the legacy of
Pastor Jack W. Hayford
Learn more about Foursquare’s beloved former president.
Remembering Pastor Jack
Pastor Jack was best known as a spiritual advisor to many, having written many books. He also served as president of The Foursquare Church and leader of The Church on the Way (Van Nuys Foursquare Church) in Van Nuys, Calif., which saw more than 12,000 members. “I have a shepherd’s heart,” said Pastor Jack in an interview prior to his death. “The highlight of my ministry was the pastorate. My heart has always been with the local church.” His significant contribution to the Foursquare family was great, and he will be greatly missed.
A walk down memory lane
A student at L.I.F.E. Bible College, Jack twice senses God speaking to him. The first occurs after Jack answers an altar call, telling God he will go wherever the Lord wants. God replies that He didn’t call him to be a missionary, but that Jack could never be a pastor until he surrendered to being anything the Lord wanted. Then, as Jack plays in the school orchestra at graduation ceremonies, he hears a voice saying, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit.”
After an 18-month-long engagement, on July 4 Jack marries Anna Smith, whom he met in the fall of 1952 after returning to L.I.F.E. for his sophomore year. The couple will ultimately have four children, 11 grandchildren and multiple great-grandchildren. He calls 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. After nearly 63 years of marriage, Anna dies in March 2017.
After serving a five-year pastorate in Fort Wayne, Ind., Pastor Jack returns to California to serve as The Foursquare Church’s national youth director, and then as dean of students at L.I.F.E.
Pastor Jack accepts a “temporary” appointment at the small First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, Calif. Two years later, the pastor reports seeing “God’s glory” in the sanctuary. That marks the start of mushrooming growth that propels The Church on the Way to more than 12,000 members. It will later launch a second campus after acquiring the property of First Baptist Church of Van Nuys.
Pastor Jack writes “Majesty,” one of more than 500 hymns and choruses he pens during his career. Rated one of the top 100 contemporary Christian songs, it is sung in churches worldwide. The inspiration for it comes as he and Anna vacation in Great Britain, including Wales and Scotland. While visiting many of the castles there, he senses the influence one might feel if raised in such a regal setting. The opening lyrics and melody come to him while on a drive one day, and he asks Anna to jot them down in a notebook. However, he won’t complete the song until returning home.
On June 20 of the same year he writes “Majesty,” Pastor Jack starts a series on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) called Teach Us to Pray, which continues until 1980. In 1979 he tapes Ask Anything, a series that includes his teachings on Nehemiah. These 30-minute programs launch his broadcast ministry. In 1987, Jack Hayford Ministries creates a one-hour TV program featuring sermons from The Church on the Way. It is renamed Living Way in 1991 and airs on more than 500 stations until 2002. In 2002, Pastor Jack launches a new program, Spirit Formed, which can still be seen on his ministry’s website.
Pastor Jack was the dean of students and later served as the fourth president (1977- 1982) of Life Pacific University. During that time, Life achieved ABHE accreditation (1980). Life Pacific University is a nationally ranked WSCUC and ABHE accredited evangelical biblical university endorsed by the Foursquare Church. It is located in Southern California with an extension campus in Christiansburg, Virginia.
Pastor Jack launches his radio ministry in October as a half-hour program that airs Monday through Friday. Originally titled FreeWay, it is later renamed Living Way Radio. Though designed as a ministry to members of The Church on the Way, Pastor Jack’s teaching prompts requests from radio stations worldwide to carry it. These original episodes are now available for download on the Living Way With Jack Hayford podcast. Jack Hayford Ministries is a member of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).
Pastor Jack appears on the cover of Charisma magazine in 1993, noting he is one many leaders reshaping the Foursquare movement. Christianity Today would later put him on their cover in 2005 with the headline “Jack Hayford: The Pentecostal Gold Standard.”
While returning home from speaking at a Promise Keepers pastors conference, Pastor Jack senses God directing him to establish a Spirit-filled college and seminary to equip men and women for effective leadership in the church and community. The following year, The King’s College and Seminary opens with Pastor Jack as president. For years it will be the only accredited Pentecostal/charismatic seminary on the West Coast. The school later relocates its headquarters to Gateway Church in the Dallas area, but Pastor Jack continues to serve as chancellor until the fall of 2017, when he receives the title of chancellor emeritus.
Now retired from the pulpit, Pastor Jack accepts the nomination to become Foursquare’s president after previously rejecting the idea twice. He wins the election, and his single term brings major changes to the central office, including full financial disclosure and restructuring of the national leadership team. His term will also see the 2005 conversion of the L.I.F.E. Bible College East campus into the CrossPointe Conference Center and Center for Spiritual Renewal, and 2009’s reduction of Foursquare districts in the U.S. from 70 to 14. Pastor Jack’s term also marks the creation of the Foursquare Foundation, whose $200 million corpus came from the sale of historical radio station KSFG for $250 million. The Foundation was formed to accelerate interdenominational evangelism and invest in fruitful outreaches around the world. In 2018, a bylaw passed to turn the Foursquare Foundation into the Foursquare Endowment Fund.
The year brings the only interruption in Pastor Jack’s long career after a neurosurgeon discovers a serious neck problem and warns that—left untreated— it can cause paralysis. After surgery just three days later, he endures a nine-month-long recovery that includes three months of wearing a neck brace. His problems with recovery force him to stop leading the School of Pastoral Nurture from 2012-2014.
Pastor Jack is one of six leaders—along with Morris Cerullo, David Mains, Marilyn Hickey, Vinson Synan and Reinhard Bonnke—honored as Pentecostal trailblazers at the Empowered21 Global Congress in Jerusalem, May 20-25. Empowered21 was formed in 2007 to celebrate Pentecost in the land of Pentecost. Although Jack had stepped down as global co-chair in 2014 and was replaced by George Wood—then general superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA—he remains an honorary member of the Global Congress. In October of that year, The Church on the Way confers on him the title of pastor emeritus.
Pastor Jack remarries, to Valarie Anne Lemire, at one time a personal assistant to Jack’s mother, Delores “Mama” Hayford. The marriage adds a stepdaughter and two grandchildren to Jack’s extended family, and continues until his death. In his final years of retirement, Jack and Valarie loved going on walks, reading, going to movies, watching sports, and visiting family and friends.