Pastor Jack Hayford, former president of The Foursquare Church, went to be with the Lord on Jan. 8, 2023. The beloved leader leaves a legacy of international influence.
Pastor Jack Hayford, former president of The Foursquare Church, and founding pastor of The Church On The Way went to be with the Lord on Jan. 8, 2023. He was 88 years old. Considered one of the most influential Foursquare figures since Founder Aimee Semple McPherson, his influence extended nationwide and internationally through his writing, speaking, songwriting and broadcast ministries.
The longtime pastor of The Church On The Way (Van Nuys Foursquare Church) in Van Nuys, Calif., Pastor Jack spent 30 years of his career ministering at the Southern California congregation, originally named the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys. During his time there, the church mushroomed from fewer than 20 people to more than 12,000 members. That growth marked it as a pioneer in the megachurch movement and, at the time, ranked it as the largest congregation in The Foursquare Church.
“Pastor Jack lived a life devoted to Jesus, one which he never wavered in or strayed from,” says Foursquare President Randy Remington. “Thousands of pastors found encouragement, inspiration and lifelong ministry principles through his pastor’s schools and conferences. His books, songs and teachings will continue to inspire and mentor generations to come.
“As a Foursquare pastor, it was always an honor to have his friendship and voice in my life,” continues Randy. “He spoke annually at the church I pastored in Beaverton, Ore.; those times with him will always be remembered and cherished. Foursquare has ‘retired his jersey,’ so to speak. There will never be another Pastor Jack Hayford.”
Although he stepped down as senior pastor of The Church on the Way in 1999, Pastor Jack retained his membership there and received the title of pastor emeritus in 2015. He also remained active in ministry after stepping down from the pulpit. The renowned leader wrote more than 50 books during his career and led a team of scholars in producing the Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Thomas Nelson), to which he contributed extensive study notes. He also composed 500 hymns and choruses, including the internationally known and widely recorded “Majesty.”
Pastor Jack’s speaking and teaching ministry earned him a reputation as one of the nation’s most widely respected Pentecostal leaders. He was often referred to as a “pastor to pastors,” and was a respected bridge between many denominations. His broadcast ministry, which originated in 1977 with a program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), is still viewed today by many online users.
For many years, Pastor Jack guided The King’s College and Seminary, which he founded in 1996 after speaking to 39,000 pastors at a Promise Keepers conference in Atlanta. As part of King’s, he started a School of Pastoral Nurture, meeting with several dozen pastors for intensive three-day mentoring and instructional sessions. The college later changed its name to The King’s University and moved its base of operations to the Dallas area. However, Pastor Jack remained active with the school as chancellor for many years before being named chancellor emeritus.
Born in Los Angeles on June 25, 1934, Pastor Jack grew up in Oakland, Calif., and heard God’s call to ministry at the age of 16. After high school, he pursued that call by enrolling at L.I.F.E. Bible College (now called Life Pacific University). There he sensed God telling him He had not only called Jack to the pastorate, but that He had chosen him to go and bring forth much fruit.
It never surprises me that wherever I travel globally, I encounter people whose lives have been positively affected by Pastor Jack and his ministry: his teachings, his books and his personal life,” says Ted Vail, who serves as VP of global operations for The U.S. Foursquare Church. “He helped transform the Foursquare movement around the world, and his stature in the spirit as pastor and president was pivotal to a period of renewed growth and maturity in our global movement. Without him, we would not be where we are today, and we are deeply grateful.”
At the start of his sophomore year in 1952, Jack met Anna Smith, who so captivated him that by that Christmas he took her home to meet his parents. They were married on July 4, 1954, after an 18-month-long engagement. The couple had four children, 11 grandchildren and an extended family that spanned several dozen members.
He called Anna “the fountainhead of his life” and—along with the upbringing his parents provided—the secret of his success. “Anna and Jesus are the story of my life, in reverse order,” Jack once said. Anna passed away in March 2017.
The Lord brought love back into Pastor Jack’s life in the form of Valarie Anne Lemire, and they were married in 2018. Valarie had been a close family friend of both Pastor Jack and Anna; she had also served Jack’s mother, Delores “Mama” Hayford, in her later years. After their marriage, Pastor Jack and Valarie continued to minister and serve together until his passing.
Although twice considered for the presidency of The Foursquare Church, in 1988 and 1997, both times Pastor Jack declined, feeling he shouldn’t leave his church for the position. However, he allowed his name to be nominated in 2004 and served a five-year term in office.
“Besides my dad, no one impacted me more for the kingdom than Pastor Jack Hayford,” adds former Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr., who also served alongside Pastor Jack throughout his presidency. “No one I personally know has impacted the body of Christ more than this man. His commitment to be ‘in the moment’ with Jesus at all times profoundly influenced me. I loved this man, and his legacy lives on through the many disciples he left.”
Learn more and celebrate the legacy of Pastor Jack W. Hayford at:
The Foursquare Church
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