The passports of Stuart and Jill Briscoe could be mistaken for those of U.S. diplomats. Stamps for Rwanda, India, Austria and the Ukraine, just to name a few countries, will fill the pages this year. They’ve traveled to all seven continents, including Antarctica, in their long careers. Their favorite country is New Zealand.
“We both love New Zealand,” says Stuart. “It’s [like] going back to the England we grew up in.”
After stepping down from a 30-year stint as pastors at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield some 16 years ago to help train pastors in the developing world, the couple find themselves as busy as ever. The Lake Country residents, both in their 80s (Stuart is 85, Jill is 81), show few signs of slowing down.
In addition to their domestic and international travel, the duo recently published a book, “Improving with Age,” and they’re working on a second one. The first one, available at the bookstore at Elmbrook Church, includes some discussion about retirement.
“In the first half of life, men live for success,” says Stuart. “In the second half of life, men live for significance.”
With some 40 years of recorded sermons, the couple is using the airwaves to reach around the world with their media ministry, Telling the Truth. The nonprofit also features sermons from their youngest son, Pete, the senior pastor at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas. The couple have two other children, David and Judy, and 13 grandchildren.
Before his professional involvement in ministry, Stuart was a bank examiner. “I didn’t leave the bank out of dissatisfaction,” he says. “It was a fulfilling career. I had enormous opportunity.”
He began preaching at Christian coffeehouses and later opened a few himself. “Some of the groups drew crowds of 1,000 people,” he says. But juggling the two careers left no time for his family.
Jill was a schoolteacher who left the classroom to raise their children and work in ministry. The couple met while doing youth ministry. “My wife and I were invited to work with German immigrants after World War II,” Stuart says. For 11 years, they traveled internationally.
They came to the U.S. to speak at various churches, including Elmbrook. The then-tiny Brookfield church invited Stuart to become their pastor. “I agreed to stay one year,” he says. The rest, as they say, is history.