A Funeral for a Friend posted by John Sorensen on Feb 10, 2020
Last Friday, Ann and I attended the funeral of a dear friend, both of the ministry, and of me personally. Dr. Ronald J. Kovack was a past member of the Board of Directors for Evangelism Explosion, a clinic teacher, an advocate, and an awesome example of a witness for Christ using EE. He was always looking for a chance to ask the two diagnostic questions and share the Gospel.
And it makes sense. EE was how he and his dear wife Priscilla came to know Jesus in the first place. Ron and Priscilla’s daughter Stacie told the story beautifully at the service. She shared how someone at her school had asked about church. She went home that night and asked her dad what a church was. He said, “I’ll show you!” And that week, they attended Coral Ridge. Ron filled out the blue visitor’s card and an EE team came to see them. That night, both Ron and Priscilla gave their hearts to Jesus, and their lives were forever changed.
As a ministry, we owe a lot to Ron. He was a great leader in the ministry for many years. His media savvy added much to the original production of EE’s materials. His passion was used by God to train many, and lead many to the foot of the Cross. And he gave generously to send others with the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
If I may, I’d like to share a story about Ron’s impact. During the first month of my being on staff with EE, I traveled to South Africa. While touring churches, I noted that all of the Dutch Reform churches were huge! One night, I asked the pastor how that came to be. The pastor ran to his office and returned with a book. He shared how while he was in seminary some twenty one years earlier, during devotions one morning, someone asked, “If anyone asks us if a person can know for sure that they have eternal life, what can we say?” No one knew the answer (not even the professors). They went on a search for the answer. One day, a friend found a book written by ‘some yank’ who thought he knew the answer. He lifted the book and it was Evangelism Explosion by D. James Kennedy.
They began to study the book intently. When they came to the part about OJT (on-the-job training), they were uncertain what to do. So they called across to Fort Lauderdale, searching for someone who might help them to do this practicum. Who do you think answered the call?
Several men, including Ron Kovack, bought a plane ticket and headed half way around the earth. They taught and taught, and demonstrated how to train others, from one corner of the country to the other. Hundreds were trained, thousands came to Christ, and a revival was started that still burns today. It would not be hyperbole for me to tell you that millions have come to Christ over the years because of Ron’s obedience, and Christ’s willingness to use a sold-out servant.
On a personal level, Ron is one of the main reasons that I have a seminary degree. His tenacious love for learning encouraged me onward. My Masters is signed by Dr. D. James Kennedy, as the Chancellor of Knox Theological Seminary. My Doctorate is signed by Dr. Ron Kovack, as Chancellor after Dr. Kennedy’s passing. That’s fitting, and tells the story of Ron’s involvement in my life and ministry. I didn’t have the money for the robe and hood to receive the Doctorate. Ron purchased it for me, and presented it to me with such joy and pride. I’ll never forget that moment.
Thank you Ron. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your devotion to Christ and His service. Thank you for being such a great example of the life of faith. I, and many others, have been impacted by you my friend. Well done.
Brian Kovack shared at the service about Ron’s “life well lived.” I couldn’t agree more.
Please pray for Priscilla and their family as they mourn the loss of a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Together, in His service,
PS- If you would like to see Ron’s obituary, you can find it here: