Young Life leader richly influenced Fuller’s work
Fuller Seminary mourns the recent loss of John Clifford “Cliff” Anderson, a key leader in the partnership between Fuller and Young Life. Will Stoller-Lee and Chap Clark, who both partnered especially closely with Cliff Anderson, remember him for his life of friendship and commitment to youth, Young Life, Fuller Seminary, and the Church.From Will-Stoller-Lee, Director, Fuller Colorado:
John Clifford “Cliff” Anderson, a longtime leader with ministry organization Young Life and partner to Fuller Seminary, passed away on July 4, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. He was a dearly loved friend, mentor, and colleague to many of us in the Fuller community.
Cliff was deeply involved in the work and mission of Fuller. He was instrumental in establishing the Fuller Seminary regional campus in Colorado Springs, where he taught classes as an adjunct professor.
We are filled with gratitude for a life well lived: for Cliff's unique ability to speak boldly and lovingly for the sake of the Kingdom, his faithful commitment over several decades to the partnership between Young Life and Fuller, and his gracious ability to bring out the best in all of us. He will be missed.From Chap Clark, Associate Provost for Regional Campuses and Strategic Projects:
Since the early ’60s, Fuller and Young Life helped shape each other. In the ’90s, as both had grown, the relationship became less interconnected. However, Cliff—who earned his MDiv and DMin from Fuller—saw the value of holding these two missions he loved together.
In the early ’90s, Cliff’s role in the YL training department provided him with the opportunity to do something unique if not unprecedented: he was a non-faculty member of Fuller’s School of Theology Ministry Division, a closed faculty committee. His friendly, down-home “Uncle Cliffy” style endeared him to administrators and faculty—loved by all, but also a highly respected and eminently valued colleague.
In the late ’90s, Cliff initiated two powerful ministry initiatives at Fuller: First, he had the idea to take Young Life’s “on the ground” training model and offer it through Fuller as a six-course certificate for church-based youth workers. Hundreds made their way into seminary because of Cliff.
Second, he spearheaded the Student Leadership Project (SLP)—a Lilly-funded initiative that sought to encourage high school students to see seminary education as a viable career option. For a decade, 40 student leaders a year were mentored by Young Life staff, Fuller faculty, and Christian leaders to learn what it means to follow Christ as a leader in a changing world. SLP now lives on at Calvin College with YL staff leading the way . . . all because of Cliff.
Cliff didn’t see his Fuller training or role as somehow different from his work in Young Life, or even his ordination as a pastor. He knew that his love for YL and kids, his Fuller studies and teaching, and his love for the church were not separate, but all represented his calling and mission. His greatest legacy was his unflinching and determined commitment to draw all of these together.Photo above: Clark with Anderson, at right.