Chappo: A Straight Talker Who Will Be Sorely Missed

Chappo: A Straight Talker Who Will Be Sorely Missed

Ben Pfahlert
“John Chapman was an godly servant of Christ who died Friday November 16th 2012.
He was an amazing bloke.
Chappo was also a wonderful supporter of the MTS movement over many decades.He attended heaps of Club 5 conferences, spoke at numerous training days and was a keen participant in raising the profile of the ministry. He made hundreds of people laugh with his cameo appearance at the end of the circa 2001 MTS video.”
What I will remember about Chappo is that he was a straight talker. Let me share some examples:

Moore College Preacher Teacher – Chappo taught preaching at Moore College when I went through. It was 1998, it was the first class we had with Chappo and some of the early words were (said in a voice that was remarkably similar to Wally Walpamur from the 1980s Walpamur Paint TV ads), “Brothers and sisters we are going to learn about preaching this semester. There is one thing I’d like to say to you all and that is NONE of you are good preachers, NOT ONE of you. No, not even you, the person thinking, ‘Oh I am’. No you are not.” And that is how the semester started. I was one of the people thinking to myself, “I am a good preacher.” Wow, was I wrong. Chappo requested that we each of submit 2 sermons on cassette tape to him (this was a long time ago). He would then listen to the talk, sit down with us to review it, and then he’d give feedback. It was funny watching all these cocky young blokes walk with heads held high into the small annexe building prior to their first meeting with Chappo. I like everyone else, submitted my tape and then strutted in to hear from Chappo how I was an exception to the “none of you are good preachers” rule. He said, “Sit down bruther. Now tell me bruther, how long was the introduction to your sermon?” This question took me by surprise. I stammered, “Um, er, ahhh” but before I spoke another word, Chappo looked straight at me, opened his mouth and roared, “It was Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive minutes bruther, that is a burning offense.” That’s about all I remember from the feedback. He spent 10 minutes with objective observed feeback ripping this “amateur” sermon to shreds before my very eyes. I left that annexe building that day, with my head down and tail between my legs thinking, “Chappo is right. I AM NOT a good preacher.” He was SO right. Chappo knocked the pride (or at least a big % of it) out of me and did the same for my peers. His straight talking produced enormous fruit.

Table Conversation – I remember chatting with Chappo over lunch at Moore College one day. I asked him how it was that he recorded when and where he used certain illustrations so as to not repeat them for any audience. I then told him about my system for recording the a fore mentioned information (seasoned with some 20-something arrogance). He looked at me with that piercing stare and said, “Don’t be so dull brother”. Then changed topic. [I was very offended at the time, but later realised these 5 words saved a tonne of useless hours tracking stupid statistics].

Bible Talks – he explained God’s Word, the Bible with such astounding clarity and directness that it was exhilarating to hear him. I remember him saying one day, “Don’t pray ‘take away’ prayers, pray ‘help me persevere’ prayers”. Such wisdom.

I will miss Chappo’s straight talking.
I would love to know how many people God allowed to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ through this servant.

To God alone, be all the glory for the life of this soldier.