An Assemblies of God pastor who helped plant more than 1,000 churches in Malawi died last week at the age of 80.
According to reports, Dr. Dan Sheaffer died of a blood infection on Sept. 2. Sheaffer had led his former congregation, Crossroads Cathedral (named First Assembly of God until 1979), in Oklahoma City to plant churches in Malawi and throughout Africa and the Americas.
Crossroads Cathedral, which he founded, was one of the first megachurches in the Oklahoma City area and today has about 6,000 members.
"Pastor Dan Sheaffer was a leader in our [Assemblies of God] fellowship ahead of his time," said the Rev. Frank Cargill, district superintendent of the Oklahoma District Council of the Assemblies of God, according to The Oklahoman. "His heart for missions and changing the world has seldom been equaled."
When Sheaffer first visited Malawi in 1982, there were less than 200 AG churches in the country and only a few of them had buildings, said the late pastor's son, Mike Sheaffer, to AG News. Now there are nearly 4,000 AG churches and over 800,000 adherents, according to AG World Missions official statistics.
After retiring from Crossroads Cathedral, Sheaffer desired to preach again and founded Harvest Assembly of God. His son is now the assistant pastor at Harvest AG.
The Sheaffers were also instrumental in funding many educational facilities including the Malawi Assemblies of God School of Theology, Full Life Center at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, and the Doctor of Ministry program at AG Theological Seminary.
"Dan Sheaffer had a heart for Oklahoma City and the world," remarked AG General Superintendent George O. Wood, according to AG News. "His personal generosity is legendary, and he led the churches he pastored to give multiplied millions of dollars for world missions and Assemblies of God higher education.
"Dan Sheaffer will be greatly missed."
A funeral service for Sheaffer has been scheduled and will take place Sept. 8 at Harvest AG in Oklahoma City.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials made to either of the two organizations Sheaffer founded to fund his overseas missionary vision – Harvest Ministries and Discipling the Nations.