Greensboro Loses a Pillar of the Christian Community

On yesterday afternoon, the Christian community of the Greater Greensboro and surrounding areas was hit with the devastating news of the death of Bishop Otis Lockett Sr. Bishop Lockett was the longtime pastor of Evangel Fellowship Church of God in Christ. To say he touched a lot of lives would be a gross understatement.

I received the news while at work via a voice message from my mom. I then proceeded to call my sister to alert her of the news.

When I first heard the opening lines of my mom’s message, I immediately thought she was about to tell me that my grandfather had passed away. He has battled an assortment of physical ailments over the last several months and we were just down to see him on last Sunday for our annual family reunion. Plus there is always that strange coincidence I’ve heard of people spending time with a loved one shortly before they pass. I will admit that I was shocked by the news. I knew he had been sick, but I didn’t know to what extent. Just like in any good movie, I expected him to beat the bad guy (cancer) and come out on top for a happy ending.

He had been fighting cancer for quite some time and I’ve learned enough about cancer to know that it’s a very swift and unfair disease. I can’t imagine the physical toll it took on him over these last few months. As my mom and I were discussing the news last night, she said a line that pretty much summed up the situation from a physical perspective. She said his spirit was likely as strong as ever, but his body was just weak from the toll the cancer had taken on him. He had a form of leukemia.

My own pastor, who was like a spiritual son to Bishop Lockett, had attended his pastoral anniversary service this past summer and always encouraged our congregation to keep him in our prayers. Apparently, he was not looking too good and I do remember him telling us that he regularly used an oxygen machine. I’m sure it was difficult for the members of his congregation, friends and family members to watch what he had to endure over the past couple of years.

This ordeal has given me a greater thirst to actually go out and become more knowledgeable about the various types of cancer and their causes. Immediately after talking to my sister, I went back into my cubicle at work and began to research some different forms of cancer on the internet. I even looked at some pictures taken from the autopsies of various cancer victims so that I could examine the tumors. It was not a pretty sight.

On a personal note, his passing is extremely significant for many reasons. The man was a pillar of the Christian community-at-large in the Triad area and I can’t even begin to give a numerical estimation of the amount of people who came to accept Jesus Christ into their lives via his ministry. Evangel was established in the late 80s and so many of the people that have played a pivotal role in my life came through his ministry, including my own parents. In an indirect kind of way, the actions of Bishop Lockett set the course for much of what has transpired in my life. Our family attended Evangel from the late 80s through 1996 when we moved to Reidsville. My current pastor came from Evangel as well. The same can be said for many of my current church members. My pastor’s preaching style was heavily influenced by the things he learned while serving under Lockett. If my family had never met Bishop Lockett then there is a strong chance that I would’ve missed out on meeting a huge chunk of the significant people in the last 17 years of my life.

For example, my best friend from college was someone I met due to the fact our families attended Evangel when we were really young. I had no idea who she was when I was reintroduced to her during freshman orientation, but we hit it off from day one and I can honestly say she is on the short list of people I consider a true friend. There have been a staggering number of similar stories I’ve read on Facebook from people my age and older who credit Lockett’s teachings with changing their lives. I even had no idea he impacted so many people (particularly those I attended college with at North Carolina A&T State University). My last time seeing him in person was two years ago at A&T’s fall commencement. My mom and I had bumped into him and his wife and he told me how proud he was of the work I was doing there (it was during the period I was a staff writer for the school).

It’s really strange when you think about things through that kind of perspective. It also goes to show you how true it is that the actions of one man can literally change destinies of thousands of people.

Bishop Lockett is gone, but there is no doubt his legacy is as strong as ever and will live on eternally. While his passing would have to rank as the most tragic news I’ve heard this year, I am glad that the years of constant pain and treatment (I’ve heard chemotherapy is a monster) are over. He’s rejoicing with the angels in heaven and he can take pride in knowing that he accomplished his mission on earth to the utmost of his abilities. Though Evangel will continue, his loss will create a void that will never be adequately filled.

