Pastor John Lancaster: Now with Christ

I was saddened to learn over the last day or so that one of my former pastors has been promoted to glory. Sad, that is, for his immediate family, though with him I rejoice at his present circumstance. Pastor John Lancaster was already retired by the time I joined Bridge Street Church in Leeds back in 1998, but I enjoyed his preaching and his aura of ‘elder statesman’. Pentecostalism is a vibrant and lively expression of Christianity, and this can sometimes lead to excesses and big, powerful personalities dominating congregations. Not so with Pastor Lancaster. His preaching was incisive, his humility genuine, his level-headedness an example for others.

Having moved on from the church in Leeds, it was my privilege to invite him to come and to speak at the church in Blackburn at which I was then an elder. The local pastor and his wife were providing us with lunch, and I had arranged to transport our esteemed guest in my car after the service. Alas, the M65 was closed on account of a collision, and there we sat, stationary, until the police got moving the traffic. I would normally have been annoyed by this, but I reckoned it a particular honour to steal an extra half hour of this man’s time and wisdom. We talked about pastoring, the challenges facing believers, and how to best preach to congregations. I secretly wished the jam would last longer- something I have never done before or since.

Pastor Lancaster no longer has advice to give, sermons to preach or churches to grow, for he now has something far better to do: he gazes upon the glorious, radiant face of the Lord Jesus whose gospel he had faithfully preached and for whose honour he spent his life. Much as I mourn with those who mourn and send my sympathy and love to those he leaves, I can categorically state that John Lancaster has never been happier, healthier and wealthier than he is right now.

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15, NKJV.