Today and tomorrow we will be celebrating the life and ministry of Les Ollila. While “Doc O” still has plenty of ministry left in him, this is an appropriate time to pause and say “thank you.” It will be impossible to accurately measure Doc O’s impact, but everywhere we turn we see the fruit of it—and all in the lives of people. Seventy years of life, fifty years of ministry, and thirty years at Northland. He has been, among many things, a pastor, evangelist, disciple-maker, college president, and chancellor. But we would probably best describe him as God’s servant…and our friend. And those are the titles he would naturally embrace.
More than titles though, I think of qualities. I would like to note one quality, that for me, stands out more than any other—humility. As a young man I found this quality so rare in a leader. I find it even more rare today. We have heard, “humility is the soil in which all of the other graces grow” (Andrew Murray). Total dependence upon God. This is how a life will flourish and bear lasting fruit. We also use the word “brokenness.” Brokenness is what happens when we really get a right view of God. There can be no other response. And when we respond in that way He changes us, fills us, and uses us. The world sees God. This is the kind of life we see in Les Ollila. It is why many of us came to Northland.
Thank you Doc O for living such an approachable life, and one that attracts us to Jesus.