I first got to know about Doug when he started Reachout Trust in the 80s. I was in my 20s and had been helping cultists to come to faith (especially Jehovah's Witnesses) for some years since my teens. Through REACHOUT trust he took up the mantle of interacting and reaching out to those involved in pseudo Christian cults. We kept contact through the years until 2008 when he asked me to come in to the studios of Revelation TV to be a studio guest on the Talk God programme and later on 'Simply the Truth'. The relationship between us over the last five years became very strong. The on screen banter, camaraderie and humour was not 'put on' it was real. We would take a break and the banter would continue at a local restaurant and then simply carry on as we resumed either 'Live' or recorded later in the day. I was his most regular guest over that time and had been asked to go over to Spain to record a further 6 programmes when he was taken ill in November.
I felt it would be good to put on record some of my recollections and a few comments about my friend Doug.
Doug could accomplish more before breakfast than most people in a full day
Never once in the five years of work together was he ever 'unprepared' for a programme!
He had many guests on 'Simply the Truth' all of whom he made to feel important. However those who knew him well would know his biblical knowledge was extensive and he probably knew more than most of his guests most of the time about most of the subjects in hand.
A sharp wit, dry humour and cheeky smile made him a likeable and friendly man.
His love of waistcoats was on display for all to see!
The area of ministry he worked in for years meant that when needed he could sniff out false teaching and confront it readily and quickly. This didn't make him hard or unfriendly but it did make him strong and a seeker of truth and a confronter of error.
He was a kind man and understood when circumstances made things difficult for people to make the right choices. His kindness in phone ins made him an excellent listener.
He was never afraid of controversy but was not controversial 'just for the sake of it'.
He called me Mister Marmite or the Marmite man, only because sometimes I didn't give the 'party line' answer. He was broad enough to give me space provided I always backed up what I said with 'the scriptures'. The sign of a man secure in his relationship with God is when he can respond with Grace when dealing with someone they disagree with.... there was plenty of Grace to spare when you were around Doug.
He never chased profit, wealth or status and both he and Noemi always put the Kingdom first in practical and financial decisions.
He was prepared to do the 'small things' in a local Church as well as the hard work of 1-1s with people exiting abusive cultic situations. His hands were dirty with Kingdom work. Here was no theoretician, he knew what it was to grapple, to struggle, to work hard to bring truth to light and people into freedom in Christ.
On our programmes they sometimes 'came to life' when we talked about Jesus. We had a few emails saying things like 'I love it when JT and Doug talk about Jesus'. He and I would spark off each other as we said good things, great things about the one we serve. It is true now though that Doug 'knows' more than me, he has seen his face and questions have been answered by the smile of the Master.
Many people will miss Doug. Noemi of course, this lovely lady who partnered Doug in all of their journeyings through life. The children and wider family too, our thoughts and prayers should be with all of these. The trustees and workers of Reachout trust will miss him, he was the creative energy at its centre. Revelation Tv will miss Doug because they will find it hard even impossible to replace him. He could be impartial in hosting a Televised debate even when every cell in his body would be screaming to answer the false views of a studio guest. As Director of Operations his calm and godly (but very humorous!) work efficiency is irreplaceable Those who were established in faith and ministry through his work like Mike and Ann Thomas will miss him and of course I will miss him. It was he who opened the door for me to teach and answer questions on the channel and in the course of doing this we became close friends, there can be no friendship, no love without the pain of loss when loss comes.
So what should our response be to the passing of Doug Harris. It is appropriate to cry, to grieve for all those close to him but there is a greater response. Doug served his Lord faithfully often behind the scenes since his first steps following Jesus. So should we, there is no greater one to follow. Throughout the successes of Reachout Trust and the wider influence of Revelation Tv he was committed to local Church, so should we be. Doug applied all his God given resources of intelligence and energy to produce a quality and quantity of material and a legacy of lives changed that is truly inspirational. Then let us be inspired to do the same with our resources, our time, our lives our 'sphere' of influence. Doug's sphere of influence grew enormously over the last 5 years through Revelation Tv, ours may be smaller, this is however no excuse for us. Whatever we have, however small let us use it for the King.
For whatever many years are left to me I will be using Doug's material in Africa and many thousands of people will continue to be impacted by the life and work of this remarkable man.
So goodbye for now Doug. As we often talked of these things, I know that you have experientially come into the truth of these words 'absent from the body present with the Lord' '...to be with Christ which is better by far'. We look forward to seeing you again as we follow you or on that great day when we who are alive and remain, in resurrection will not precede you.
'JT' John Tancock
Other people whose lives Doug had touched have written about him. Here is one from Mike and Ann Thomas http://mikes4tea.blogspot.co.uk/ (17th May)