It's the final shot when the game is in overtime.
The first discernible words from an infants babble.
Those most anticipated words in anyone’s life; "I do."
The things that we can’t help but remember; the moments that mark time.
Spiritual moments can not only mark a special time but literally, change the future. It’s our conversion experience, our marriage union beyond the words… these opportunities that engage something more powerful that the natural world. Yet, they can also be overlooked, taken lightly or simply missed for want of discernment.
Twelve years ago, when The Rock opened its doors for the first time, was, yes, physical moment but one that had deep spiritual implications for thousands of people who were yet to discover it. Those who were yet to discover Jesus. Those yet to discover intense discipleship. And last Sunday as Dr. Jack W Hayford made his way to the stage, I became aware that this was another of those times.
To the average church-goer it was a great treat to have this well-known, internationally-respected elder of the Church come to share with us. It was even more exciting to think he was going to come into some sort of relationship with "our church". But the visit was more than an honor, and the relationship is more than an extra title to be touted. The moment was holy and it's reality something super-natural.
As a growing, and (may I be so bold) healthy, spirit-filled church many people could look at The Rock as though "it" is something great. the reality is, "it" is only as "great" as the people and leadership that comprise this local body. Our pastors, leaders, partners, team-members, and weekly attendees are what create the good, the great and the less than perfect make-up of this body of Believers. However, as any institutional leader will tell you "everything rises and falls on leadership." If the group isn't being led well, then the whole is not only in jeopardy, but undeniably in trouble.
As he introduced Dr. Hayford (lovingly called Pastor Jack by tens of thousands or more), Pastor Jerry exposed his own heart, "I've never been a Sr.Pastor before The Rock, and every time we grow, I've never pastored a church that large!" Pastor Jack who led the Church on the Way for many years in Van Nuys, CA saw that congregation grow to thousands of weekly attendees. It's with this experienced pastoral ministry that he has been personally invited to speak into the ministry and leadership of The Rock. The Modis operandi behind this relationship was also clarified up front by our Sr. Pastor; "Jack and Anna aren't going to move to Orange County or keep office hours here, this is a spiritual relationship."
Scripture clearly lays out that Jesus gave "gifts" to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8) in the roles of leadership overseeing the local churches. Many wrongly assume that because we don't refer to people with these titles anymore (apostle, prophet, evangelist, etc) they don’t exist. Rest assured, Jesus didn't take His gifts back! And for us at The Rock, we were just blessed with another present from heaven.
Pastor Jack shared of a quick and binding connectedness that he’s felt with The Rock since his first visit. He expressed the great pleasure and honor he felt in being asked to take on this role of "Apostolic Elder.” It was with great joy and honor that we, the pastors, leaders and people of The Rock, received him and the powerful, prophetic message he brought (Three Words for Today 5/20/12).
The reality of what Pastor Jack will bring to The Rock will never be found in his name on our website or some amount of bragging rights bestowed. In fact, the visible may never plainly reflect the reality of what transpired on Sunday. It is the grace of God upon this one man’s life, the "mantle" of leadership he carries that now have been intertwined with the ministry at The Rock. Just as Psalm 133 declares how the anointing flows from the head, downward; we, those who call The Rock home are now, spiritually under some of that same flow.
Our church will remain all about Jesus. We will forever be about building solid lives. But this last week, something special happened… something we marked with the laying on of hands, but something that we should all remember, for in the spirit – the future was changed.
Associate Pastor, The Rock
Pastor Jack Hayford
Jack Hayford knows the awesome power of God firsthand. When he was a baby, he was gripped by a life-threatening illness. But as a result of the earnest prayers of friends and family, he was miraculously healed. The doctors had no other explanation except that the grace of God snatched him back from the brink of death. Several years later, Jack was struck down again by sickness. This time it was polio. The church elders anointed him and prayed for his recovery. God heard their petitions and granted a second miracle. These two extraordinary events ignited in Jack's heart a passion for God and convinced him that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in the contemporary church. "Contrary to our preconceptions, God is not economical with healings and miracles. Such wondrous works are frequently attending the proclamation of truth in Jesus' name," asserts Pastor Jack.
Jack Hayford serves as President of The Kings University (formerly The King's College and Seminary) in Los Angeles, which he founded in 1997. From 2004 to 2009, he also served as President of The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. He is probably best known, however, as "Pastor Jack," founding pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California, where he served as senior pastor for more than three decades. A prolific and best-selling writer, Pastor Hayford is the author (or co-author) of more than 100 books and has composed 600 hymns and choruses, including the internationally known and widely recorded "Majesty."
He is an acknowledged "bridge-builder," helping to forge healthy bonds among all segments of the Body of Christ. He is recognized for his balance in preaching the Word, and avoiding extremes while not diluting or compromising the demands of truth. Pastor Jack's heart to bring unity across all denominational and racial boundaries has given him an open door to minister in all kinds of settings. On May 20, 2012, Pastor Jack was installed as an apostolic elder to The Rock.
Dr. Hayford and his wife, Anna, have four children, eleven grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren.