In 1996, Pastor Jack Hayford felt the Lord say, “Found a seminary.” He was 62 years old, and he was widely respected and successful. Yet at a time of life where most men begin slowing down, he took on the gargantuan task of starting a seminary—the only one in the charismatic/Pentecostal community west of Oklahoma.
At the time, he served as the senior editorial adviser for Ministry Today, so I had a close working relationship with him. Working with him has made a huge impact on my life. When he asked me to serve on the founding board of directors for the university, I was honored and have served since 1997.
On Thursday, the King's University officially moved its headquarters from Southern California to Southlake, Texas, and the campus of Gateway Church, pastored by Robert Morris, chairman of the board of trustees for King's.
Pastor Hayford stood in Gateway’s former sanctuary—remodeled as a state-of-the-art campus for the university—and reflected that, by starting the seminary in his 60s, he was, in a way, doing something similar to when Abraham fathered a son in his old age. It was a miracle, which meant all the glory goes to God.
In 13 years, Gateway Church has grown to 20,000 members on a $104-million campus on 180 acres and a paid staff of more than 500. It was founded and pastored by Morris, who, like me, has been impacted greatly by Hayford.
In addition to the board meeting Thursday, a ribbon cutting and dedication of the new King's campus was held. Worth more than $10 million, Gateway put another $6.8 million into its remodeling. I had never been there, and I was blown away.
Many dignitaries and friends of the King's University attended. It was a happy, joyous occasion as a new vision was birthed. From the Texas administrative hub, there will be satellite campuses around the nation, mostly on megachurch campuses. There are already 10 campuses—either teaching sites or satellite campuses—and many more are in the works. The campus in Southern California is on the campus of Church on the Way, where King's was founded, and will continue to serve that community. The administrative offices have simply moved.
The vision is to train a new generation for ministry at a time that’s needed more than ever and to partner with churches that have the facilities and resources and vision to make it happen. Online training is also a big part of the future.
I believe in Christian higher education. I have close ties to several institutions. In fact, each year we publish Charisma’s Best Christian Universities, Colleges and Schools. You can access a copy of the latest issue here or by visiting the website. Also available is Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education. Get it by clicking here.
As a news item, this ribbon cutting is probably no more significant than many similar events at other institutions of higher learning or churches around the country. We don’t cover all of them, often because we are not aware of them.
But in this case, I wanted to share my joy at having attended the event and having served on this board for so long. If you have been impacted by Gateway Church, the King's University or the ministry of pastor Jack Hayford, please leave a comment below.