(RNS) — Henry Blackaby, a pastor and author whose “Experiencing God” Bible study sold more than 8 million copies, has died at age 88.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Henry Blackaby,” Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources, Blackaby’s longtime publisher, said in announcing the author’s death on Saturday (Feb. 10).
“He was a great man of God and minister to the body of Christ, beginning with his time as a local church pastor and continuing through his ministry as an author and Bible teacher.”
Born April 15, 1935, in British Columbia, Blackaby had been serving as pastor of a church in California when he was asked to return to his native Canada and assist a small church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, that was on the verge of closing.
At the time, Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon had 10 members, according to a history on the website of Blackaby Ministries International. Under his leadership, the church not only grew, it eventually sponsored a college and 38 other churches.
Blackbacky, with the help of co-author Claude King, would distill the lessons from his pastoral experience in a Bible study called “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”
His approach to ministry was summed up by a short but memorable statement: “Watch to see where God is working and join him”
“Our human tendency is to think and act from a human-centered perspective. We often make plans and ask God to bless them, but God is the One who has the plan,” said his co-author King in a statement from Lifeway released Saturday.
The Experiencing God Bible study would go on to sell more than eight million copies in English alone, according to Lifeway, and was translated into more than 75 languages. Blackaby would go on to found a ministry to spread the message of the book and spent years as a popular speaker. He also served as director of prayer and spiritual awakening for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.
In the statement announcing Blackaby’s death, his son Richard, who is now president of the Blackaby International Ministries, said, “Early this morning, our dad went to be with his Lord. He helped countless people experience God. Now he is experiencing God in ways that surely surpass even his most cherished dreams.
“We were privileged to have a spiritual giant for a father. Hopefully we will honor mom and dad for the spiritual legacy they faithfully handed down to us. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.”
Blackaby was is preceded in death by his wife Marilynn. Survivors include five children and 14 grandchildren.