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Friday, July 12, 2013
A Tribute to Roy Harthern: What He Taught Me About Life and Ministry
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Roy Harthern in his heyday at Calvary

Last Saturday, Roy Harthern went to be with the Lord. He was a great man who left a legacy that has greatly impacted my life and, indirectly, yours, through Charisma magazine and our organization.

Tomorrow, July 13, I plan to attend his memorial service at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, Fla., the church he pastored from 1970 to 1981 during the time that Charisma magazine was birthed, in 1975. I expect a big crowd because he is well-known in this area and affected many lives.

You probably know Harthern as Benny Hinn’s father-in-law. I’ve known his daughter, Benny’s wife, Suzanne, since she was 14. I first heard Roy preach when I was a teenager. My wife, Joy, knew him most of her life since he preached services for her father, an Assemblies of God minister, in the 1950s. When Joy and I moved to Orlando, we visited Calvary Assembly partly because Harthern was the pastor, and we never went anywhere else.  

Charismanews.com wrote about Harthern’s life after he died last weekend, and you can read that here. This is my personal reflection, and I’m finding it very emotional to write this. While others may be able to eulogize him much better than I, here are lessons I learned from him. Even though you may not have known Roy Harthern, I hope these things may speak to your life.

  • He taught me to be open to the entire body of Christ. When Harthern came to Calvary Assembly, it was a typical small-to-medium Assemblies of God church. By the time Joy and I came in 1973, it had grown to 600 members. Later, it grew to 6,000 members, one of the biggest in the nation at the time. Those were the early days of the charismatic movement, and Harthern welcomed people from other denominations who would often attend only on Sunday nights to hear his Bible teaching on end-time prophecy. Often these people would start attending full-time, especially if their denominational church was not open to their new experience in the Spirit. Only in this environment could a magazine that serves the entire body of Christ have been born.
  • I learned how to be innovative, expand and have dreams and visions. When Joy and I came to Calvary, it already had begun a radio program. In the next few years, Harthern built a new auditorium and began raising funds for the church’s current 5,000-seat auditorium. In the 1970s, Calvary started and hosted Jesus Festivals, drawing thousands ...

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