For any bloggers out there who enjoy the stuff you read up here, I have a favor to request of you. It may seem redundant, as it is a common thing to do following a person’s death, but I would like for anyone reading this to please send up a prayer of comfort and strength for Bishop Lockett’s family. He leaves behind a beautiful wife, Barbara Lockett, and three awesome children, Otis Jr., Joshua and Faith-Lockett Gardner. I cannot even imagine the pain they must be experiencing, but I do know beyond the shadow of a doubt they would appreciate your prayers.

Here is a link to Evangel’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Power-CenterEvangel-Fellowship/219483210304?sk=info#!/pages/The-Power-CenterEvangel-Fellowship/219483210304?fref=ts, and a video clip from one of his sermons to give you a taste of his biblically-based preaching style, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wpm3YBe6o0.

Rest well Bishop. Your work is done!

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32 thoughts on “Greensboro Loses a Pillar of the Christian Community

  1. My last 2 years in college at NC School of The Arts before i graduated and moved to Newyork city back in 1998 was inspired by Pastor Ottis Lockett. I never forget driving Winston-Salem every Sunday Evening for the 6pm service and sometimes i would sneak there for the Sunday Morning Services. He preached a sermon that even to this day that transformed my life both physically and spirituallly. The title of the sermon he preached in 1996 “What What To Do When The Deck Is Stacked Against You!!’ An amazing teaching!! To God Be The Glory for the great things he has done through Pastor Ottis Lockett. His eyes have not even seen all that he has touched in his lifetime.He will be missed..even though i haven’t seen him since 1998 i will never forget the many impartations he shared in my life!!

    • It’s nice to meet you Reginald!!! Alot of people have similar stories like yours. He touched the lives of so many people who passed through the doors of Evangel over the years. I must tell you that I was blown away when I read my newsfeed on Facebook and saw the number of people, particularly fellow Aggies, whose lives were impacted by Bishop. In fact, my best friend (who I discussed in the blog) posted the following message on her page: “So sad to hear about the passing of Bishop Lockett. :( I remember my family driving from Raleigh to Greensboro every Sunday after we moved just to attend Evangel. Wow.”

      My family last attended Evangel on a regular basis back in 1996, but I can see the impact Bishop made in my own pastor’s life every time he preaches the word. And the word you learned from Bishop all those years ago helped to mold into the man of God you are today!!!

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  3. I was 19 years old when God brought me to pastor Lockett, whom God elevated to bishop. That was back in 1984 and they had just moved into the Dillard st location. I have been with him ever since. I have been in tears since friday. He is the only real father that I have ever known. My biological father never acknowledged me and my adoptive father (who was actually my uncle) was an alcoholic and had no input into my life. Bishop Lockett was my role model for manhood, married life, and ministry. I will write in more detail about my relationship with him and the impact later as I am about to head out to church…the first service without him being here… It is my birthday today also. It is bittersweet…

    • You probably know my parents (Ricky and Natro Dove) becuase they were there during the Dillard St. days and during the days of the old purple sanctuary on Balboa. We were with Evangel until ’96, but often came back for special anniversary services and stuff like that. My last time at Evangel was a couple of years ago when our pastor, Rodney Barlow, preached a Thrusday night bible study. I can only imagine how heavy of a service it was for you all today. My prayers definitely go out to your congregation during this rough time. Our pastor is taking it very hard and one of our members broke down while discussing Bishop’s passing during the announcements this morning. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the legacy he began will continue for many more years to come.

      God bless you Quintin and the entire Evangel family. You all are going to pull through!

    • What’s up Ernest. Yeah it’s very hard to believe. Alot of our church members came from under Lockett, so it was a very rough day. Even though we all knew he was sick, it still came as a shock. I don’t think anyone saw it coming so quickly. Gotta definitely keep his family and Evangel lifted up in prayer.

  4. Otis Lockett was an amazing bible teacher and preacher of the gospel. I remember hearing him speak at a convention in Kentucky about five years ago. In that session, he spoke a prophetic word over business owners and I sowed a seed in faith. This year, that seed that a sowed began to mature into a tree. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all that know and love him. God, thank you for the gift that you gave us in the person of Otis Lockett. Continue to raise up people to lead this generation!

    • Hey Rosa. Even though this is a sad time, it is good to meet so many others whose lives were impacted by Bishop Lockett. It says alot about the kind of man he was. Congratulations on your testimony and it’s another example of how God used one man to touch so many lives. The best thing we can all do to continue his legacy is to live a life where we allow God to use us like he did.

  5. I was so upset on yesterday to hear of the passing of Bishop Otis Lockett. It was his ministry that helped me except the calling in my life as Prophetess. I too would drive from Winston-Salem to Greensboro every Sunday. A great man of God is gone, but will never be forgotten.

  6. Thank you for sharing this blog – I was sitting in a service this afternoon when I heard the news that Bishop Lockett had passed; I did not know he had been sick and it really took my breath away. Years ago when I was in school at UNCG – we would go to Evangel for church. Bishop Lockett had such an awesome ministry! What an amazing Man of God! I’m so glad my life was touched by his ministry. The Lockett Family and EFCOGIC Family are in my prayers……

    • Hi. Nice to meet you. The response I’ve received for this blog is evidence of the impact God made through Bishop Lockett. It has been a joy to communicate with so many people, like yourself, whose lives were touched by him. Now that I think about it, alot of people I know were introduced to Evangel while attending college in Greensboro (my pastor and first lady included).

      I just think it’s going to take time and, honestly, his void will be an impossible one to fill. However, I know the prayers of the saints are keeping his family and Evangel uplifted during this difficult time. And I know his legacy will continue stronger than ever in their ministry.

  7. God bless you Mother Lockett, praying for you and you and your family also your church family. mother Franklin

  8. “Pastor Pop” as I affectionately know him; has many titles: husband, father, son, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, teacher, bishop, entrepreneur; and so many more. The name that stands out most to me is what he lived before me; “Pastor”.

    When I joined Evangel almost twenty years ago; I remember the controversies I would hear; for me; although I grew to have an immeasurable love for him; it was never about following the man; I know men are not perfect. I followed his spirit; which for me was perfect in how he lived it before me.

    I use in my analogy a UFO to elaborate on the impact Pastor Pop has made in the Christian community, his teachings are represented just about everywhere in so many people; they are “sightings” of his legacy. My Mother taught me to reverence God. Pastor Pop taught me how to understand, interpret, respect and commit to God through his “practical” biblical teachings. To many of us he represents a lifeline to God, to me a foundation of who I am.

    There are many statements of Pastor Pop that resonate in my life and forever will. One of them is “never trust what has not yet been tried”. I credit my Mother for giving me life. I credit Pastor Pop for teaching me how to live it God’s way.

    Let us all hope to be as he lived before us; he lived by the words of God, he sowed into our lives through his teachings, most notably; he bared the fruits of the spirit. Pastor Pop is “The Pastor”; I use present tense because he will always be what is and not what was, because his legacy lives in each of us.

    I have had very mixed emotions; pain, laughter, joy, abandonment; I have cried every day since; sometimes many times throughout the day. Then I smile; because I say, isn’t this what he lived for; to be face to face with God! Then I laugh and say boy the devil really about to get it; “Pastor Pop” has been completely restored; the devil ain’t ready for that!!!!!!

    Forever loving you Pastor Pop, your daughter in Florida

    • Hey Nissa. Thanks for sharing your story. In a way, I think reminiscing on moments like these are an important part of the healing process. You made a good point in your analogy about the UFO. There are so many people in my own life that have taken the teachings they learned from being under Bishop Lockett and applied them with great results. Honestly, I can see his “sightings” every week in the teachings of my pastor and in the lives of numerous members of my church family.

      Even though it’s a hard time for us all, it does help to remember that he is in heaven. He accomplished his mission on earth and bought multitudes of people into the saving knowledge of Christ. And he is officially healed for all of eternity!!!

