The funeral services for Zachery Tims were attended by thousands of mourners who gathered at the First Baptist Church of Orlando, where Bishop T.D. Jakes preached the eulogy for the late pastor.
In his eulogy for Pastor Zachery Tims on Saturday, mega-church evangelist T.D. Jakes compared the preacher to the biblical Jacob, a man with many problems and defects who was renamed Israel.
The names represented two different sides of the same person, Jakes said, just as “Dr. Tims” was different from “Zach.”
Jakes, who pastors a 30,000-member congregation in Dallas, said he knew both Dr. Tims — the charismatic, compassionate spiritual leader who ministered to imperfect people — and Zach, who was an imperfect person himself.
“I thought I was the only one who know how unhappy Zach was, how broken he was, how afraid he was if anybody was to see any flaw in him. He tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself,” said Jakes, chief pastor of The Potter’s House.
About 5,000 people attended the three-and-a-half-hour funeral service at First Baptist of Orlando. It was a cross between a tribute and a tent revival, with songs, prayers, silence, stories and high-volume preaching. There was more rejoicing than weeping, more laughter than grief.
Evangelist Paula White said the smile was Tims’ defining feature.
“He smiled with his eyes. His eyes showed the depth of his soul,” said White, pastor of Without Walls International Church in Tampa.
A few weeks before his death, Tims spoke of dying in a sermon, White recalled: “He said, ‘If I die — and I don’t want to die — I want you to know I am saved and I’m going to heaven.”
Jakes said Tims’ life, and death, were a wake-up call for many young preachers who are in a hurry to get somewhere fast. The greater the light, Jakes said, the greater the heat.
“The light burns things you don’t want it to burn,” he said.
Two hours before the 11 a.m. funeral, the line of mourners snaked from the doors of the First Baptist and around the parking lot. Many of those in line were dressed in black: men in their suits, women in their finest dresses, and children dressed as if for church.
“He made a great impact on the lives of people,” said Dorothy Douglas, 58, who joined the church in 1999. “He didn’t wait for them to come to him. He went into the neighborhood to bring the church to them.”
Saturday, they returned the favor.
Thousands stood in the heat to pay their final respects to their spiritual leader.
Tims’ ex-wife, Riva Tims, who started New Destiny with him in 1996, commented on his short but productive life.
Following the funeral service, Zachery Tims Jr. was buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha.