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by Tom McDonald

Songs entreat presence. Songs welcome Holy Spirit activity. What’s more, songs create the atmosphere for the supernatural.
I believe in legacy. I am the beneficiary of godly, Spirit-filled parents and in-laws. And I have been the recipient of sound counsel from deeply spiritual Pentecostal senior pastors.

High on the list of pastors whose mentoring I have internalized is Jack Hayford. Hayford taught me to view a worship service first from the spirit realm before thinking of it from the perspective of calendar or tradition. Our concern was always discovering the agenda Jesus had for the service we were planning.

Hayford wrote that every worship service existed to serve two objectives: 1) to serve God with our praises; and 2) to serve the congregation with His sufficiency. Each service I participated in with Hayford—over a period of eight years—was about carrying a prophetic utterance from the prayer closet to the pulpit. Convening a worship service was about revelation, not information.

Hayford believed a pastor had five primary teaching opportunities in each service. Most pastors only concentrate on one of those five strategic pastoral moments. Consequently, many Pentecostal services are characterized by a well-planned sermon and poorly planned transitions.

My West Coast mentor taught me that the minister is responsible to bring prophetic insight to:

1. the invocation;
2. the introduction to the worship songs;
3. closing the worship songs;
4. taking the offering; and
5. preaching the morning message.

Hayford believed the Holy Spirit’s ideal for a Pentecostal worship service was first to breathe a living word to the pastor privately so the important transitional elements of a service had life publicly. That way, the prophetic edge of the service—our Pentecostal legacy—would contain a thread of spiritual revelation throughout the service.

Similarly, he taught me as worship leader to configure worship songs into a medley that had a focus—a point. Hayford always strategized our worship encounter—not from a perspective of cool or contemporary, but from a standpoint of Holy Spirit elucidation. When reviewing my list of songs, Hayford always wanted to know what the Holy Spirit was saying to me rather than asking about extraneous details like: “When did we last sing a new song?” or “What’s the latest trend in worship repertoire that we should quickly grab?”

Songs entreat presence. Songs welcome Holy Spirit activity. What’s more, songs create the atmosphere for the supernatural. The songs we chose were tantamount to the words he scribed for the message. Both the aesthetic of the song and the potency of the words were thought of as ammo in the arsenal of the Holy Spirit.

My legacy from Hayford centres on the conviction that praise is a pathway into the presence of the Lord. As a worship leader, my greatest objective is to disappear so Jesus can appear. I clearly recognize that my song list, properly prepared, can usher a congregation from the natural into the supernatural, where “mountains melt like wax” (Psalm 97:5).

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DR. JACK HAYFORD serves as President of The King’s 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. This Article is from Jack’s Book Praying For Those You Love.
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