  9. He will always be my 1st real spiritual father… I am who I am in part by the unwavering GODLY life that this man shared with me and my other first sons and daughters of Evangel. As he once told me when I was having a bad day … i called him when I lost my 1st job…. he was my father… he said to me … sister paula, you know when I am having a bad day and I just can’t understand… I thought he was going to say something profound, but he told me ” I go to sleep”…. and I always feel better. This was simple, but profound… and I think it is what he did on Friday —- his body was having a bad day so “he went to sleep or took a nap”. Who he was and impact will never leave because GOD has allowed him to touch the lifes of so many…. I am a carrier… of so many traits and spritual habits that I developed in “that time”… I was so open and many deposits were made…. I can go on and on…. To may Family in Greenboro… I will always pray and love you…. May the GOD of ALL COMFORT be yours is my prayer!

    • Hi Paula. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That was quite the response he gave to your situation! Lol. But it goes to show just how practical of a man he was when it came to sharing the gospel in a way everyone could relate to.

  10. The first time I walked into Evangel on Balboa St. was almost twenty years ago and the minute I walked through the doors my eyes weld up with tears and I heard home in my spirit. I hadn’t heard a song or the word yet but, by the time Pastor Lockett finished preaching I was at the altar ready to rededicate my life to Christ and make Evangel my home. When I received the word that my pastor was gone I started to cry and have not gotten through the last few days without more of the same. I feel like I lost another parent. There is no other way to express it. How a parent knows when something is wrong and has just what you need; Pastor Lockett prayed for, his congregation and sought the Lord to meet the needs of the people he led. He is a great man of God and a General in the Kingdom who has left a legacy that will continue on through not only his biological children but, through all of his spiritual children as well. The ones he saw every week and, the millions he touched around the world that he never laid eyes on. As Prophetss Floyd said on Sunday ,our spirtual father has gone on a long trip but we will see him again and that is our blessed assurance.

    • Glad that you made that choice 20 years ago. I know its been a very rough last few days for you and so many others whose lives were touched by him. I think the results of his biological (all three who are going strong for God) and spiritual children (many of whom are succesful preachers, ministers, prophets, etc.) says alot about the word he instilled into his congregation over the years. He was indeed a spiritual dad to so many people and it’s completely understandable that his loss feels like that of an actual family member to so many people. When I arrived to work this morning, one of the first things I did was call one of my coworkers in another department who is a member of Evangel. Even in the brief conversation we had, I could tell she was pretty broken up. It’s just going to take time for everyone to pull through this, but I know the prayers are helping. So important to keep Bishop’s family and the entire Evangel congregation uplifted in prayer. I will certainly be praying comfort for you.

  11. I heard of Pastor Lockett’s passing over the weekend but it was not until I read this blog today that I fully realized how great a loss this is to the Christian community, and how big a role Bishop Lockett played in the development and direction of my own life. While visiting my sister and her family in May 2001, I gave my life to Christ during a service at Evangel Fellowship. The love and guidance I experienced through Pastor Lockett’s Sunday morning sermon drastically altered the course of my life. Although I was living in New Jersey at the time, I still felt strengthened and encouraged by the recordings of Pastor Lockett’s sermons that my sister sent me until I was rooted in my own church home.

    Just this past summer I travelled to Greensboro from Toronto, Canada where I now live with my wife and 2 kids (Praise God!). My sister and brother-in-law continue to be pillars in the Evangel Fellowship family and had told us about Bishop Lockett’s battle with cancer. Although it was disheartening to see him looking frail and weak during Sunday service, it was even more encouraging to receive a fresh and inspiring sermon from his son Otis Lockett Jr.

    My sincere condolences and prayers go out to the Lockett family and all the Saints at Evangel Fellowship. May the Lord comfort and abide with you during your time of sorrow.

