T. Austin Sparks
'Mr Sparks', as he was affectionately known, was born in London, England in 1888. He came to know Christ as a teenager and later became a Baptist pastor. However, his "ecclesiastical" career took a decidedly different direction when a physical crisis brought him to a place of brokenness.
At the same time God also delivered him from his previous prejudice against anything that was related to the "deeper life". As a result, he joined Jessie Penn-Lewis in the ministry of the spiritual growth of believers; a ministry to which he devoted his life and which also cost him his reputation and his career in the denominational circles of England.
He was based in southeast London at Honor Oak Christian Fellowship which is where Watchman Nee met and fellowshipped with him during a visit to England in 1933. Nee's refusal to disavow Austin-Sparks later became the grounds for him being disfellowshipped by the Taylor Brethren. It has been said that Watchman Nee considered Austin-Sparks as his spiritual mentor, and their fellowship appears to have been rich and fruitful.