the daughter of pioneer missionaries to Ivory Coast, Africa.
Tom and Donna spent 20 years as missionaries to Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in 1975, when he served as a translator for the thousands evacuating through the U.S. Embassy. Tom escaped on the third-to-last helicopter that left from the Embassy’s rooftop.
For the next five years, Tom and Donna served in Guam and Hong Kong. In 1977, Tom traveled to Fort Lauderdale to attend an Evangelism Explosion training clinic at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where he caught the vision to equip people to share the Gospel. When he returned to Hong Kong, he and Donna established the first Asian EE training church, which launched the spread of EE throughout all of Asia.
After 25 years on the mission field, Tom and Donna returned to the U.S. where Tom served as an Associate Pastor and interim Senior Pastor at Christ Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska. While there, he met a young man, who had questions and needed answers. Tom led the young man to Christ and encouraged him to join the church’s weekly evangelism outreach through EE. That young man was me.
Tom Stebbins was truly a man after God’s own heart – a man on God’s mission. He embodied the description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:7. He “believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things.” He was my spiritual father, leading me to Christ and leading me into the ministry. Tom was, simply put, a hero of the faith.
As Global Ambassador, Tom represented EE on all continents. Over the years, he taught evangelism at colleges, seminaries, and at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He mentored hundreds of young men, women, pastors, missionaries, and organizational leaders through the world during his lifetime. Many called him “Mr. EE,” a fitting nickname for one who loved sharing Jesus Christ with everyone he met.
All of us at Evangelism Explosion extend our deepest condolences to Donna Stebbins, at the loss of her dear husband of 63 years as well as Tom and Donna’s four adult children and their families. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:6).
Services will be held on Tuesday, February 20, at 2:00 p.m. at Alliance Community Chapel, 600 S. Florida Avenue in DeLand, Florida, 32720.
Together in His service,
President and CEO
Evangelism Explosion International