  12. I met Apostle Lockett years before I came to the Triad.I played the guitar at a conference called Latter Rain for his former Pastor James from Toledo,OH . Apostle Lockett was a real apostle not a title but a lifestyle. I will miss this great man’s teaching and leadership.

  13. I met Pastor Lockett when our son ( DerrickEmanuel) went off to college in Greensboro and started attending Evangel about 8 or 9 years ago . We raised him just like our other children in the word, but we are so greatful for for the continuation from Bishop Lockett and the many mentors he had during this transition. When you met Bishop and heard his ministering, if it didn’t have some type of impact on you then there was truly something wrong with you. A great inspiration to us. When my son called us on friday our hearts were heavy from the shock, we felt as if we had lost a member of our family, which we did from the body of Christ. But to have known Bishop lockett was truly a blessing. he will trukly be missed when we make our visits to evangel from now on. I thank God For the the love, the chastisement and the encouragemt he left on our son and his wife to be able to continue to walk the life of Faith that he taught them. We are praying for the Family and the Church Family. Carry the Torch that he has passed on.

    God Bless You All

    Minister Joanne Emanuel

  14. To the family of Bishop Otis Lockett Sr. he was truly ahead of his time in ministry, their will never be another like him. I think God for his brother Bishop Charles Lockett who I’ve served under for close to ten years and through that time I had the honor to meet Apostle Otis Lockett, wife along with kids. Who were truly a godly family when you were in Apostle presents he brought joy and love into the room, you knew you were around someone special. May he rest in peace and thru gods will , we will see him again. Also sending a special blessing out to Bishop Charles Lockett and family along with his mother, sister, and brother lloyd. May god keep you thur a time such as this and remember we are all trying to get where Apostle Otis Lockett has gone (HEAVEN). Bishop Charles Lockett Sr. we will always love you!

    Minister Michael Mclean and family

  15. Our condolences go out to you and your family, know that we love you and your brother and please know that we are here for you. At your convience please stop by the store and say hello.

    Simon & Liela Simaan @ Sam’s Menswear,
    Burlington, NC 336-228-9201

  16. His love for Christ touched me in a profound way when I started to attend Evangel in the 80′s as a student at UNCG. The pouring out of the spirit of God that occured and is being documented during these testimonials is profound. Revival broke out in Greensboro NC as young men and women received the word and the Holy Spirit. I am forever changed because of my Pastor’s intensity with sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and his demonstration of godliness through his character. A book or documentary needs to be written or produced of the power of God that came through Greensboro. I knew that we were apart of the moving of God. Thanks to our pastor for submitting to the Holy Spirit. We are forever changed to continue the work of our Lord Jesus Christ because of his example.

    Grace and peace to the body of Christ,

    Tammy Kirkley

    • And now many of those young men and women, as yourself, are doing great things for the kingdom of God. When you think about it, it’s amazing how many lives he touched while people were in Greensboro to attend college. Fox 8 news did a feature on him on the 11 o’clock news and Elder Mike Lewis was one of the people interviewed. He gave his testimony of how upon coming to Evangel in the 80s, Bishop Lockett encouraged him to finish college and become a strong man of God for his family. Today, his entire family is serving at Evangel and are on fire for God. Just an example of how the teachings of Lockett saved an entire family. I’m sure there are thousands of families that same thing could be said for over the years. I think there is an old saying that goes, “save a man and you save a family.” A lot of men came into the saving knowledge of Christ under Lockett and as a result the lives of their families were transformed forever.

  17. Awesome man of God! Loved the class he would teach in the convocation. Great warrior of God hone home 4 his reward.

  18. Hi. I’m from Canada and found your article quite by accident. I Did not know the Bishop but did watch the video clip. Wow…what an annointed man of God! Your article is a wonderful tribute. God bless you & the Bishops dear family. In Christ – Gord

    • Hi Gord! Glad you stopped by and I’m sure Bishop Lockett’s family would greatly appreciate your kind words. It’s amazing how the body of Christ works. Even though we’re in different countries and you had no idea who Lockett was up until now, God still allowed our paths to cross.

      God bless you.

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