In this age of scandal and disappointment, what a blessing it is to see a leader finish well. Pastor Jack Hayford, who was promoted to glory on January 8th, 2023, fought the fight, ran the race, and kept the faith.
Pastor Jack was born as a breech baby with a near-fatal neck condition. After prayers for breakthrough, Jack was miraculously healed. A few years later, he was healed from childhood polio. These healings gave Jack a deep reliance on the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit for daily living.
For thirty years, he was the lead pastor of Church on the Way, Van Nuys, California, growing to over 12,000 people by 1999. Fifty percent of his congregation was Spanish-speaking. Randy Remington, president of the Foursquare denomination, commented, “Pastor Jack was a Kingdom ambassador whose influence transcended denominational, generational, and global boundaries.”
Jack served as President of the Foursquare denomination from 2004 to 2009. However, he was widely accepted across the Body of Christ as belonging to all of us. As a child, he had attended, along with his parents, Presbyterian, Methodist, Foursquare, Quaker, Alliance, and Baptist churches. He left a remarkable legacy as a Christian statesman and bridge builder. Ed Stetzer, editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, commented, “He was both a great man and a humble man.”
Jack was remarkably Christ-centered. It was all about Jesus, rather than all about himself. So often, even as Christians, we put our leaders on pedestal, and then knock them off.
Jack was a deep person of prayer, loving to pray privately in both English and in the Spirit. He commented, “Once I come out of the prayer closet, I need to be the kind of person like Jesus, that touchable, true, human, desirable kind of person.”
You may wonder how did he accomplish so much in his eighty-eight years. We can imagine the saints in heaven welcoming Jack perhaps with a rendition of Jack’s song Majesty. It is hard to believe that he wrote more than 600 songs, and over fifty books. He was passionate about enabling others to penetrate spiritual darkness. Jack helped people rediscover God’s Kingdom presence in worship:
“Worship has often been misunderstood as the musical prelude, rather than the means by which we, as the people of God, invite the dominion of his kingdom to be established on earth.”
Jack was President of Life Pacific University (1977-1982) and in 1997 became the founder and Chancellor of The King’s University (TKU) and Seminary in Southlake, Texas. He also was the General Editor of the Spirit Filled Life® Bible and the Spirit Filled Life® Commentaries. Jack had a remarkable gift of seamlessly integrating Word and Spirit.
Pastor Jack had a remarkable impact on Christian pastors and leaders around the world. David Kitz, author, and chair of The Word Guild, recalls sitting under Hayford’s teaching ministry at the All-Japan Pentecostal Conference in 1984.
“Above all Pastor Jack was a man of the Word. He was a Pentecostal with brains. He merged the fire and passion of Pentecost with a keen and incisive intellect. I will never forget how in a moment of prophetic insight he brought healing and restoration to an issue that had divided the Japanese church.”
We thank God for Pastor Jack’s life and witness and pray that his example will inspire many to seek first God’s Kingdom.
Majesty, worship His Majesty.
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor and praise!
Majesty, Kingdom Authority,
Flow from His throne, unto His own
His anthem raise!
A tribute by Rev. Dr. Ed & Janice Hird—Co-authors, God’s Firestarters