Leslie H. Stobbe
Born and educated in Canada, Les Stobbe gained a Bachelor of Theology in Pastoral Theology in 1955. Already an active public relations writer, he accepted a position as founding editor of the weekly Mennonite Observer in Winnipeg, Canada His responsibilities included acquiring books for the Christian Bookstore and ordering curriculum for more than 60 churches.
Four years later he transitioned to teaching English at his alma mater. Less than a year later Kenneth Taylor surfaced his application. He crossed the border in 1960 to became selling floor manager of the Moody Bookstore in Chicago. Verry quickly Kenneth Taylor added to his responsibilities as manuscript review editor on a half-time basis, recommending new book products for Moody Press.
An executive reshuffle caused Les to move to Christian Life Publishing as editor of Christian Bookseller Magazine and associate editor of Christian Life Magazine in 1962. A friend’s invitation to help him capture Canadian media for Christ took him back to Winnipeg in 1966 as editorial director of Cambridge Publishers. He interviewed and wrote up to 40 articles for every issue of magazines he started for his friend, the publisher.
In 1970 Les moved back to Chicago to accept a position as editorial director of Moody Press, where he and his staff published more than 100 books a year for eight years in a wide variety of genre, including children’s books, seasonal publications, textbooks, reference books, a Bible study curriculum. He helped Moody Press director Peter Gunther acquire the NASB Bible for non-exclusive publication. Gaining the Ryrie Study Bible notes moved Moody Press firmly into Bible publishing.
Another executive shuffle at Moody Press precipitated a move to the East as vice-president of books and book clubs at Christian Herald Publications in Chappaqua, NY. Three years later its magazine’s losses precipitated the sale of the book division and Les’s release. God had a stimulating plan for Les as editorial director, then president, of Here’s Life Publications of Campus Crusade for Christ. He served as Dr. Bill Bright’s personal publisher as well as a list of books that enhanced Campus for Christ’s evangelistic efforts world-wide, including the award-winning Witnessing Without Fear, Bill Bright’s signature message in evangelism. He also became a trainer of writers at international conferences.
When Here’s Life Publishers was sold by Bill Bright to finance the opening of a Campus Crusade for Christ office in Moscow, Les wrote a book based on a TV program for a Utah movie producer. This was published by a New York house. He also wrote a “with” book for Dale Evans Rogers, published by Thomas Nelson. Ken Nair, a counselor of men experiencing divorce, contacted Les for a total rewrite of his book, Discovering the Mind of a Woman Just as he finished that he was contacted by V. Gilbert Beers, president of Scripture Press, who offered him a position as editorial director of the curriculum division. He also asked him to take over as editor of The Christian Education Journal. Les supported the move into full-color curriculum, a new series of full-color lessons for middlers, and the hiring of new staff. On the side he wrote fund-raising copy for placing Bibles with prison inmates by Scripture Press Ministries.
When the Scripture Press board approved the sale of both its book publishing and curriculum development divisions to David C. Cook Publishing, God opened another door for Les. He was appointed Vice-President of Promotion and Marketing of The Evangelistic Association of New England. Les developed newsletters for supporters and pastors, while helping the ministry in development of digital media. He did the publicity for all speakers and musicians invited to the annual Congress of evangelicals in New England. During this period he also wrote the first draft of a book for Bill Bright on the Theology of who God is—and the first draft of a book on heaven for another international evangelist.
The dot-com bust of the year 2,000 dried up Les’s financial support at newly renamed Vision New England—and again God stepped in. This time he provided an opportunity to write a first and second level of lessons for a digital journalism course for Jerry Jenkins’ new acquisition, Christian Writers Guild. That completed, he was approved as Journalist in Residence at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. Now his journalism course writing and life experiences morphed into a classroom practicum for journalism students at the college.
Les launched his literary agency part-time in 1993, helping first book writers to prepare their book projects into publishable manuscripts that he presented to Christian publishers. In 2004 he went basically full-time with his agency. Now he was helping writers one-on-one with the practical instruction in journalism he had presented at up to 11 writers conferences a year since 1965. Condensed versions were presented at writers conferences in Manila, Singapore, Lahore (Pakistan), Kabul (Afghanistan), Germany and Wales.
Les released God Moments in My Publishing Life in 2021 and Elk Lake Publishing released his six-lesson Bible study as How God Works: God Moments that Transform.
Leslie H Stobbe’s Writing/Publishing Awards
- Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference Award for Helping More Christian Writers Get Published.
- Canadian Christian Writers Conference for Support of Canadian Christian Writers
- Montrose Christian Writers Conference’s R.A. Torrey Award for Lifetime Achievement as Writer/Publisher
- Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference Award for Lifetime Achievement
- Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: “For 60 years of faithful labor in Publishing we honor Leslie H. Stobbe with this Lifetime Achievement Award, May 2016.”