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 ailments over the last several months and we were just down to see him 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 was shocked by the news. I knew he had been battling cancer, but just like in any good movie, I expected him to overcome the odds for a happy ending.
My own pastor, who was like a spiritual son to Bishop Lockett, had recently attended his pastoral anniversary service and always encouraged our congregation to keep him in our prayers. 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.
His passing is significant for many reasons. Not only was he a pillar of the Christian community in the Piedmont Triad region, but I can’t even begin to give a numerical estimation of the amount of people who came to accept Jesus Christ into their lives through his ministry.
Our family attended Evangel from the late 80s through 1996 when we moved to Reidsville. My current pastor came from Evangel as well. Several of my church members came from there as well. My pastor’s preaching style was heavily influenced by what he learned while serving under Lockett. If my parents had never attended Evangel then there is a strong possibility 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 got close to during my freshman year due to the fact that 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 still remain close to this day.
I’ve read a staggering number of stories on Facebook from people close to my age and much older who credit Lockett’s teachings with changing their lives. It’s really strange when you think about things through that kind of perspective and it goes to show how the actions of one person can literally change destinies of thousands of people.
Bishop Lockett is gone, but there is no doubt his legacy will live on eternally. While his passing would have to rank as the most tragic news I’ve heard this year, I can take some solace knowing that his years of constant pain are over. He’s now rejoicing with the angels in heaven and can take pride in knowing that he accomplished his mission on earth to the utmost of his capabilities.
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.
Rest well Bishop. Your work is done!