I had an amazing privilege this week. The Pastor’s Network I am part of worked out an arrangement where a small group of 15 Pastors were able to spend 2 days of intimate time with Jack Hayford. I’ve been to numerous conferences over the years that have had thousands in attendance with all of the bells and whistles one can imagine, but I can honestly say that these past 2 days practically one on one with Pastor Hayford were the greatest 2 days of my Pastoral life.
If you are not familiar with Jack Hayford’s ministry, a short history lesson is in order. Jack and his wife Anna came to Van Nuys, CA in 1969 to assume the Pastorate of a small 25 member church. Over the next 31 years of his leadership, The Church on the Way grew to a constituency of over 10,000 and Pastor Jack’s influence on the Pentecostal/Charismatic community reached epic proportions. Jack has published 53 books and written over 600 songs in the span of his ministry, but by far his best known song is “Majesty” published in 1981. CCLI recently listed “Majesty” as #7 on the all time list of worship songs used by churches in the entire world. That’s quite a statement when one realizes that “Amazing Grace,” “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great is Our God” are also in the top 10.
Beyond that, Jack was a key leader in the Promise Keepers march on Washington in 1994 which saw 1.4 million Christian men converge on our Nation’s Capitol. He also spearheaded what became known as “The Memphis Miracle” when racial reconciliation among key century-old Pentecostal denominations came to fruition. For the last 14 years, Jack has focused almost exclusively on pouring his life into small groups of Pastors and leaders in settings like I was part of this week. I literally felt as though I was sitting at the feet of a true modern day Apostle of the faith.
In many ways, the last 2 days was confirmation of the direction God has been leading me to shepherd our congregation at Fountain of Life yet I was also able to see adjustments I need to make in my life and leadership. It will take me weeks to distill everything that was imparted, but I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of the experience.
The highlight of the experience came last night as our group gathered at Pastor Jack’s home for dinner. The dinner was amazing, but after dinner we all gathered in the living room and listened for an hour and a half as Pastor Jack and Anna just talked about their marriage, family life and shared stories of how God had blessed them during the course of their ministry. At the very end, we asked if we could do something. Pastor Jack said yes, and we broke out in unison singing “Majesty”. I watched Pastor Jack raise his hands in worship with us and lift his voice to the King, still recognizing the awe and wonder of the one we serve with a song God gave him to touch the nations. Time stood still for those 3 minutes as I realized that I had just been part of perhaps a once in a lifetime experience.
I would trade all of my other conferences – Catalyst, Willow Creek and the host of others for two more great days like this. Unspeakable impartation.