January 9, 2023
(Tulsa, OK.) Jack Hayford, whose faith and leadership impacted millions worldwide, transitioned from this life on Sunday, January 8, 2023. Known to most as simply “Pastor Jack,” Hayford sought a life of worship and intimacy with Christ, evidenced in his more than 50 books and some 500 hymns and choruses, including the internationally renowned and widely recorded, Majesty. Pastor Jack often spoke on maintaining fidelity to God’s Word, leading to his serving as the editor of the Spirit-Filled Life Bible. Following his 30-plus years as pastor of Church on the Way, his ministry continued to build bridges for leaders and future generations.
While influencing both mainline evangelicals and the Spirit-empowered community, Hayford was adamant that the experiences read about in the Bible could and should be witnessed in the modern world. He gently invited people to see the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives through his thoughtful and articulate teachings that made the supernatural suddenly accessible. Many pastors, leaders, and believers looked to Pastor Jack as an example of how to trust God in their own lives.
“My heart is saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Hayford,” said Oral Roberts University (ORU) President Dr. William M. Wilson. “Pastor Jack was one of the most respected ministers of his generation. Among his many earned and honorary degrees, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from ORU. Jack served Empowered 21 (E21) and the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF) with his anointed signature statesmanship and dignity. Of the hundreds of songs he wrote, Majestyignited the spirits of worshipers across the world. Jack was the gold standard for leading a Christian life and much more. He was the quintessential pastor of both his family and his flock. Pastor Jack will be missed. Indeed, he has heard Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’”
In 1984, ORU bestowed on Hayford an Honorary Doctor of Divinity. That same year, Hayford also presented the baccalaureate address, challenging the students to live before God with integrity and to “…look beyond achievements, success, and prosperity, and strive for a purity of motive, simplicity of spirit, clarity of conscience, and a transparency of soul before God.” In 2013, Hayford provided a special message for the inauguration ceremony when Dr. Wilson was installed as President of ORU. Pastor Jack’s prayerful support added a meaningful touch to the University as the only higher education institution in the world founded on the Holy Spirit.
His love for leaders prompted Hayford to serve alongside Dr. Wilson as the inaugural Global Co-chair for E21, the world’s largest relational Spirit-empowered network. Hayford’s tenure lasted from 2010 until 2014, when he became an honorary member of the Global Council. In one of his last sessions with the E21 leaders, Hayford spoke from Exodus, and used Moses' experience with the burning bush when presenting the question, "Who am I that God can use me?" "There is a call of God upon every one of us," Hayford said. "Sometimes you may feel as if you are marking time, but as He did with Moses, God redeems time ... God's call on you is an unquenchable one."
Hayford’s leadership expanded to serve as president of the Foursquare denomination and was also recognized by the PWF. Hayford’s social decorum and intellectual approach helped the global recognition of mainstream Pentecostalism. Pastor Jack’s consecration to the “passion for fullness” contributed to the growth and acceptance of the Spirit-empowered community. For his contributions, the PWF made him an honorary member of the Advisory Committee.
As a musician, Hayford won the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award for his part in the album God with Us, as well as for serving as the worship leader on the Men in Worship album. In March 2014, Hayford was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Dr. Wilson reflected, “Jack Hayford was a father to the Spirit-empowered movement. Some people leave this earth without sharing much of their wisdom. Jack left this earth with his wisdom distributed in lives across the world.”