Wisconsin megachurch pastor Stuart Briscoe, lifelong broadcast evangelist, dies at 91

His Wisconsin church remains the largest in the state, and his media ministry, 'Telling the Truth,' continues to broadcast online and on the radio.

Stuart Briscoe in 2018. Photo © James G. Howes, 2018.

(RNS) — Prominent Wisconsin pastor Stuart Briscoe, recognized for founding the broadcast ministry series “Telling the Truth” and authoring over 40 books, died on Aug. 3.

Briscoe died of “natural causes unexpectedly,” according to a Twitter post from his son, Peter “Pete” Briscoe. He was 91.

The British-born Briscoe transformed Elmbrook Church, in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, into a megachurch with an attendance of 7,000 people, making it the largest in the state. But his evangelism went far beyond the congregation to encompass books and a radio ministry.

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Briscoe was born in the small town of Millom, Cumbria, just outside England’s Lake District National Park. At 17, he preached his first sermon. Later, he served in the Royal Marines and worked in banking. 

He initially worked in international missions at the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers.

By the 1960s, Briscoe was a youth minister and an admired public speaker for conferences worldwide.

Briscoe and his wife, Jill, immigrated to the United States in 1970 at the request of Elmbrook Church, a then-Baptist church with a membership of 300 people.

The Briscoes spent the next 30 years expanding the non-denominational congregation. Throughout Briscoe’s leadership, Elmbrook flourished enough to plant “daughter” churches in the greater Milwaukee area.

Briscoe stepped down as senior pastor at the end of 2000 but remained involved in the church and active in overseas missions. In 2019, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer but was in remission after receiving treatment.

His media ministry, “Telling the Truth,” which he founded in 1971, continues to broadcast online and on the radio. A recent devotional called “Waiting it Out,” hosted by Jill Briscoe, teaches listeners the biblical lesson on acceptance in suffering. Telling the Truth published a dispatch in honor of Briscoe on Aug. 4, calling him a “founder, mentor, teacher and friend.”

“What was important to Stuart was carrying on and finishing strong—saying yes to every appointment God had for him right up to his dying day,” the dispatch read. “And Stuart did just that.”

One of Billy Graham’s contemporaries and friends, Briscoe aimed to “transform lives” in the mutual mission of wide evangelistic communication, forging American Protestantism into what it is today.

Briscoe, whose ministry spanned seven decades, wrote a letter eight years ago, to be published after his death:

“With untold gratitude to the Lord for allowing us to do what has been done and utter confidence that this ministry will carry on doing things God’s way as He continues to bring about surprise after surprise, I move on and look forward to you eventually catching up with me.”

Surviving Briscoe are his wife, three adult children and 13 grandchildren. 

Information about a celebration of Briscoe’s life will be announced at a later date, the family said.

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