John H. Armstrong has enjoyed writing from earliest remembrance. As early as second and third grade he was spurred to read and write. Excellent teachers and insightful parents saw this in him and nurtured it brilliantly. While he finds his writing is often hard work it is the work that genuinely fills his mind with deeper love for learning and greater love for God and creation.
John’s work in the present centers around his writing. Yet so long as God allows he will be committed to mentoring, teaching and being a true friend. The latter, making and loving true friends, has marked his journey for as long as he can recall.
Born on March 1, 1949, in Lebanon, Tennessee, John is the second of two sons to a dentist and homemaker. He once dreamed of being a professional baseball player. After much failure in the sport, he wanted to become a baseball writer. (He also considered being a lawyer since politics was a teenage passion.) The great surprise came in his latter teen years when he experienced a distinct call to pursue the Christian ministry. But his passion for writing remained strong at every turn and only developed during his twenty years of pastoral work.
Eventually John would author/edit seventeen books, including his newest, Costly Love: The Way to True Unity for All the Followers of Jesus (New City Press, Hyde Park, NY: 2017). He has also produced several film documentaries on church history and mission and is currently producing a four-part film series on the power of shared relational faith in the mission of Jesus.
John is married to his wife Anita (1970) and has lived in suburban Chicago since 1969. He is the father of two adult married children and the grandfather of two girls and two boys.
On June 30, 2019, he retired as the president of The Initiative, an ecumenical community he helped to found in 2016. In his retirement from formal ministry responsibilities John remains a life-long baseball fan and a devoted follower of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He loves to walk, somewhere between 15-20 miles a week, and enjoys reading, especially American and Christian history, politics, biblical theology, missions, ecumenism and various types of poetry and fiction.
Dr. John H. Armstrong is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America (RCA). John graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy (Lebanon, TN) in 1967 and then attended the University of Alabama (1967-69). He transferred to Wheaton College where he received his B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1973) degrees. He later received a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta (1979).
In 1981, while pastoring a church in Wheaton, John launched a monthly gathering for church leaders called the Whitefield Ministerial Fellowship. This meeting drew men and women from across a wide spectrum of churches and backgrounds. Leading this group led John to eventually establish four similar Chicago area groups, resulting in a growing social and spiritual network. Over time he found himself regularly interacting with leaders from all denominations meeting over a wide variety of subjects. As a result he began to serve diverse congregations and missions as a consultant and spiritual advisor. This journey led to the birth of a new ministry (1991) that became the ACT3 Network several years later.
In the fall of 2018 ACTS3 Network became The Initiative, an intentional missional and ecumenical community designed for assisting in the healing of the North American church. The Initiative is made up of pastors and lay members from all three major Christian traditions: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.