It would be impossible to measure the impact that William Still had on a generation of ministers throughout the latter part of the twentieth century. Although Still is now in glory with Christ, his ministry continues to influence ministers on both sides of the Atlantic in the twenty-first century. I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for decades—even for centuries—to come. His fifty-two-year ministry in Gilcomston South Church in Glasgow, Scotland, had a worldwide impact on expository preaching and pastoral ministry. This was due—at least in part—to the fact that Still poured himself into the lives of many young men preparing for ministry. Some of the most gifted and beloved ministers throughout the world spent time learning from Still at Gilcomston South. From all accounts, William Still was the quintessential ministerial mentor.
As a young seminarian, I frequently heard Sinclair Ferguson speak about the impact that Still had on his own life and preparation for ministry. As he expressed affectionate gratitude for the ways in which his mentor poured into him, welling up in my own heart was a longing to have that same blessed experience. However, there seemed to be two obstacles. The first was a fear of rejection. I was too reticent to ask men I admired if they would mentor me because I knew they might decline. The second was the perception of uninterest. The ministers I most admired seemed to be too engaged in their own ministries to mentor young men preparing for ministry. However right or wrong that fear was—and however true or untrue my perception was—of this much I am sure: I wasn’t asking and they weren’t pursuing. In many discussions I have had with other ministers over the years, this is a commonly shared experience.