JACK HAYFORD: Bridge Builder and Spiritual Mentor

Jack Hayford graphic
(Charisma staff )

Jack Hayford is the founding pastor of Southern California's The Church on The Way, served a term as president of the Foursquare Church, and is known as a bridge builder and spiritual mentor to numerous leaders.

The author of more than 50 books, he is working on the next edition of The Spirit-Filled Life Bible, which will release next year. In June, Charisma House issued an updated version of his 1993 classic, The Key to Everything.

"Pastor Jack" has more than 600 hymns and choruses to his credit, including "Majesty." A popular conference speaker and familiar to thousands of men who attended Promise Keepers rallies in the 1990s, in 1995 he and 1,500 men recorded Men in Worship for Hosanna! Music.

While returning home from a PK rally, Hayford sensed God leading him to start King's College and Seminary. Opened in 1997, for years it was the only accredited Pentecostal/charismatic seminary on the West Coast. He still serves as chancellor of the school, since renamed King's University.

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One of his most meaningful ministry experiences is connected to King's: the school of pastoral nurture he started during his transition out from the pastorate, which culminated in 1999.

Those sessions included intensive three-day seminars attended by an average of three dozen pastors. Some 2,600 from more than two dozen nations came to the classes over a 14-year span.

About 15 percent were evangelicals. Many showed an openness to Hayford's lessons on Holy Spirit baptism, part of his instruction on cultivating and discipling congregations.

"I would tell them at the beginning, 'You know where I'm coming from,' " he reflects. " 'I want to honor you and respect where you're at.' Easily a third of evangelicals were open to the Holy Spirit without an appeal being made."

The sessions included a meal at the Hayfords' residence. Invariably, at the end of the lunch break, someone would remark they had always been impressed with Jack, but now that they met his wife, Anna, they recognized his secret.

(The Hayford flock includes four children, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. The number of 47 in the extended family is bound to grow, with another family wedding coming in November.)

"Anna and Jesus are the story of my life—in reverse order," Hayford says. "My heart is with the local church. It's everything I understand myself to be called to. My goal is to genuinely walk with Jesus every day, and keep tuned in to the Holy Spirit."

Although six years have passed since he presided over the denomination, current President Glenn Burris Jr. says Hayford's focus on aligning the practical and spiritual planted the early seeds for the Reimagine Foursquare emphasis.

A direction affirmed by delegates at its 2014 annual convention, the Reimagine journey is Foursquare's blueprint for transforming itself into a "global church on mission." "The fingerprints of Pastor Jack Hayford's life and ministry are also seen in the body of Christ," Burris says. "That is evidenced by the way some worship, talk about a Spirit-filled life, seek a balance of the sacred and the secular, and in advancing the kingdom of God. He is a spiritual father to multitudes."—Ken Walker

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