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David Moore: Pastor Jack

S. David Moore, Pastor Jack: The Authorized Biography of Jack Hayford (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2020), 368 pages, ISBN 9780830781119.

Jack Hayford is certainly one of the most well-known and highly respected ministers in the modern Pentecostal Movement. He has served in pastoral leadership, written Christian music and books, served his denomination, spoken internationally, started a school, and mentored pastors. The author of this book, S. David Moore, citing Christianity Today, notes that the magazine referred to Hayford as “the Pentecostal gold Standard” (page 21). Hayford’s extensive ministry, accomplishments, and impact make this book an important volume in Pentecostal history.

As the subtitle indicates this is an authorized biography. In the foreword Pastor Robert Morris tells us that S. David Moore has known Jack Hayford since 1984 (page 11). Moore has done interviews with Pastor Jack and was given access to Hayford’s journals and personal papers (pages 11, 13). The author also draws from other written materials by and about Hayford. Drawing on all of these resources the author is able to provide a very personal look at the life of this prominent pastor.

The book provides the reader with a panoramic view of the life of Jack Hayford. It contains information about his childhood. He was born into a family that was not very stable. During the first four years of their marriage his parents were separated four times (page 34). This was because the two of them had very different views about things (page 34). Jack was born into this environment. Before his parents became Christians he experienced physical healing. Though he was not brought to the church service a Foursquare congregation prayed for the healing of an injury he had received at birth, and he was healed (pages 34-35). The doctor who had been treating him admitted that God had healed young Jack (page 35). Fortunately, his parents became Christians not too long after that (page 35). Jack also was healed of paralysis in one of his legs, again because of prayer (page 36).

All, however, was not well after his parents became believers. For a number of years his father did not go to church, this resulted in his mother staying home as well (pages 42-43, 45). But his father eventually rededicated his life to the Lord (page 46). His mother taught him to listen for the Lord to speak to him (page 47). She also taught him that nobody has a corner on the truth (pages 79-80). Jack became a Christian at the age of ten (page 53). When he was in high school he surrendered his life to a call to ministry (page 55-56). This is something he had told the Lord he would do when he was younger, if the Lord would help him find a lost magazine (page 53). He already knew what God wanted him to do (page 53).

The majority of the book deals with Hayford’s life in ministry, which is certainly what most people know him for. I would venture to guess that most people know him for his many books, being the pastor of The Church on the Way (page 18), or the writer of the popular worship song “Majesty” (page 20). Under his leadership the Church on the Way grew from 18 to over 10,000 in weekly attendance (page 18).

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, Hayford has carried on a very diverse ministry. Perhaps one of the lesser-known aspects of his ministry was his service to the Foursquare denomination. He served the church as the National Youth Director (pages 108-109) and as the Dean of Students and the Director of Promotion at Life Bible College (page 117). It is worth noting that even when he was a younger minister he was not afraid to address his superiors about things that he thought could and should be improved (pages 119-121). He later served as the President of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (page 277).

Later in his ministry, he became a pastor to pastors; a ministry that he was very good at (pages 213-219). One of his great legacies is that he is respected by people within not only the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements but also those outside of it (page 215). The foundations for this may date back to his childhood. When he was growing up, he was exposed to multiple denominations including: “Friends, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Christian Missionary Alliance” (page 43). His mother’s statement that no one has a corner on the truth (pages 79-80) may also have helped him accept, and be accepted, by those outside of his own church background.

Today we view Jack Hayford as a great success. But he had times of trial and challenge just like everyone else. The book is very open and honest and mentions his struggles: temptations, fear, and depression (pages 72-73, 110-114, 216). In the midst of his success he has been able to remain humble. This is because he was able to understand that his success was ultimately because of God.

One incident near the beginning of the book demonstrates this. At the time, Hayford had a church of about 100 people (page 17). One day as he was preparing to leave the church building, he noticed an unusual sight in the sanctuary. There was a mist there (page 16), a sign of God’s glory (page 17). Hayford’s church began to grow after the appearance of that mist (page 17). He understood that the church’s growth was due to “the gift of God’s presence” (page 155). Pastor Jack was a man of the Word, the Spirit, and humility. May his example inspire other Christian leaders to follow the same path. Not everyone will achieve the same results, but these are truly qualities that God desires in His servants.

Reviewed by John Lathrop

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Category: Church History, Spring 2021

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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